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

How to Find Joy in Nourishing Your Body

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

You Have to Be Healthy to Eat Healthy

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

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

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

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

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/

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.

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

I Let My Toddler Use Knives

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Kids Life Skills

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

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

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

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

Toddlers Can Use Knives!

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

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

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

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

Kitchen Skills for Kids

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

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

It really is possible.

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

Kids in the Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

Kids Can Cook

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

Are you ready to have some help in the kitchen?Kids Cook Real Food

 

Try the knife skills lessons for FREE!

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

More Cooks in the Kitchen

It’s hard to believe I wrote this post over five years ago! I have now added another budding chef to the mix. My current toddler also loves getting messy in the kitchen with me. He is a big fan of washing dishes. That is another important skill!

My other chefs are 13, 10, and almost 7. They love to help plan meals every week and participate in dinner prep often.

I love that they are empowered to make healthy food choices and gain essential life skills. I have no worries about them taking ownership of their health as they get older.

But even after all these years we still go back to the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse for a refresher periodically. It’s great practice and motivation!

Adventurous Eater

Do you let your kids help (or take over) in the kitchen often? Has your toddler learned to properly use a knife yet?

What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA for kids is a non-invasive test that uses a small hair sample for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. The goal of HTMA for kids is to rebuild and balance minerals while removing toxic metals in a safe and gentle way so your child can feel his or her best!What is HTMA for Kids?

I recently talked about the health struggles we faced with our oldest. But through it all I was never concerned about her not getting enough to eat or her overall physical health.

Unfortunately we entered the world of stress, anxiety, and severe feeding challenges when my youngest daughter was born.

Being my third child, I felt pretty confident. I knew how to handle breastfeeding, sick babies, diaper blow-outs, etc.

But I was not prepared for the journey to come.

From day one my daughter could not breastfeed well. Three minutes was a “good” feed for her. She was often uncomfortable. And she slept a lot more than my other kids did as infants.

Although she was my biggest baby at birth (nine pounds!), her chubby baby status didn’t last long.

During her first year of life we learned about the profound impact of tongue and lip ties. We had them clipped twice.

I also had to restrict my diet to such a severe degree that I feared we would run out of safe food. But it was the only way she could breastfeed without screaming. And no formula was safe, so that was not an option.

She developed an allergy to coconut and all things from palm trees. Even if I took a vitamin that contained Vitamin A Palmitate she would not nurse. She would scream in pain. I could not get one speck of coconut, dairy, and many other foods in my mouth or she would react. I even stopped eating gluten-free because most gluten-free grains were off the list and we both needed to eat.

Sadly, I learned the hard way the dangers of Big Pharma’s favorite way to introduce toxic substances and heavy metals into children (I won’t use the word here). Had I not made the connection when she turned one, our outcome would have beeen much different. As it was she was convulsing in my arms, her tongue was swelling, and she could not eat.

At 18 months old my daughter was nursing every 45 minutes just to try to keep her alive. And those feedings were each just a few minutes. She rarely had a wet diaper. She hadn’t gained weight in months. I fed her a lot by syringe. But the pediatrician would not help us. He simply looked at her and said, “She looks fine to me.”

That was when I learned I had to be my duaghter’s doctor. Nobody wanted to help us.What is HTMA for Kids?

Feeding Challenges in Infants

My daughter’s story is sad, but what is even worse is that I’m not alone in my experience. I know so many other moms have been through extreme health and feeding challenges in their infants but have not gotten the support and help they need.

What do feeding challenges in infants look like?

  • colic
  • reflux/GERD
  • silent reflux
  • tongue and lip ties
  • resist solid food
  • inability or difficulty breastfeeding
  • failure to thrive
  • dehydration
  • delayed development

Most pediatricians do not know how to properly diagnose or treat these symptoms.

Some may prescribe antacids, which do more harm than good in the long run. Some may suggest ways to supplement. But that is about it.

For the most part, Mom is left to struggle through on her own.What is HTMA for kids?

Feeding Challenges in Childhood

As your child gets a little older, things may get easier. But the feeding troubles may persist or even get worse.

What do feeding challenges in childhood look like?

  • refusal to eat
  • refusal to try new foods
  • can’t handle certain textures
  • will only eat a handful of foods
  • food allergies or sensitivities
  • oral sensory processing disorder

If you have a child that is labled as a “picky eater,” “problem feeder,” or “selective eater” you know what it’s like. You know the day-to-day struggles and stress.What is HTMA for Kids?

Common Childhood Disorders

What many doctors and parents don’t realize is that the picky eating is actually just the tip of the iceberg. It is a symptom of something much deeper.

It’s very rare that I have a client that struggles with feeding that does not also have one or more of the following common childhood disorders and symptoms:

  • speech difficulties or delays
  • developmental delays
  • low weight
  • rings under eyes
  • sick often
  • ADHD
  • food allergies
  • anxiety
  • neurological disorder
  • weak bones and/or teeth
  • learning difficulties
  • slow/stunted growth
  • overweight

Though these may seem like separate issues on the surface, they are all connected.

Nutritional Balancing for Kids

Sadly, we have a generation of very sick kids. Although children grow up in different homes, different environments, and different cultures, the root cause of their health problems are the same.

Two of the biggest culprits of childhood disorders, including feeding challenges, is mineral imbalance and heavy metal toxicity.

This also includes overall mineral deficiency.

While I am not a fan of oversupplementing our lives, most kids these days are getting very few nutrients in their diets.

Typical kid food is void of nutrition. Then we add stress and sugar on top to deplete any minerals that were available. Even most vegetables are lacking in vitamins and minerals because our soil is so depleted of its mineral content. It’s a downward spiral into poor health that is happening at younger and younger ages.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA for Kids?

HTMA stands for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. And it can be a life-saver for kids.

When digging for answers, most doctors run blood tests. And that can be helpful.

But when it comes to certain minerals and heavy metals, a blood test is not accurate enough. It only gives you a snapshot of that one moment in time when the blood was drawn. And some levels fluctuate throughout the day. So you could get signficantly different results depending on when the blood was drawn.

HTMA, however, shows mineral and heavy metal patterns for a three-month window. It’s like getting an in-depth look at your child’s health.

In addition, the body will do whatever it can to keep blood levels in a very narrow range. This is a survival mechanism. If blood levels are low, the situation is serious.

But looking at tissue levels (hair), you can see if the body is actually putting the minerals where they belong or if the body is storing heavy metals.

For example, a child may have a normal blood calcium level. However, an HTMA for kids may show a very high tissue calcium level. This means that although the child’s body is maintaining a sufficient level of calcium in the blood, his or her body is also dumping calcium instead of putting it into the bones.

HTMA for kids uses a small hair sample to assess mineral and heavy metal status. It is a non-invasive procedure that is ideal for kids.What is HTMA for Kids?

What is HTMA Used For?

Many kids these days are deficient in key minerals, have minerals that are out of balance with each other, or have heavy metals stored in their tissues at toxic levels.

Unfortunately, when minerals are not present, heavy metals take their place, making it harder for the body to remove the metals.

The goal of HTMA for kids is to restore the balance of key minerals and support the body in removing heavy metals.

This is not a detox program.

This is simply giving the body what it needs in order for it to function properly and remove what it does not need. In other words, the goal is to balance and restore.

Heavy metals and mineral imbalance can both contribute to a host of symptoms, such as those mentioned above. They can also be the cause of food reactions. Rebalancing a child’s minerals allows him or her to think better, feel more energetic, and act like a kid.

Child Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

When my daughter was one, I was searching and searching for answers and help. I came across HTMA.

At the time I was really struggling with my own health as well. I could hardly eat anything due to my daughter’s restrictions, and I was so stressed that I had daily heart palpitations. I knew I was so out of balance.

I started by doing HTMA for myself in order to get both my daughter and I back in balance. We made slow progress because there were very few safe supplements and such a limited diet.

But I did learn some key information about how Vitamin D suppelements were harming us. I was able to add desiccated liver (use the code TAKE10 for 10% off) to our diets, and it was truly a life-saver for my daughter.

By doing HTMA I was able to make some simple changes that had a profound impact. My daughter got some key nutrients while allowing her body to remove some heavy metals.

As we turned the corner we were able to gradually add more foods to our diet and continued to make progress.

A couple years later I did HTMA for my daughter herself. Once again we were able to keep balancing her minerals and watch her health steadily improve.What is HTMA for Kids?

She is now six years old and a very active and energetic little girl. She has almost completely eliminated her food restrictions.

What could have turned into a tragic story instead became one of hope and healing.

Mineral Balncing for Kids

Even though we have come so far from that little infant struggling to survive, we still have work to do. My daughter is my only child that battles severe leg pains at times and has some cavities (likely due to Vitamin D supplements). We will continue to use HTMA to get her minerals in balance and remove toxins. But I know that she has a bright future thanks to HTMA for kids!

Does HTMA sound like a good fit for you and your kids? Are you ready to end the constant worry and struggle when it comes to nourishing your kids? I’d love to help!

Learn more about my HTMA programs HERE!

You can also email me or schecule a 15-minute Clarity Call to learn more.

Book a clarity call!Contact me

So far we have talked about the foundations of good health, Nutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more of the mental aspect of eating. Even as an infant, a child can develop psychological blocks to eating well. Stay tuned!

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

Nutritional Therapy for Kids

When my first child was born, I pretty much knew nothing about parenting, including how to feed kids. I had never heard the term “Real Food.” I thought low-fat meant healthy.

I followed the typical advice for introducing solids, starting with infant cereal and a few purees. Graduating to American cheese and sweetened yogurt.

But it didn’t go as well as I had expected.

My daughter was not very receptive to food. She gagged. She spit it out. She almost seemed over-stimulated by it, her whole body moving at meal times.

But we pressed on. In the toddler years she would hold one piece of food in her mouth for over 30 minutes. Eggs would go in and come right back out. And forget about raw fruits and veggies! She was still eating purees well past two.

As she got a little older it wasn’t just the feeding challenges that stood out. I started to notice other symptoms that just didn’t seem quite right.

She didn’t play with other kids, just observed. She was (and is!) insanely smart and could read for hours. Yet something as simple as getting dressed or brushing her teeth could end in tears.

As the symptoms started to pile up, so did my concerns. And I know this is not unique to me. So many parents live the same struggles day after day.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Why are Kids Unhealthy?

Our culture does not prioritize a child’s health. From day one they are bombarded with fillers, gums, sugar, heavy metals, synthetic vitamins, pesticides, herbicides, and an assortment of chemicals to sanitize their environment.

In turn we have kids struggling with:

  • ADHD,
  • diabetes,
  • sensory processing disorder,
  • autism,
  • feeding challenges,
  • food allergies,
  • asthma,
  • obesity,
  • and even cancer…

at younger and younger ages.

This is not how a child should have to live.

I recently shared my Foundations of Good Health. These apply to everyone, kids included. And at the top of the list is Nutrition!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Good Nutrition for a Child?

Sadly most doctors will tell you all of this is normal. It’s just how your child was born, and there is nothing you can do about it.

No, it is not normal!

But it is common in our modern, diseased world.

My goal is to turn this around. It is my mission to allow kids to feel like kids again.

What we really need to do is get at the root of the issue…which is poor nutrition.

Typical “kid food” is keeping our children sick and diseased. This includes:

  • cereal
  • candy
  • processed meats
  • fast food
  • Lunchables®
  • frozen pizza
  • chicken nuggets
  • toaster pastries
  • food dyes
  • refined sugar
  • genetically modified foods

The list could go on and on. These “foods” are a stark contrast to nutrition. They are actually void of nutrients.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What is Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

So what is the solution? What can parents do to turn this around?

This is where Nutritional Therapy for kids comes in!

Food is medicine. What a child eats directly impacts how he or she thinks, feels, and behaves.

This includes:

  • how your child interacts with family and friends
  • how your child performs in school
  • what food choices your child makes
  • your child’s mood
  • how your child handles stress
  • your child’s weight and activity level

If you give a child proper nourishment, he or she can thrive!

Nutritional Therapy centers on the idea that real health can be achieved through a holistic and bio-individual approach to nutrition and lifestyle.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

What are the Goals of Nutritional Therapy for Kids?

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I take the whole child into account. I do not focus on one symptom, but instead look deeper and support the whole body.

I take a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on the importance of a properly-prepared, nutrient-dense diet paired with a well-balanced lifestyle.

I understand the importance of honoring the body’s own feedback system and its incredible capacity to restore, regenerate, and correct itself when given the tools and nutrients to do so.

In other words, I focus on removing barriers and building up the body. The goal of Nutritional Therapy for Kids is to give them the proper nutrition and support to get back in balance.

Nutritional Therapy is ideal for parents and kids that want to avoid prescription medications and illness, but instead use diet and lifestyle to support the body and allow it to function optimally.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

How Can Kids Improve Nutrition?

One unique aspect of Nutritional Therapy for kids at Just Take A Bite LLC is my use of Eating Styles. This is like understanding your child’s “food language.”

This takes bio-individuality to a whole new level.

I do not just look at the physical dietary needs. I also take into account the emotional and mental aspect of how your child views the world and his or her food.

Two children may be lacking in quality protein. But an Intuitive Eater will need easy-to-chew, comforting options while an Active Eater will prefer tougher cuts.

Using the Eating Styles, I can help you go that extra step to knowing which foods and recipes will be ideal for your child.

Understanding your child’s Eating Style will even help you create an ideal eating environment. An Analytical Eater will prefer quiet and maybe even eating alone sometimes. While an Adventurous Eater will enjoy trying new foods and changing the seating arrangement every night!

Adding in this extra level of bio-individuality means less frustration for Mom and more success in improving your child’s diet and health!

Food Language Quiz

What is a Healthy Diet for Kids?

My daughter is now almost a teenager (gasp!). I’m so proud to say she is an amazingly talented young lady with a big heart.

Over the years we worked with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, functional neurologist, psychologist, chiropractor, and orthodontist. Each of these contributed to our success.

But it was Nutritional Therapy that had the biggest impact on my daughter’s health and overall life!

At five years old we removed gluten and food dyes.

Almost overnight it was like somebody turned on a light switch in her brain. The sparkle appeared in her eyes and she could feel the difference.

Since that day we have made adjustments here and there to meet her needs. She is an Adventurous Eater that has very different tastes in food than I do. And I honor that and let her help plan meals and make food decisions. Almost every afternoon I find her in the kitchen creating a unique snack!

We periodically assess her body and how each system is functioning to tailor diet and lifestyle accordingly.Nutritional Therapy for Kids

As we enter the teen years this will be of the utmost importance with shifting hormones and different sleep and nutritional needs.

Just the other day she mentioned how she has been thinking better after we put a focus on some key B vitamins.

Gluten-free and dye-free in addition to whole foods is what works for my daughter. But every child has a unique set of challenges and a unique environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. That is why Nutritional Therapy is so amazing!Nutritional Therapy for Kids

Is Nutritional Therapy Necessary?

I truly believe that all children can benefit from Nutritional Therapy. It is a great way to support the whole child in a non-invasive manner.

Even seemingly healthy kids can benefit by targeting specific body systems and supporting them with key nutrients.

I’d love to support you and your children on your journey to better health with Nutritional Therapy! If you want to learn more, let’s talk!

Book a clarity call!

Beyond Nutritional Therapy for Kids

There are times when even Nutritional Therapy is not enough. Or times when a feeding problem has gone beyond a simple dietary adjustment.

If you’ve been hesitant to take action and take charge of your child’s health, it could get worse.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for kids comes in. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share my youngest daughter’s journey when she went from eating nothing to a healthy, active child. HTMA was a life-saver!

How have you seen diet impact your child’s life?

Foundations of good health

The Essential Foundations of Good Health

There are so many opinions these days when it comes to what is and isn’t healthy. In this post I’m breaking down my essential foundations of good health, layer by layer.Foundations of good health

I struggled with digestive dysfunction, an overactive bladder, and anxiety from the time I was very young. I can still remember at five years old being scared to get in the car because I knew I’d have to use the bathroom as soon as we got on the road. Even if it was just a short drive to church or the store. And my dad hated to stop.

That anxiety around basic bodily functions that were out of my control gradually grew over time. In junior high there were days I was in pain and could barely sit up in class. I would just watch the clock until it was time to go home so I could lay down and get relief.

High school ushered in disordered eating to try to feel some sense of control in my life and to manage my symptoms.

But as I journeyed into my twenties my anxiety reached a head, turning into panic attacks and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My digestive issues came right along with it!

But I had no clue how to get out of the vicious cycle. I feared I would have to suffer this way for the rest of my life.

Being a natural problem-solver, I couldn’t accept that answer. So even though no doctors could tell me what was wrong, I kept on searching for answers.

Is There a Way Out of Poor Health?

Over the course of the next fifteen years I gradually found most of the avenues I needed for healing. But it took a lot of trial and error. It took a lot longer than it needed to.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels on a healing journey?

Maybe it’s your own health that is suffering. You have…

  • no energy
  • joint pain
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • brain dysfunction
  • poor digestion
  • life just seems sort of blah.

Or maybe it’s for your kids. They…

  • only want to eat sweets
  • can’t focus in school
  • have extreme mood swings
  • struggle with skin reactions
  • have daily stomach aches
  • can’t sleep well.

Nobody wants to live this way. It’s hard to really call it living. It’s more like surviving.

Is there really a way out? And where do you even begin?

What is your first step in order to get your life and health back on track?Foundations of good health

How to Begin the Healing Process

Let’s start with the symptoms of poor health. They truly are that – just symptoms. Just like picky eating is a symptom of much deeper issues, most bothersome symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. It is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong at a deeper level.

But the solution is not found in treating symptoms. Sadly, that is exactly what allopathic medicine does. And it keeps you chasing symptoms while remaining sick.

Before you can start the healing work, you must get to the root of the problem first.

How to Improve Health and Wellness

When it comes to helping the body function better, I have discovered four essential foundations. These are the layers that you must work through to support the whole body. Not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well.

Healing is sort of like peeling an onion. You go through it layer-by-layer.Foundations of good health

There are four layers in my essential foundations to good health.

  1. Spiritual life
  2. Diet and lifestyle
  3. Emotional and mental health
  4. Supportive and maintenance modalities

Each layer impacts the others. And you will go back and forth between them on your journey to better health. Let’s dig a little deeper into each foundation.

How Does Faith Impact Your Daily Life?

I believe the most important foundation in your life is spiritual health. This is central to everything else. Without a sense of purpose and hope, it is hard to want to make change.

For me spiritual health means faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Everything else I do in life stems from my faith.

Having a central focus – a solid foundation – is essential.

What you believe in is a very personal decision. But it is the first step towards a healthy life. And I encourage you to start with this foundation, no matter what physical and emotional symptoms you’re dealing with.Foundations of good health

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

The next step on your journey towards wellness is getting your lifestyle in check. This includes:

  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Stress-management
  • Movement
  • Sun exposure

All five of these components are important.

Nutrient-Dense Diet

A healthy diet includes nutrient-dense, whole foods that your body tolerates. It does not have to include overly-restrictive eating or cutting out whole food groups. Simply eat Real Food that meets your bioindividual needs.

If you’re not sure how to tailor a diet to your body, Nutritional Therapy can help!

Sleep

Sleep is just as important as what you eat. You can’t out-eat lack of sleep! Trust me, I’ve tried.

How much sleep is essential is different for every person. An Intuitive Eater tends to need extra sleep, while an Active Eater may be able to thrive with less.

Sleep is very restorative to the body. While you sleep your body works through emotional stress. This is also when your body does a lot of its healing work since it does not need to put energy into all of the functions that are needed during the day.

Stress Management

Stress affects the body both mentally and physically. While you can’t always eliminate the stress in your life, you can learn to be stress resiliant. Foundations of good health

Movement

It is essential to move your body every day. This does not mean you have to become a marathon runner. In fact, it’s healthier to be active and incorporate movement into your daily life than it is to sit all day and then do an hour of intense exercise.

Find ways to walk more, move your body in unique ways, and stand instead of sit. Having meaningful work at home helps as well. This can include landscaping, gardening, house repairs, raising animals, painting, cleaning, lawn mowing, and organizing. Keeping your body moving throughout the day is the key.

Sun Exposure

Finally, sun exposure and getting outside are foundational to your health. There is a lot of talk about Vitamin D supplements these days. While I’m not a fan of Hormone D supplementation in most cases, I do think everyone should get outside daily. Even if it’s just for a short time. Fresh air and sunshine are so healing to the body.

If you need help with any of these healthy lifestyle habits I’d love to connect! Nutritional Therapy addresses diet (tailored specifically to you!), sleep, stress management, movement, and sun exposure. Hop on a clarity call today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your kids!

Book a clarity call!

Emotional Vs Mental Health

The next foundational layer of good health includes your mental and emotional well-being. These are two distinct things. But I am going to put them together since they influence each other so much.

  • Mental health influences your thoughts and actions. It includes your psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
  • Emotional health includes your awareness of and expression of your feelings.

This is where many people get stuck in their healing journey, myself included.Foundations of good health

After you anchor your life on a spiritual foundation and adjust your diet and lifestyle, sometimes there is deeper work that needs to be done. This is because your brain and your body hold on to trauma and express it in a physical manner. You can’t talk or logic your way out of it. You can’t eat your way out of it either. Again, trust me, I’ve tried.

This is where some alternative therapies come into play. And you have to research and figure out which one or which combination will work best for you. My favorites include:

  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Reiki
  • Tapping (EFT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Accupuncture

In all of these it’s about going really deep, past the logical brain and getting at the stuck thought patterns of the reptillian brain.

So if you feel like you’ve put in the work with diet and lifestyle but there are some symptoms that just never budge, it’s time to go deeper.

Here are some great resources to get you started!

How Does Diet Affect Mental Health

I mentioned earlier that these layers will overlap a bit, and you’ll go back and forth between them. The connection between diet and mental health is a great example.

Many mental health symptoms are caused by a nutrient imbalance or deficiency.

For example, lacking some of the B Vitamins can lead to depression and mood swings.

Low magnesium levels can be at the root of anxiety.

An imbalance between zinc and copper can cause mood swings, headaches, and hormonal imbalance…which definitely impacts your mental health!Foundations of good health

I prefer to adjust diet before trying to tackle the deeper emotional work because it can releave some of the symptoms. But each person is unique. Sometimes you may not have the ability to handle even small lifestyle changes if the mental health problems are severe enough.

This is where Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) comes into play. This non-invasive test gives great insight into your mineral levels, mineral ratios, and toxic load. Learn more about my HTMA programs HERE!
Foundations of good health

Natural Supportive Care

Finally, we get to the outer layer – the supportive care. These are modalities of wellness that many people think of as “natural treatments” or “natural remedies.” Some of my favorite forms of natural supportive care include:

  • essential oils
  • chiropractic care
  • homeopathy
  • supplements
  • flower essences
  • cell salts
  • herbs

These can be very helpful in many cases. But remember that they are supportive therapies. You can not rely on them alone.

For example, you may find relief from joint pain by using an essential oil topically. But it is not treating the source of your pain. You still have to get to the root of the inflammation and address that.

Natural supportive care often helps allieviate symptoms, but does not often address the root problem. Using these supportive modalities in conjunction with the other foundations of good health can make the healing process easier and faster.Foundations of good health

My Journey to Wellness

Over the past 15 years I’ve tried so many ways to get healthier. I waffled back and forth between the physical and mental aspects of my health.

I spent ten years doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a psychologist. It helped. But it wasn’t until I changed my diet and lifestyle that I really made progress. I removed the nutritional barriers to healing, which allowed me to be able to process the mental aspects.

Now, fifteen years in, I’m moving into some much deeper emotional healing. It all started as a child with digestive and kidney dysfunction, that turned into something traumatic. I’ve carried this trauma with me my entire life, and I’m ready to let it go and eliminate the symptoms that nothing else can change. I can’t wait to share more of my journey as I’m able.

I am also utilizing HTMA to get my minerals back in balance and toxins out after years of processed food, fertility treatments, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and restricted diets. Even though some of those ended many years ago (like the toxic food and pharmaceuticals) the damage is still there. It took a long time to get sick. It takes a long time to recover.

But I fully believe healing is possible as I continue to get to the deeply rooted emotional source of my physical symptoms.

I have already put in the diet and lifestyle foundational work. It’s time to move to the next layer.

How to Begin Your Health Journey

I fully believe better health is possible for you and your family as well! And I want to help you get started.

As we enter this New Year with uncertainty and a heightened awareness of health, I want to give you a feeling of hope. There is always something you can do to feel better and make positive changes.

Where are You?

So where are you on the journey towards better health? Are you tired and overwhelmed on a daily basis? Are your kids struggling to simply feel like kids?Foundations of good health

If you are new to a natural lifestyle, start today by making one simple change.

  • Add vegetables to your lunch.
  • Put away the screens.
  • Get outside for a walk.
  • Get your hands in the dirt.
  • Take a nap.
  • Read a book.
  • Drink an extra glass of water.

If you’re ready to go deeper and start getting to the root of your symptoms, it’s time to look into Nutritional Therapy.

Stay tuned as I’ll be going into more detail about what Nutritional Therapy is in my next post.

But if you’re ready to get started now, join me on a clarity call to see how Nutritional Therapy can help!

Book a clarity call!

Better Health for Kids

I love working with fellow moms to get their health back on track. If you are not caring for yourself, it’s hard to care for your children effectively.

Foundations of good health

But my expertise is nourishing kids.

These foundations of good health apply to children as well as moms. And it’s never too late to get off the Standard American Diet train and give your kids the gift of clearer thinking, better focus, more energy, and overall wellness.

As you can see from my own story, intervention when I was young could have prevented years of struggles. Had my parents helped me get to the root of my physical symptoms right away, my life would be very different.

Don’t waste another day hoping your kids will “grow out of” their picky eating, lack of focus, or stomach aches.

Give  your kids the gift of better health NOW!

Take one step today towards nourishing your kids. Scheduling a clarity call to figure out if Nutritional Therapy is right for you and your family is a great first step!

Book a clarity call!

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

The Best Natural Bath Products for Kids

Considering your skin is your largest organ and that it absorbs whatever you put on it, it’s important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I’m talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

When my oldest daughter was five, she would come home from school every day with red, dry, cracked hands. The back of her hands were so itchy and painful.

We had just entered the world of food allergies. So at first I wondered if it was related to something she was eating. Then I learned that they had to use hand sanitizer at school…a chemical storm right on the skin.

I immediately asked her teacher if my daughter could simply wash her hands instead of using the sanitizer. That helped some. But she still needed relief from the damage that had been done.

As a newbie to natural health, I reached for coconut oil. Can’t that cure everything?

Turns out no, it can’t.

If your kids are struggling with skin issues, skip the coconut oil! It actually dries the skin out and makes the irritation worse. Lesson learned.

Thankfully I have some knowledgeable friends that steered me in the right direction. And seven years later we still use the same natural skin care products on our kids. Today I want to tell you about my friend Emilie of Toups & Co. Organics and how her products have changed our lives.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Why Natural Skin Care is Important for Kids

Your skin is your largest organ! It must be pretty important. Turns out it is.

Skin is the first line of defense for your innate immune system. It is the barrier between your surroundings and your internal environment. Your skin protects you from all sorts of invaders.

But the skin is also very porous. It absorbs whatever you put on it, and gets it right to the bloodstream. Unlike ingesting something, which goes through the digestive system and is filtered before entering the bloodstream, the skin is a fast-track to the blood.

This means that whatever you put on your skin is immediately absorbed (which is why using magnesium lotion is such an effective way to increase magnesium levels!).

Kids are bombarded with toxins these days. Especially harsh chemicals in soaps, cleaners, and hand santizers. So, now more than ever, it’s important to use natural skin care products on your kids.

My motto is, “if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.”

What is the Best Lotion for Kids?

While coconut oil has its place in natural health, when it comes to skincare, tallow reigns supreme. Tallow is beef fat.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Gross! I don’t want to rub stinky tallow all over my kids.

No worries – there are ways to make tallow lotion that doesn’t stink.

Our favorite is Toups & Co. tallow balm or baby balm. Kid-safe essential oils make it smell amazing. The tallow is soft and soothing. My kids reach for it any time they have itchy or dry legs.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

What is the Best Natural Baby Wash?

Once I started researching lotions, I began to question everything I was putting on my kids’ skin. We had a lotion figured out. But what about bath products?

By this time I had a new little one with a host of food reactions. Which also meant skin problems. I needed something gentle, safe, and effective. Did that exist?

Thankfully it did…and does!

Once we found Toups & Co. Baby Body Wash, we never looked for another.

It suds nicely and washes effectively. I love that I don’t have to worry about my little ones getting some of the water in their mouths or even about the soapy water running down their faces.

I use this whenever I give my kids a bath. Truth be told, I’ve used it for myeslf too! It’s that good.

What is the Best Shampoo for Kids?

I didn’t use any shampoo for my boys for a long time. A wet Norwex body cloth was good enough on a little bit of hair. But my girls have long hair. My youngest daughter was born with a full head of curly locks. I avoided the shampoo for a little  while. But at some point I had to do it.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Thankfully the Toups & Co. Body Wash doubles as shampoo!

When I give my little ones a bath I literally pour a bit of the body wash on their heads, rub it in, and just work my way down the body. Then one big rinse and we’re done! I can have my toddler’s bath done in about three minutes if need be (like when dinner is cooking but I have to squeeze in bathtime).

What is the Best Chemical-Free Soap for Teens?

Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers don’t take much work to clean. They don’t get sweaty and stinky. Sadly, we can not say the same thing about our teens.

Around age eight or nine it’s time to start using some stronger soap. If you have kids in the eight to eighteen age range, you know what I mean.

This is also a time when hormones are kicking in, oil glands are on overdrive, and the skin can be very sensitive.

If this is the phase your child is in, you’ll want to try both the Toups & Co. Everything Bar and Charcoal Bar.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Can a bar soap really replace our shampoo? Can charcoal really clean my daughter’s skin well? But it only took a few uses for my daughter and I to both be believers.

The Everything Bar literally replaces everything. We use it from head to toe as shampoo, soap, and shaving cream.

The Charcoal Bar is great for cleaning the face. It washes away all dirt, grime, and makeup. It leaves your skin feeling so clean and soft. And if you run out of the Everything Bar, you can use the Charcoal Bar for shampoo too (ask me how I know).

Giving teens safe, natural health and beauty products is so important at this critical phase in their development. Hormones are already going a bit whacky. Adding hormone-disrupting chemicals in traditional products to their skin just compounds the problems.

And while you’re at it, you might as well grab some safe and effective deodorant for your teens! This is what my 12 year-old daughter uses. It won’t be long before I’m buying it for my son! Thank goodness for some more “masculine” scents and even an extra strength version. We may need it.

Safe Chapstick for Kids

We’ve covered kid-safe products for hair and skin. But don’t forget about the lips! Many kids like to use chapstick both for dry, chapped lips and simply for feeling a bit grown up.

It is essential to use safe ingredients here as they will get in the mouth when a child eats or licks her lips. I’m thankful Toups & Co. offers several flavors of chapstick that are made from tallow. No dangerous ingredients.it's important to make sure you are using safe, natural health and beauty products. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Today I'm talking about the best natural bath products for kids, from infant to teen.

Natural Bath Products for Kids and Babies

If you are in the market for natural bath products for babies, kids, or teens (or even yourself!), I recommend Toups & Co. Organics. They are staples in our home. I hope they will be staples in your home too! My favorite and most-used products are the Baby Body Wash & Shampoo and Toups & Co. tallow balm.

Natural Skin Care for Mom

I love to talk about kids’ health. But I couldn’t write about Emilie’s products without mentioning her makeup line. I searched for YEARS for a natural makeup that actually works and doesn’t completely break the bank. I tried all sorts of powder mineral makeups. They were OK, but not great.

I finally tried the Toups & Co. liquid foundation and immediately fell in love. This is the makeup I’ve been searching for. It goes on so smoothly and blends right in. I can hardly tell I have makeup on. It lasts all day too. At the end of the day I’m almost sad to wash my face because it still looks so nice.

When it comes to makeup, I’m about as minimal as you can get. Partly because that’s just me. I like to keep things simple. But partly because of past experience. I used to try to wear eye makeup…and would wake up the next day with painful, swollen eyelids. I swore off eye makeup about seven years ago after a really bad reaction where I could barely open my eye. It was so painful.

So I was hesitant to give it another go. But I finally tried the Toups & Co. mascara. To my amazement I had NO reaction. I wore it all day without any problems. Then I tried it again the next day…and the next. No problem!

I’m so happy that for the first time in years I can wear eye makeup. Since I was having so much fun with makeup I also decided to try some lipstick in bright red. And I love it! I’ve avoided any makeup but the bare minimum for so long. I’m thankful I can enjoy putting my face on a bit again. It’s fun to feel really good about how I look when I want to get dressed up.

If you’ve been on the hunt for natural makeup, give Toups & Co. a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Toups & Co. Organic Tallow Balm for Kids

After the hand sanitizer and cocnout oil, my daughter needed relief. Thankfully we tried Emilie’s tallow balm. It was like magic. My daughter’s hands returned to normal, and we have a quick solution if the dry skin ever flares.

Now with four kids I have a bit more experience under my belt. If one of them has dry skin or eczema I immediately reach for the tallow balm. In fact, we only keep two kinds of lotion on hand – tallow balm for dry or irritated skin and magnesium lotion for restless legs, trouble sleeping, growing pains, bed-wetting, and anxiety. There is no need for anything else!

Are you ready to do the “ditch and switch” with your health and beauty products? Check out Toups & Co. Organics as a one-stop shop for all of your family’s needs HERE!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

How To Begin A Rotation Diet for Kids

When it comes to allergies, diet is key This includes rotating foods.. Wondering how to get your kids on a rotation diet…and avoid the resistance? Let them have control!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

One of the hardest things about an allergy diagnosis is taking food away from your child.

Who wants to say, “Sorry, no more apple slices”? Or “Your sister is having cheese, but you can’t have it now”?

Then you break the news. You also have to rotate your food. The raisins you like to snack on every day? Now you can only eat them every four days. I hope you enjoyed that banana. You can’t have another until later this week.

How to Follow A Rotation Diet

This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. Using a rotation diet for allergies is one of the most important things you can do. It certainly does not make dealing with allergies easier. But it will help in the healing and prevention process. By rotating the food you eat on a four-day cycle, you allow the body time to heal. It also prevents the development of new allergies, which is so common. Eating the same foods day after day when you have allergies is a recipe for disaster.

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

If you have never heard of or tried a rotation diet be sure to read about how a rotation diet works and why it is critical for those with allergies!

So just how do you get your kids on board with this new way of eating?
 

How to Get Kids on a Rotation Diet

Today I’m at Kitchen Stewardship sharing fun tips for getting kids of any age on a rotation diet. Read the full article HERE.

I’ve also got a super cool FREE printout to help you get started. Get your copy now.

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!

Or figure out your child’s Eating Style to meet their unique needs.

Would you prefer 1:1 support? See if Nutritional Therapy 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!