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How should you feed a child?

What is A Child’s Eating Style?

A nourishing diet and healthy lifestyle play a huge role in your child’s health. But understanding his or her emotional health is just as important! Let’s learn about Eating Styles and how they factor into good health.How should you feed a child?

One of the most common questions I get from parents is how their parenting and food philosophies will impact their child’s mental well-being.

  • If I make my son eat all of his broccoli before he gets dessert will that teach him that food is either good or bad and that some should be treated as a reward?
  • If I teach my kids about healthy food will that make them obsessive about it?
  • If my daughter can’t eat the same foods as her friends will she feel isolated?
  • How do I avoid forcing my kids to eat?

You get the idea.

Here’s the thing. All of those scenarios could prove true. But then again they might not. And you’ll find experts in both camps. And, yes, I have use the force feed method myself…for a very particular case.

But what it really boils down to is your child and how he or she views the world.

Tom may become obsessive about healthy food if you tell him how bad sugar is. While Lucy might not put much thought into it.

Anna might focus on friendships and spending time together, regardless of what everyone is eating. Whereas Steve might be hypervigilant about feeling different.How to feed a picky eater

How Children Respond Differently to Feeding Stress

I’ve seen it firsthand in my own kids.

When my youngest daughter was little she had some severe feeding issues. Her response was to become a thumb sucker, struggle with breastfeeding, and shy away from food.

On the other hand, my youngest son, who also had feeding issues, turned to me for comfort and started nursing more. He also started viewing food as good and helpful from a young age, often declaring, “I’m a good eater! This will help me grow big.”

So what was different?

It certainly wasn’t me!!

My response to both of them during the struggle was the same. I was anxious and stressed. Not ideal. But that is how I reacted (wish I knew then what I know now – hindsight).

What was different was how my kids view the world. They each have very different Eating Styles!How to feed a picky eater

What is an Eating Style?

My daughter is an Intuitive Eater. When it comes to food and eating she needs comfort. I did not help create a comfortable environment for her, instead focusing on the stress and her limitations.  In turn she shied away from eating. Food had a negative connotation.

My son, however, is an Adventurous Eater. When it comes to food and eating he likes anything new and exciting. Simply looking at books or talking to him while he ate was enough to create a fun environment for him. And he gravitated towards the food. Food had a positive connotation!

A child’s Eating Style helps you understand:

  • the essence of your child’s true nature
  • how they relate to the world, to people, and to their environment
  • what makes them feel loved, supported, and confident
  • how they uniquely view food.

I like to call it a child’s food language!

Once you understand how to speak it, feeding becomes so much simpler!! Knowing your child’s Eating Style will help answer many of your feeding questions.

  • Does my child need comforting food or quick food?
  • Does my child like meals to be a surprise or to know exactly what’s on the menu?
  • Does my child like soft, easy-to-chew food or really crunchy and chewy food?

The Eating Styles will help you identify the answers to all of these and so much more!Eating Styles Membership

What are the Eating Styles?

There are four Eating Styles:

  • Intuitive Eater: slow, emotional, connected
  • Analytical Eater: still, structured, bold
  • Adventurous Eater: happy, animated, curious
  • Active Eater: fast, loud, intense

Every child has a primary Eating Style and then overlaps a bit with a second style. It’s fascinating to figure out what describes your child(ren) best. Eating Styles is a powerful tool to help your child eat better without feeling like he or she has to change his or her personality. It also helps aleviate any feeding challenges without power struggles with you!

For example, the term “picky eater” is used a lot when it comes to feeding kids. I really don’t like that label.

I think all kids are great eaters! We just have to understand how they eat to be able to bring the world of food alive to them.

All four types of eaters have their own challenges and strengths. Which means they each require different feeding strategies…and it might not align with the way you like to eat, Mom and Dad!

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of an Intuitive Eater and strategies to help feed this child.Intuitive Eater

How an Intuitive Eater Eats

An Intuitive Eater is the true “picky eater.” This is the child that will have a very strong opinion about what they will and won’t eat…and there is no convincing them otherwise (for good reason!).

Most parents looking for help with extreme pickiness are dealing with Intuitive Eaters.

Some characteristics of an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Slow eater, can’t be rushed through a meal
  • Needs someone close by (especially 2-5 year olds)
  • Doesn’t like food mixed
  • Eating impacted by emotions (can lead to under or over eating)
  • Struggles with breakfast – slow to start the day
  • Eat by a process (i.e. finish all of one food before moving to the next)
  • Struggles with eating meat
  • Unwilling to try new foods

Some feeding strategies for an Intuitive Eater include:

  • Let them start a meal early to have enough time to finish
  • Sit with them for the whole meal/until they are done – they need to feel connected
  • Seat them next to mom or dad
  • Let them help plan and prepare the meal
  • Give them options/let them decide what to eat (teach them to listen to their bodies)
  • Don’t tie emotions to food. How much/what you eat does not equate to good/bad – remove parent emotions from meals even if undereating
  • Let them take breaks/come back to a meal
  • Serve foods separately and let them combine if desired (tacos, casseroles, stir fry, etc.)

As you can see, my stress reaction to my Intuitive Eater’s struggles was the complete opposite of what she needed. Now that she is older we focus on being positive about food and connecting at the table. In turn she is a great eater that loves a wide variety of nutrient-dense food.

We are now digging even deeper to remove her limiting belief that she is small and weak, instead helping her believe that she is healthy, nourished, and strong! Because she is.

She is still my child with the strongest opinions about her food. But that’s OK! I am honoring her Intuitive nature when it comes to eating.How to feed a picky eater

How to Figure Out Your Child’s Eating Style

That was a small taste of one of the four Eating Styles. Maybe it resonated with you, and you think your child is an Intuitive Eater. Or maybe it doesn’t sound like your child at all! You could have an Analytical, Adventurous, or Active Eater.

To quickly figure out which type of eater(s) you have, use this short quiz! It’s fun and fascinating to understand how the whole family eats!

 

If you are ready to dig deeper and use the Eating Styles as a tool to eliminate picky eating, it’s time to become an Eating Styles member.

Eating Styles Premium Membership
Eating Styles Premium Membership
Learn exactly HOW to feed your child before you even consider what to feed them. You'll learn to work with your child's strengths and natural tendencies to make meal times pleasant for everyone.
Price: $39.97

Become an Eating Styles Member Today!

With a membership you get access to a quick-start guide to help you pinpoint your child’s primary eating style (that goes much more in-depth than the quiz). Then you can learn all about that style to understand the ins and outs of feeding.

You might even find the information helpful in other areas of life. I now understand why my Active Eater stuffs his mouth at every meal AND why he’s so intense about everything he does. Which allows me to be more patient with him.How to feed a picky eater

Picky Eating is NOT About the Food!

Feeding your kids well is more about the HOW than the WHAT.

It all boils down to mindful observation and understanding your child’s nature. Using the strategies in the Eating Styles you’ll become the expert on how to feed YOUR child. Then the food will easily follow.

Eating Styles is part of the Mindset component of my Mouth-Mind-Movement-Minerals Method to get your kids to say, “MMMM” to nourishing food without a battle. It’s a simple step you can take at home with huge rewards!

Are you ready to end the mealtime drama and keep your kids nourished? 

Become an Eating Styles Member Today!

Eating Styles Premium Membership
Eating Styles Premium Membership
Learn exactly HOW to feed your child before you even consider what to feed them. You'll learn to work with your child's strengths and natural tendencies to make meal times pleasant for everyone.
Price: $39.97

So far we have talked about the foundations of good healthNutritional Therapy for kids, and HTMA for kids – the physical aspects of health. Today we introduced how mindset impacts feeding your kids and how the Eating Styles can help. But there is still more! Next up I’ll be discussing more tactics for handling the emotional aspect of feeding. Stay tuned!

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Make & Can Pear Sauce | A No Sugar Added Alternative to Applesauce

Fall is a busy time of canning applesauce and freezing pumpkin. But don’t forget about preserving pears! With a short season and a busy schedule use this guide to stock your pantry with pear sauce before the pears are gone.

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

I’m a big fan of hardy produce. You know, the kind that can sit on the counter or in the fridge for weeks and still be OK? Like carrots, potatoes, apples, rutabaga, parsnips, cauliflower, and cabbage.

I love all kinds of fruits and veggies. But some of them are a bit demanding.

One day an avocado is not quite ripe. The next day it’s mushy.

The same goes for pears. You check and check for ripeness. Then all of a sudden you’ve missed the window and they over ripe.

Personally, I like to be in control instead of my produce. But it just doesn’t work that way for everything.

So I always get anxious when it’s pear season. I want to preserve them. But I just don’t have time any old day. Will I time it just right? Will I be stuck peeling hard pears? Or will I let them go too far because we were busy with soccer and band?

It’s a gamble.

I try to do a fair amount of canning each fall. How much I do depends on my kids’ ages and how I’m feeling.

Regardless, I don’t like to spend hours on end in the kitchen each day to keep up with produce preservation.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Can Pears

I already take the easy route when it comes to canning peaches. That is a life saver!

Then I get to pears. There is really no way around it.

Canning pears takes a lot of time.

Lots of peeling and slicing (especially if the pears are small). It can take up to sixty pears just to do one round of canning! That is a lot of peeling.

So I stopped doing it years ago. Much to my husband’s disappointment. I just don’t have time.

But I still want to preserve this amazing fruit to enjoy it all winter.

How to make and can pear sauce - an easy alternative to applesauce

How to Can Pears Without Sugar

Enter pear sauce.

It is just like applesauce but with pears. Honestly, I would take pear sauce any day over applesauce. It is that good.

There is no need to add any sweetener as pears are plenty sweet on their own.

The other thing you don’t have to do – peel them!

Preserving pears is quite easy when you can just wash, quarter, cook and puree. Then either can or freeze the pear sauce.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

Pear Sauce for Baby

One of the reasons I love having pearsauce on hand is that it makes a super easy first food for little ones six months and up. You can serve it plain or turn it into a nutrient dense baby porridge. Warm the pear sauce slightly and mix in coconut oil and an egg yolk. Stir and serve!

My big kids love pear sauce too! Sometimes I even make it extra special by adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries from our freezer stash. As they melt and let off juice it colors the pearsauce and adds an extra burst of flavor.

Serve it cold. Serve it warm with a pinch of cinnamon. Add it to oatmeal. Mix it in yogurt.

You really can’t go wrong. You also don’t need to spend days on end making pear sauce.

Pear Sauce Canning

Here is my busy mom’s solution to preserving pears. I am able to work through a half bushel in one day (with four young kids, including a nursing little one) and still manage to do our school work, go to activities, and get healthy meals on the table.

It only takes about twenty minutes to wash and slice one batch of pears. Then you can let it cook for a bit while you tend to something else. Being able to make pear sauce in steps is so handy!

A full batch (seven quarts) takes about 30 – 35 medium to large pears. So figure out how many jars you’d like to can and then figure out how many pears you need. I usually get one bushel of pears. It makes three rounds of pear sauce with some pears left over for eating fresh.

Pear sauce makes a great alternative to applesauce. Variety is key to any diet, especially if you are implementing a rotation diet for food allergies. So this is a nice change of pace! My kids actually prefer it over applesauce.

Have you ever tried preserving pears? I encourage you to try pearsauce!

Are you new to canning? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to get you going.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

What to do With Extra Pears

Depending on the size of the pears and the quantity you buy, sometimes you end up with a pile of extra pears. And like I said before, they can go from almost ripe to mush pretty quickly. So what do you do with those extra pears?

Of course you can eat them fresh! Pears are a sweet treat on their own. But you can only eat so many. Here are a few other options for using up extra ripe pears.

Homemade Pear Sauce Recipe

Homemade Canned Pear Sauce

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 7 quarts
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 30 - 40 medium ripe pears
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Making Pear Sauce

  1. Wash pears (this can be done in a clean sink full of water).

  2. Add 1 cup water to a large stockpot and turn on high heat.

  3. Quarter and core pears, placing them in the stockpot as you go.

  4. Adjust heat to simmer and cook the pears until soft, stirring periodically, about 15 minutes.

  5. In batches puree the cooked pears and their juice in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Freezing Pear Sauce

  1. Chill the pear sauce.

  2. Put the pear sauce in freezer-safe containers.

  3. Label and freeze for up to a year.

Canning Pear Sauce

  1. Return the pureed pear sauce to the stockpot and keep warm.

  2. Prepare the water bath canner (filled with water and jars and get the jars hot).

  3. Ladle the hot pear sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.

  4. Wipe the rims of jars and place the lids and bands on.

  5. Can in hot water bath for 30 minutes (quarts) or 25 minutes (pints).

  6. Remove the canner lid and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.

  7. Remove jars from the canner and place on a towel to cool, untouched for 8 hours.

Recipe Notes

  • One batch of pear sauce makes 6-7 quarts or 12-14 pints.
  • A half-bushel of pears will make 2 rounds of pear sauce, with a few pears left for eating fresh.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies | Just Take A Bite

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Food Allergies

When it comes to food allergies, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is feeding their kids the same foods over and over. While it may make life easier, it could cause more problems in the long run. Implementing a rotation diet is a great strategy for feeding kids with food allergies.

Active Eater

“You should try a rotation diet.”

I first heard those words when I went through a whole assortment of tests a few years ago and the results showed a lot of latent food allergies.

My first thought: “You want me to not eat the same foods two days in a row?”

How Leftovers Impact Gut Health

I am a creature of habit and the queen of repetition. I am an Analytical Eater after all! I could eat the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a week and not mind one bit. And if I really like something, I often do eat it every day. Plus I LOVE leftovers. I’m odd but I like cold leftovers better than freshly made food. So the idea of not eating things two days in a row was crazy to me.

My second thought: “How is that going to help?”

Turns out it helps a lot. Though I didn’t fully realize it at the time.

Why Won't My Child Eat?! Simple strategies to feed any child with food allergies, sensitivities, oral spd, refusal to eat, and more!

I went home, did more research and got started. I only had one child eating solids at the time. So it wasn’t that tough to modify meals for the family and work around my new diet. I stuck with it for a while and had fun experimenting with new recipes.

Then life got busy. I gradually fell back into old habits. I had a one year old that was always on the move. And a very smart four year old that needed lots of stimulation and always wanted to learn something new. Plus I was tired and struggling with adrenal fatigue. Back to eating the same foods all the time and feeding my kids the same foods.How to use a rotation diet to minimize food allergies and introduce new foods with ease. #foodallergies #feedingkids #healthykids

Rotating Foods for Allergies

Fast forward a year and my son was diagnosed with along list of food allergies. All the allergist told us to do was avoid the worst offenders. That was it for advice.

Ok. We can do that. No dairy, eggs, rice, beans, peas, grapes, pears and a few other foods. Not fun. But we’ll manage.

Six months later we went for a retest. The allergies were worse, and new ones had popped up.

It was then that I learned how a rotation diet can help with allergies and just how important it is.

Can you guess what foods my son now reacted strongly to?

All the foods he ate frequently and foods we used to replace his allergens. Oops. Mom fail. Lesson learned. Sort of.

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

We’ve gone through this up and down cycle of sticking to food rotation and then getting busy and slipping back into old habits many times. And almost every time we pay for it by adding new allergies.

Knowing just how important rotation is, I was very strict about enforcing it with my youngest daughter from the start.

How A Rotation Diet Works

That’s a little background. I hope I didn’t lose you at the mention of a rotation diet.

It’s kind of a strange concept. Basically you eat foods on a four-day rotation. So if you eat an apple on Monday you can’t eat an apple again until Friday.

How does that help? And why four days?

Allergies can start or worsen with repeated exposure to an allergen, especially in allergy-prone people and those with leaky guts (which includes many of us). So if you are consuming the same food day after day, any reaction to that food will gradually intensify. It’s kind of like picking at a cut. The more you pick at it, the worse it will get.

When you eat a problem food, your body produces “masking” antibodies. After four days those antibodies are gone (if you aren’t eating the food). So you can better assess if a particular food was bothering you. If you eat the same food every day those antibodies do not clear out and you’re left guessing and having reaction upon reaction. Been there, done that.

Food Rotation on a Restricted Diet

Ideally you should rotate food families. But this is not always possible. My youngest daughter did not even have enough safe foods to span four days with rotating families. So we stuck with rotating individual foods and tried not to have food families span more than two days. You have to do what works for you.

An added bonus of rotation is that it forces you to have variety in your diet, which leads to a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals. This is beneficial for the whole family, not just those with allergies. So get everyone on board!

Sound like a good theory but impossible to implement? It’s not. I promise. It just takes some planning.

How to Start a Rotation Diet

  1. Make a list of all of the foods you can eat. You can do this for the whole family or just for the individuals with allergies.
  2. Group the safe foods into food families.
  3. Now start filling in four days, including foods from each food group (fruits, vegetables, grains/starches, fats, proteins) in each day.

I also like to group foods that we commonly eat together. For example, beef and tomatoes are good on the same day for making spaghetti with meat sauce or tacos with salsa. I include peppers and onions on those days too. Rice tends to go well with chicken or pork. I put lettuce and a few favorite salad toppings on the same day.

How A Rotation Diet Helps With Allergies | Just Take A Bite

Rotation Diet Meal Plan

Play around with it until you find a rotation that works for your family. Then start planning! Oddly enough a rotation diet can actually make meal planning easier. A lot of the decisions are made for you. The other day I was planning a meal for a day with pumpkin, rice, lettuce and cucumbers. So we had pumpkin pasta (rice noodles) and salads. Perfect!

I even manage to use leftovers by making my “day” go from dinner one day to lunch the next. So dinner leftovers can still be eaten for easy lunches. Then we start our next day with dinner again.

One down side to a rotation diet is that it can be hard to eat seasonally. It just depends on how restricted your diet is. We’ve been eating asparagus all year because my daughter likes it and tolerates it. Normally we only eat it in the spring when it’s growing in our garden. But having food options wins over eating seasonally. Not to mention on a rotation diet you can’t eat cherries every day for two weeks straight while they are fresh. The rotation is more important.

An Easy Way to Identify Food Reactions

Since starting a rotation diet with my kids, it is a lot easier to keep new allergies to a minimum and to spot an offending food right away. Sometimes people think I’m crazy when I say I can pinpoint food reactions in a couple days. But I can. It is because we use a rotation diet. This is also very helpful when re-introducing foods. It’s easy to tell right away if my child is still reacting or not. So we can try one new food a week when I think they are ready.

Before dealing with allergies, my diet was about the farthest thing from rotated. I ate the same foods day after day after day. And I paid the price with a long list of latent allergies. And I have seen firsthand how not rotating foods has negatively impacted my children.

Using a rotation diet is one of the most important things you can do for someone with allergies. And it is just one of the many topics I cover in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!. I’ve got tips on how to observe your child for food reactions and how to deal with picky eating. I’ve even got a tried and true method for feeding a child that refuses to eat anything (I’ve been there…for months). Plus lots more.

Get your copy of Why Won’t My Child Eat?! so you can take the guess work out of behavior issues and picky eating and start enjoying meal times again.

Do you have kids with allergies? Do you use a rotation diet or are you stuck in a rut with a handful of safe foods?

Get out of the rut and get on the road to better health with a rotation diet. Then take the next steps to having great eaters with the tips I share in Why Won’t My Child Eat?!.

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

The Simple Mineral Solution to Anxiety in Kids

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting.

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

When I was little I hated traveling. I mean hated.

Leaving home gave me so much anxiety because I had an overactive bladder. I knew that as soon as I got in the car I would have to use the bathroom. I would spend entire car rides staring out the window watching for the next rest area sign.

It became a vicoius cycle. The car made the anxiety worse. The anxiety made the bladder issue worse (which I later discovered was actually a bowel issue). And it continued into adulthood.

By the time I got married my travel anxiety was so bad that I feared going anywhere. A two-hour drive across the state to see my family was a huge undertaking for me. I hated it. My husband had to reassure me every time we went somewhere that we could stop at any time.

But it didn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t have been that way.

There was a key nutrient missing that could have changed my life.

Magnesium.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

What is Magnesium?

In my mind, magnesium is a miracle (as I’ll explain later). But technically speaking, magnesium is a very important mineral that is involved in over 300 enyzmatic reactions in the body.

Magnesium is known as a natural tranquilizer, as it helps with relaxing muscles, including both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles (like blood vessels and the digestive tract). This is why sufficient magnesium intake helps with slow digestion. It helps the muscles of the digestive tract contract properly.

Magnesium plays a role in energy levels as well. Because it aids in passing nutrients back and forth across cell membranes, magnesium helps in the release of energy. This may also lead to aiding with nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and muscle cramps.

Although important, magnesium does not stand alone. It must be in balance with calcium, sodium, and potassium for optimal health.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Symptoms of Low Magnesium in Kids

The symptoms of low magnesium levels in kids are many. They can include:

  • fatigue
  • anorexia
  • irritability (tendency towards blood sugar dysregulation and acting “hangry”)
  • insomnia (anybody have kids that struggle with sleep?)
  • muscle twitching and cramping (restless legs and growing pains)
  • decreased learning ability and lack of focus (ADD, ADHD)
  • confusion
  • poor memory
  • rapid heartbeat
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • constipation

Today I’m going to focus on a big one – anxiety.Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Why Do Children Suffer From Anxiety?

Children should not have to deal with daily anxiety. But in our current world it’s more common than not.

And while we can’t control all of our circumstances, we can control how we respond to stressors and how we care for our bodies. Which means parents have an essential role to help their children work through anxiety and stay healthy.

When minerals are in balance, children are more resiliant and can handle tough situations without becoming overly anxious.

Often the root cause of anxiety is not a tough situation, but rather a mineral imbalance, namely low magnesium.

What to Give a Child for Anxiety

The most common treatment for anxiety is medication. However, this is not an ideal solution, especially for kids.

Anti-anxiety medications act as a band-aid. They alter how you feel. But they don’t actually address the problem. So unless you continue to take the medication, the anxiety will return. Not to mention they have unpleasant side-effects.

Instead, a simple solution for anxiety in kids is to increase magnesium levels.

Other complementary therapies include essential oils, flower essences, herbs, and homeopathy. But these should only be used to support the process, not as the solution. Getting the body in balance is the key to reducing anxiety.Magnesium for kids - why they need it

Foods With Magnesium for Kids

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner that specializes in helping children feel their best, I always take a food-first approach to proper nutrition. I try to avoid supplements for kids when possible. Which means children need a diet rich in magnesium on a daily basis.

Foods high in magnesium include:

  • avocado
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • leafy greens
  • beans
  • molasses
  • dark chocolate
  • yogurt
  • fish

These are all delicious foods, and should be incorporated into your diet often. But even when eating some of these daily it can be hard for kids to have sufficient magnesium levels. Magnesium is used up very quickly since the body uses it for so many functions. It is also depleted by stress, anxiety, and sugar intake. So it’s hard to have sufficient levels from food alone.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

How to Increase Magnesium Levels in Kids

Thankfully, when it comes to magnesium, the best way to increase levels is through the skin! Which means no supplements or potential digestive upset. And no pills for kids!

There are a few options for topical magnesium, but magnesium lotion is the most effective and easiest way to increase magnesium levels in kids.

You can make your own lotion with a few simple ingredients (we like THIS two-ingredient magnesium lotion recipe and THIS DIY magnesium lotion recipe).

Or if you’re like most parents, and you just don’t have the time or energy, you can buy pre-made magnesium lotion.

There is only one brand I use on my kids – The Magnesium Lotion Shop.

This is a small, family-run company that uses high-quality, safe ingredients (only four total!). And the end product is amazing! It goes on easily and doesn’t itch. My kids use it almost daily!

You can grab a jar…or two or three…HERE. Trust me, you’ll want to stock up!

Does your child struggle with anxiety? Looking for a natural solution? Anxiety is often related to a mineral deficiency, particularly magnesium. Using magnesium lotion and/or magnesium supplements for kids can help relieve anxiety and calm the nervous system. No medications. No doctors. Just simple nutritent boosting. #anxiety #minerals #kidshealth #magnesium

Does Magnesium Reduce Anxiety in Kids?

As I mentioned earlier, I consider magnesium to be a miracle because of the impact it has had on my own health. My travel anxiety and digestive issues came to a head in my 20’s when I was diganosed with a rectal prolapse and had major colon surgery to correct it. Something that usually only happens in elderly people. I now know it was due to anxiety from digestive issues, which in turn put pressure on my bladder. The overactive bladder then made the anxiety worse, which made the digestive issues worse. It was a cycle I could not escape.

After over 30 years of struggling with anxiety and a fear of traveling, I figured out that I had very low magnesium. Not only was it a partial cause of my anxiety, it was also causing an imbalance with other minerals (for years I didn’t tolerate any high potassium foods) and my sluggish digestion.

After regularly using both magnesium lotion and a magnesium supplement, I now have much less anxiety. In fact, the last two times I’ve traveled I was actually MORE relaxed than at home. Not once my entire life has this happened! I was so relaxed that my digestion was almost perfect while we were away, and I had more fun than I’ve had in a long time. If you don’t believe me, just ask my husband. I’m sure he was amazed to not hear me complain about a stomach ache one single time!

The only thing that I wish I could change is figuring it out sooner. I wish that as a child I could have used magnesium to reduce my anxiety, aid my digestion, and help me enjoy life the way kids should.

I now use magnesium regularly with my own kids when they are dealing with anxiety. I also use it for growing pains, bed wetting, and insomnia. It has truly become a miracle for our whole family!

Additional Magnesium Sources for Kids

If you feel like lotion alone is not sufficient, you can add a magnesium supplement to your child’s diet. We use THIS powder mixed into water. My kids love it and ask for it almost every evening. If we miss a night my oldest can tell as she struggles to fall asleep.

Do your kids struggle with anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. But now you know there is something you can do about it! Get your anxiety-reducing magnesium lotion HERE.

Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute. Convert your favorite baked good recipes into egg-free versions with a couple little tweaks.

How to Bake Without Eggs | A Simple Gelatin Egg Substitute

Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute. Convert your favorite baked good recipes into egg-free versions with a couple little tweaks. Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute.

Gluten-free baking can be tricky. You have to learn what flours go well together. You need to learn the correct ratios of starch to fiber. But once you get the hang of it, you can make some pretty amazing baked goods.

Until you have to eliminate eggs.

Eggs can make or break allergen-free baked goods.

Have you ever seen a recipe that uses coconut flour? It’s usually loaded with eggs.

Many wheat alternatives simply don’t have the ability to bind. And that is where eggs come in. They are the glue that holds gluten and grain-free baked goods together.

What Can Be Used Instead of Eggs in Baking

As a mom of kids with allergies, I’m thankful there are quite a few options for egg replacements in baking. These include:

  • chia seeds
  • flax seeds
  • JUST egg
  • applesauce
  • banana
  • yogurt
  • nut or seed butter
  • psyllium husk
  • gelatin

They all have their place in certain recipes. But commercial egg replacers are usually loaded with unhealthy processed vegetable oils. And sometimes you either don’t have another substitute on hand or your kids are allergic to those as well!

That’s why my go-to egg substitute is gelatin.Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute. Convert your favorite baked good recipes into egg-free versions with a couple little tweaks.

How to Replace Eggs with Gelatin

Gelatin is protein. So it is very similar to real eggs in that sense. Gelatin is also easy to have on hand at all times as it doesn’t go bad. No refrigeration needed. No fear of it going rancid.

My general rule of thumb is one to two teaspoons of gelatin replaces one egg.

Simply mix the gelatin with a small amount of cold liquid (water, milk, etc.). Then dissolve it completely with hot water and add to your batter.

It’s really that simple!Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute.

Gelatin Egg Substitute

Gelatin isn’t a straight substitute for eggs since eggs contain more than just protein. So I always compensate by adding a little extra fat (oil, butter, etc.) to my recipe when baking egg-free.

That combination of protein and fat works really well in most baked goods.

Sometimes I also add a little psyllium husk for binding. Gelatin, fat, and psyllium husk mimic the properties of an egg very well.

Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute. Convert your favorite baked good recipes into egg-free versions with a couple little tweaks.Egg-Free Baked Goods

Most baked goods require you to add the eggs at the beginning of the recipe.

The opposite is true when using a gelatin egg substitute. Adding the gelatin mixture at the end is preferred. This keeps the gelatin from gelling before baking.

Since it can be tricky to get the hang of egg-free baking, it’s best to start with a tested recipe that you can follow. Over time you’ll be able to confidently replace eggs in any of your favorite baked goods.

How to Bake Without Eggs

Here is the breakdown of baking with a gelatin egg substitute.

Gelatin Egg Substitute

Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings 1 egg

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp. grass-fed gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold liquid (water, milk, juice, applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. psyllium husk optional
  • 2 tsp. avocado oil, olive oil, butter, or coconut oil optional

Instructions

  1. Add the psyllium husk and oil into the batter of whatever you're making.

  2. After all other ingredients have been combined, mix the gelatin and cold water/milk/juice.

  3. Let sit 1 minute.

  4. Add the hot water to the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve.

  5. Immediately add the gelatin mixture to the batter and mix well.

  6. Proceed with the baking instructions of your recipe.

Recipe Notes

The cold water/milk/juice should be some of the liquid already called for in the recipe to avoid too much liquid.

This replaces 1 egg.

Working around egg allergies can be tricky. In this tutorial I'll show you how to bake without eggs by using a simple gelatin egg substitute.How to Bake Egg-Free Cake

One of the most common needs for egg-free baking is cake. Yes, even kids with egg allergies want cake for their birthdays!

Thankfully gelatin eggs work really well in egg-free cake.

Some of my favorite egg-free cake and muffin recipes include:

And many others are easily adaptable using this gelatin egg substitute!

What Desserts Do Not Contain Eggs?

If you are intimidated by any kind of egg substitute, rest assured there are plenty of delicious desserts that are naturally egg-free.

What is the Best Gelatin?

When it comes to gelatin, there is really only one option in my mind. We always use Perfect Supplements gelatin.

This is the only gelatin in the world that is certified glyphosate free! That is pretty amazing.

Want to know what else is amazing? You can get 10% off Perfect Supplements gelatin or any of their other great products using the code TAKE10.

Stock up on gelatin for egg-free baking HERE.

Ready to start some delicious egg-free baking? Stay tuned! Tomorrow I have an amazing egg-free orange muffin recipe for you. My kids (and I!) devoured them.

Do you struggle with egg-free baking? What is your go-to egg replacement?

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

Should You Force Feed a Picky Eater?

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

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

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

Really it is a great way to parent.

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

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

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

How to Feed an Under-Eater

What did I do?

I forced her to eat.

Now, before you become alarmed, let me explain what I mean by force feed.

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

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

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

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

Nourishing Drinks for Picky Eaters

Enter my secret weapon – nourishing drinks!

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

Want to know what happened next?

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

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

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

Variety for Picky Eaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grab your copy HERE!

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters

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

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

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

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

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

Boost those nutrients and watch that picky eating turn around!

The strategy to force feed a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track! Here is my secret weapon to get any picky eater back to fully nourished status and enjoying lots of real food again.

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

Magnesium for kids - why they need it!

Why Kids Need Magnesium – And How to Get It!

In our world of degraded soil, processed foods, and toxic pesticides, almost every child is magnesium deficient. Today I’m going to tell you why that matters – why kids need magnesium and the best ways for them to get it.Magnesium for kids - why they need it!

Call my kids weird, but they were so excited to get their own jars of magnesium lotion as stocking-stuffers for Christmas. It might seem like an odd thing for a five-year-old to smile about. But she knows just how amazing magnesium is for her health.

I’m not even exaggerating that she put it on about ten times the first day she had it! And she wouldn’t let anyone else touch it. Around here, magnesium lotion is a prized possession.

Let’s find out why magnesium is so magnificent!

What Does Magnesium Do?

A better question might be, “What Doesn’t Magnesium Do?” Magnesium is an essential macromineral that is involved in several hundred enzymatic reactions in the body.

Considered the “anti-stress” mineral, magnesium is a natural tranquilizer. This can help with relaxing muscles, including both skeletal muscles and smooth muscles as in blood vessels and the digestive tract. Which is why sufficient magnesium intake helps with slow digestion.

Magnesium also plays a significant role in heart health, again relaxing muscles and preventing coronary artery spasms. It can also lower blood pressure and is sometimes used to treat pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.

If you struggle with recurring kidney stones, it is likely due to a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps prevent the calcification of tissues and blood vessels (including kidney stones, atherosclerosis, and even cavities!).

Magnesium plays a role in energy levels as well. Because it helps nutrients pass back and forth across cell membranes, magnesium helps in the release of energy. This may also lead to aiding with nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and muscle cramps.

Magnesium has been shown to impact blood sugar regulation, type 2 diabetes, ADHD, migraines, and Alzheimer’s too.

These are just a few of the many roles of magnesium in the body. As you can see, it is a very important mineral!Magnesium for kids - why they need it

What are the Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?

So how do you know if you or your kids are magnesium deficient? These days if you don’t supplement you are likely deficient. It’s sad, but true. Here are some of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency:

  • fatigue
  • anorexia
  • irritability (tendency towards blood sugar dysregulation and acting “hangry”)
  • insomnia (anybody have kids that struggle with sleep?)
  • muscle twitching and cramping (restless legs and growing pains)
  • decreased learning ability and lack of focus (ADD, ADHD)
  • confusion
  • poor memory
  • rapid heartbeat
  • numbness and tingling of hands and feet
  • recurring kidney stones
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • constipation

Low levels of magnesium can impact all parts of the body. So if you are struggling with any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it might be time to change your diet or add a magnesium supplement.

Why are Kids Magnesium Deficient?

There are many factors that contribute magnesium deficiency. These include:

  • a diet low in magnesium (see the food list below)
  • soft water
  • produce grown in magnesium-deficient soil (most magnesium comes from plants)
  • processed foods in the diet (with lack of magnesium but an abundance of synthetic counteractive nutrients)
  • poor liver function
  • malabsorption (digestive dysfunction)
  • excess sugar intake (depletes magnesium)
  • high stress levels (depletes magnesium)
  • too much Vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium in the diet (no, Vitamin D supplements are NOT a good idea) that cause an imbalance

It seems like this should only pertain to adults. But sadly, kids are born into a magnesium-deficient world. Moms are magnesium deficient while pregnant. So baby starts off without sufficient levels. Then kids are fed processed foods with high amounts of synthetic vitamins and minerals but lacking in magnesium. Vegetables are grown in nutrient-depleted soil, so even if you eat your greens you’re not getting the amount of nutrients you need.

Plus so many kids struggle with digestive problems and even autoimmune conditions that inhibit them from absorbing the magnesium they do ingest.

Kids have to deal with a lot more stress these days – from more intense school work to less time outside to EMFs to technology to pharmaceuticals to toxins to lack of sleep to poor posture…it all adds up. And stress rapidly depletes magnesium stores.

Then there is the big push for Vitamin D supplements. I’ve talked about it before –  it’s just not a good idea. It will lead to imbalances in the body, including lowered magnesium levels.

As you can see, it is very easy for kids to be magnesium deficient these days. In fact, it’s probably rare to have kids that aren’t deficient. Thankfully there are solutions!Magnesium for kids - why they need it

Best Sources of Magnesium for Kids

It is essential to get sufficient magnesium in your diet – whether from food or supplements. Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:

  • dark, leafy greens
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • beans
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • buckwheat
  • cocoa
  • molasses
  • whole grains
  • fish

Although I am a huge fan of a food-first approach, it’s not always possible to eat enough magnesium-rich food. Especially these days when most “healing diets” exclude almost everything on that list! A lot of the magnesium-rich foods are hard to digest and include problematic components like oxalates, allergens, and gluten. If your diet is lacking magnesium, you can also supplement. Some good supplement options include:

  • magnesium lotion
  • magnesium oil spray
  • epsom salt bath or foot soak
  • magnesium malate
  • magnesium lysinate, glycinate, chelate (I use THIS brand)

Topical magnesium is more easily absorbed and utilized by the body. So if you don’t need the laxative effect of a magnesium supplement, opt for lotion, spray, or bath.

Also note that magnesium is an alkaline mineral. Which means it can reduce stomach acid. So if you are going to supplement, it’s best to do it away from meals, before bed, or in combination with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Can you Get Too Much Magnesium?

Although very rare, it is possible to have magnesium toxicity. Most excess magnesium is eliminated in the urine or feces.

If calcium intake is very low and magnesium intake is high (via supplementation), you can have an imbalance.

Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:

  • muscle weakness
  • fatigue
  • sleepiness
  • hyper-excitability

Unless you are supplementing with doses of 1,000 mg or more a day, this is likely not an issue. But always strive for balance, no extremes.Magnesium for Kids - why they need it

Does Magnesium Help Kids Sleep?

As mentioned earlier, magnesium has a tranquilizing and calming effect. It helps you relax. It helps your muscles relax.

This is so important for kids. In my mind, kids should be running around all day, getting exhausted, and crashing hard when they hit the pillow at bedtime.

But that is not the reality for most kids. Even my own kids struggle with sleep sometimes. Especially my oldest. Some nights she lays in bed awake for hours. It pains me because I know it makes her worry. Then the lack of sleep on top of that worry is more stress.

A dark room and a calm bedtime routine are both helpful. But our go-to solution is magnesium lotion. My daughter can actually feel the difference. She rubs it on her legs and belly before bed and usually falls right to sleep. It’s like magic.Magnesium for Kids - why they need it

Magnesium Lotion for Growing Pains

My youngest daughter is a good sleeper…unless she has leg pains. Some nights she wakes up just sobbing in pain. We’ve taken her to the doctor and done x-rays. No physical problems.

It’s what doctors call “growing pains.” It’s sort of a bogus term because it really just means they don’t know what causes it. I say it’s magnesium deficiency!

If we are faithful about using magnesium lotion every night, my daughter is pain free. But if we start to slack, it comes back. She calls it her magic lotion. I do too. I hate seeing her in pain. The other night it was so bad I had to resort to OTC pain medicine. None of my natural remedies would help. That was my wake-up call. We need to be diligent about using magnesium lotion every single day.

In adults these same pains are often termed restless legs. It’s a big red flag for magnesium deficiency. If you or a loved one suffers from restless legs, work on magnesium levels. Sufficient magnesium will reduce or eliminate muscle cramps and spasms. Topical magnesium lotion right on the legs is great for this!

How to Make Magnesium Lotion

After reading all of that you want an easy solution, right? Well, I’ve got one. Sort of.

The first step in treating magnesium deficiency is always to work on diet. Increase food sources of magnesium when possible.

After that my favorite solution is magnesium lotion. Oils are good, but they are sticky and itchy (not great for kids). Epsom baths can work, but you don’t always have time for it. Plus it’s not an ideal solution for young kids as you can’t really regulate the magnesium levels.

That’s why I love magnesium lotion. I did a whole tutorial on how to make DIY magnesium lotion with just TWO ingredients. You can read that HERE.

For stocking stuffers I also went a step further and made a really nice lotion for my girls. I used this magnesium lotion recipe and then added some essential oils to fit their personality and needs. It was a bit more work, but totally doable. And the end product is awesome. My girls are raving about how soft it is.
Blog Photo 5

The Best Magnesium Lotion for Kids

But let’s be honest – how often do we have time to make lotion? And who has shea butter and bees wax sitting around all the time?

The easiest way to get quality magnesium lotion is to buy it. There are quite a few brands of magnesium lotion. I’ll be honest – I don’t trust most of them. They have questionable ingredients. And frankly they smell strange and still make you itch.

Except for one. The only magnesium lotion that I trust and buy is from The Magnesium Lotion Shop.

This lotion is made with only four pure ingredients. It goes on easily and smells nice. Plus I always love to support small, family-owned businesses versus big corporations. Check it out HERE.

All of our products are made by hand in small batches. Our primary goal is quality, and we encourage customers to contact us directly if they ever have any issues. Our product has passed both micro bacterial testing and the USP 51 preservative challenge test (for consumer safety), results can be seen here. We use only natural ingredients: Magnesium Oil, Apricot Oil, Mango Butter and Beeswax – no funny, artificial, hard to pronounce substances are in our product. Out lotion is preservative free. – Mike Crumbs

Sufficient magnesium is such an important factor for good health. I’m thankful there are numerous ways to increase magnesium levels, including transdermally through magnesium lotion. It’s the perfect solution for both kids and adults!

Do you struggle with magnesium deficiency? What is your favorite way to supplement? Have you seen any health improvements when using magnesium supplements?

Having trouble navigating all the different types of magnesium? This guide will help you!

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham

Are you looking for a way to serve ham without worrying about nitrates, nitrites and fillers? Make your own! You can easily turn a pork roast into ham in your crockpot.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

I love ham. I mean love it.

You can imagine my sadness when my daughter had a reaction to ham while she was still breastfeeding. That meant no ham for her…or me.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Why You Should Avoid Ham

Pork was not the problem.

The problem is whatever is used for smoking/curing. Even something simple like beet sugar caused a reaction.

But aside from allergens, there are the added nitrates and nitrites. This is not a cut and dry issue either. Some say avoid it all. Some say just be careful of quantities, whether naturally-derived or not.

Whatever your reason, sometimes it’s a good idea to avoid cured meats, including ham.

How to Turn Pork into Ham

I avoided my beloved ham for a long time – until I decided to make my own! You can turn a pork roast into ham right in your crockpot (this is my favorite one).

No fancy tools. No strange ingredients.

Really all you need is pork, salt and a sweetener.

I used a rolled pork roast. But any cut will work.

Homemade Ham in the Crockpot

Cut some slits in the pork, put it in the crockpot and add the salt and sugar. Turn the crockpot on and you’re pretty much done.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Your holiday ham really can be that simple. And you don’t have to worry about nitrates or nitrites or whether or not celery powder is better or worse.

To turn a pork roast into ham the important step is using lots of quality unrefined sea salt. Then adjust the sweetness to your liking.

If you want your ham really smokey you can also add a little liquid smoke (be sure to find one without coloring added).

Pork Loin Ham Recipe

As I write this I’m thinking about how tasty our homemade ham was. I might have eaten all of the leftovers myself. Though now I wish some had made it to the freezer so I could enjoy it again.

I guess that means I just need to make another!

Are you thinking about making a Christmas ham?

Save time and money by making it yourself this year! Just put it in the crockpot in the morning and spend your time focusing on delicious side dishes and desserts.

No crockpot? Or you’ve already filled it with something else? You can make ham in the oven too.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Homemade Ham
Turn a pork roast into a delicious ham with a few simple ingredients and a crockpot.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pork roast (cut and size of choice)
  2. 2 - 4 tsp. unrefined sea salt (adjust based on size of roast)
  3. 2 Tbsp. - 1/2 cup any combination of sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, organic brown cane sugar, molasses; adjust to taste)
Instructions
  1. Using a sharp knife cut slits in the pork roast all over.
  2. Place the pork in the crockpot.
  3. Add salt and flip the roast to make sure there is salt on all sides.
  4. Add the sweetener (start with a smaller amount and add more later if you want it sweeter).
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours, then turn to LOW for 5+ hours.
  6. Flip the roast 2 or 3 times during cooking to make sure all sides get coated with flavoring. You can also baste the roast with the juice in the crockpot, trying to get it into the slits in the meat.
  7. An hour before serving cut the roast into large chunks and coat with the juice in the crockpot.
Notes
  1. You can use a single sweetener like honey or cane sugar. Using a combination of liquid and dry sweeteners gives a good balance of flavor and creates a good "sauce."
  2. To make ham in the oven follow the same directions, baking the pork in a covered dish at 375*F for 2 hours, then turning the heat down to 325*F for 2 hours.
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This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

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

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

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

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

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

Food dyes are connected to behavior – and not in a good way! Eliminating them has made a big difference in how my children feel and behave. It is literally like a drug for my oldest. Sometimes it makes her insane. Sometimes it makes her super mellow. Either way, it’s impacting her brain and is not good.

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

Instead of artificially-flavored fruit snacks you buy organic gummies or even make your own homemade fruit snacks! Instead of Trix yogurt with food dyes you get organic yogurt. Instead of traditional candy you buy organic suckers made with fruit. Sounds great!

Why Eliminating Food Dyes is Not Enough

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

Being the investigator that I am, I read labels, I observed her, I kept a food journal. She had already been gluten-free for a long time. And no other food seemed to be causing the problems.

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

What is Natural Flavor?

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

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

How is Natural Flavor Defined?

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

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

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

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

Is Natural Flavor Harmful?

According to dailyburn.com:

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

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

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

NaturalNews.com states:

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

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

Foodbabe.com says:

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

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

Do Manufacturers Lie About Ingredients?

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

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

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

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

These are the responses I got:

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

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

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

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

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

One website directly stated:

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

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

Does Anyone Know Where Natural Flavor Comes From?

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

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

Why Natural Flavor is Dangerous for Food Allergies

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

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

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

How to Avoid Natural Flavor

I’m not just a bearer of bad news. I want you to have hope! Don’t feel discouraged! You can still live a natural lifestyle. And it does NOT have to be complicated or involve convenience foods with suspicious ingredients.

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

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

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

Do you avoid natural flavor?

If you are looking for a simple way to keep your family healthy and thinking clearly, avoid natural flavor. This mystery ingredient has no place in real food.

Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

Two-Ingredient DIY Magnesium Lotion

Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

My four-year old has been struggling with leg pain for over two years now. She wakes in the night just crying and crying because her legs hurt so badly.

At first we assumed it was growing pains. But as time went on we started to wonder if there was more going on. The pain was so intense. And recently it became more and more frequent, hurting in the day instead of just at night, on a daily basis.

Of course “mom brain” starts to think of the worst scenarios. I expressed my concerns to her pediatrician. I was worried her bones were weak due to malnutrition as a baby (you can read more about her story here).

So we did an x-ray of her leg. All clear! (phew!) Her bones look normal. Maybe it is “growing pains” after all (though technically nobody really knows what growing pains are…so I still started searching for root cause).Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

Natural Remedy for Growing Pains

With my mama mind at ease I started looking into natural ways to combat leg pain. One of the best remedies for leg pain is topical magnesium.

Perfect! I already had a bottle of magnesium oil made. I’ve been using it myself for about six months to help boost my own magnesium levels.

There is just one problem. Magnesium oil is not fun to use. It’s kind of sticky. It makes your skin itch and sting.

I knew I’d never get my daughter to use that every day. She tried it once and ended up washing it off because she couldn’t handle the itching.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

Simple DIY Magnesium Lotion

I started searching for magnesium lotion I could buy. There are some good ones out there (I love this one from The Magnesium Lotion Shop!).

If you are on the Vitamin A Detox Diet there are a lot of oils/lotions that aren’t allowed. And anything you put on your skin is instantly absorbed. So I had to be picky.

In the end I decided to make my own.

My conclusion?

This is SO easy to make. It is SO much nicer to use than magnesium oil. WHY did I not do this six months ago and spare myself the torture of using magnesium oil every day?

Side note: I just made a fresh batch of magnesium oil yesterday (you need it to make magnesium lotion). So I sprayed a little on this morning to try it. Now I’m sitting here trying to write while my stomach itches like crazy. Only lotion from now on.

Benefits of Magnesium

Who could benefit from magnesium lotion?

Everyone.

For real. Just about everyone is deficient in magnesium. And that one deficiency messes up the balance of all of the other minerals.  Imbalanced minerals can cause a host of health problems (I’ll be sharing more on that in the future as I get my NTP and HTMA training).

Magnesium may help with:

  • energy creation
  • protein formation
  • muscle movement
  • nervous system regulation
  • brain function and mood
  • blood sugar control
  • blood pressure
  • headaches
  • joint and muscle pain
  • PMS
  • digestion
  • neutralizing stomach acid
  • strong bones
  • over 600 reactions in the body! [source] [source]

These are just a few of the ways magnesium helps your body. Magnesium is pretty important!!

Take note that there are a few people that don’t tolerate magnesium supplementation, either orally or topically. So use caution when trying magnesium lotion. Here are some reasons magnesium might make you feel worse.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

How to Make Magnesium Lotion

For such a prevalent problem, you’d think the solution would be complex. Thankfully that is not the case!

Homemade magnesium lotion is so easy to make. You’ll need two basic ingredients:

  • magnesium
  • refined coconut oil

You have to start by making magnesium oil. This simply requires you to mix magnesium chloride with hot water. The longest part of the process is heating a half cup of water.

Once the magnesium oil is cool you can whip it with the coconut oil. Instant lotion!

Yes, it really is that easy.

I also like to add some essential oils to make it smell nice. But that is optional. My favorite is Young Living’s Stress Away. I like the vanilla scent. Lavender would also be good for kids. Just be careful which oils you use if you are on the VAD Diet as essential oils are very potent and easily absorbed.

Some people use bees wax to help prevent separation. I’m a fan of simple. So I don’t bother with that. The magnesium oil and coconut oil may separate a little after the lotion sits for a month or more. Simply re-whip it to combine if that is an issue.

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Two-Ingredient DIY Magnesium Lotion

A simple DIY magnesium lotion made with only two ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup magnesium chloride
  • 1 cup organic refined coconut oil
  • 5-10 drop essential oil optional

Instructions

  1. Place the magnesium chloride in a small glass bowl.

  2. Pour hot water on the magnesium and stir to dissolve.

  3. Allow to cool, and store in a glass jar or spray bottle.

  4. In a large bowl beat together the coconut oil, 1/4 cup of the magnesium oil, and essential oils on medium high until well combined, about 2 minutes.

  5. Store in a glass jar at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes

The magnesium oil and coconut oil may separate after a while (after a month or so). You can simply re-whip it.

Want to see how it’s done? Check out my Facebook Live where I make a fresh batch of our “Magic Lotion.”Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

What Kind of Magnesium Works Best?

There are three options when it comes to topical magnesium.

  1. Buy a pre-made oil (like this one).
  2. Magnesium chloride flakes (like these).
  3. Pharmaceutical grade magnesium chloride (like this).

All three will work, but the preferred option is the third one. It does not contain high levels of bromine like the flakes. It costs a few dollars more, but is still very affordable. One pound of the magnesium chloride will last at least a year – probably several years! Even if the whole family is using the lotion.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

Why Use Refined Oil?

You may be wondering why I used refined coconut oil instead of unrefined.

Remember that your body absorbs anything you put on your skin (makeup, lotion, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). So if you are on a particular diet you need to pay attention to what goes on your skin. If you are not able to eat it, don’t wear it.

Unrefined coconut oil is not allowed on the Vitamin A Detox Diet. It contains multiple fatty acids that contribute to Vitamin A Toxicity. You can read more about it HERE and HERE. Refining the oil removes the problematic fatty acids. Not to mention it removes the smell. So you won’t walk around smelling like a coconut all day.

How to Use Magnesium Lotion

We now know how easy it is to make magnesium lotion. Guess what? It’s even easier to use!

Simply apply as much or as little magnesium lotion as you like, wherever you like, as often as you like. You really can’t get too much. If you notice it causing loose bowels you can cut back. But generally topical magnesium does not have that effect since it is not ingested.

We prefer to apply it to our legs and/or abdomen. My oldest prefers to put it on her belly (I do too). My middle two prefer their legs. But it works no matter where you apply it.

I like to use magnesium lotion two or three times a day to make sure I’m keeping my levels steady. Your body uses it constantly throughout the day, and it gets depleted easily.

My kids always use it right before bed. It helps them settle down and sleep more soundly.Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

How Magnesium Lotion Helped My Four-Year Old

Back to my daughter’s growing pain dilemma.

Armed with a full jar of DIY magnesium lotion I started applying it to my four-year old’s legs every night before bed. The first two nights I didn’t notice a change.

But after the third night we had an unexpected surprise!

First, her leg pain was gone. And she has not complained of it once since.

In addition she has been dry overnight ever since!! Up to that point she was wearing a pull-up to bed every night. Sometimes it was soaked in the morning.

But she has now been dry every night and is in underwear to bed.

The magnesium lotion was so effective at getting her minerals in balance that she stopped having to urinate so frequently!

If you have a child that struggles with bed wetting, growing pains, overactive bladder, or constipation give magnesium lotion a try.

My kids have actually named it Magic Lotion. It really has felt like magic with such a drastic change overnight. And you better believe we never skip a night now!Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.

Magnesium Lotion for Everyone

Considering the prevalence of magnesium deficiency, I think almost everyone would benefit from using magnesium lotion. It is safe for everyone, including infants and the elderly.

In fact, I just might make some for gifts this year. I wonder if it could help my dad who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I also need to convince my husband to try it. He struggles with restless legs – which is an obvious sign of magnesium deficiency.

Know anyone with osteoporosis? Magnesium lotion could help. There is such a strong relationship between magnesium and calcium.

If nothing else it can simply be used to help you relax. I think we all could use help in that department in our fast-paced, stressful world.

Do you use magnesium oil or lotion? What health benefits have you noticed? If not, are you ready to give it a try?Growing pains, restless legs, trouble sleeping, muscle stiffness? Kiss your aches and pains goodbye with this super simple two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion.