WBGW: Eat for pleasure!

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This week I decided to talk rather than write about a weird belief of mine. It’s my first video and I am pretty much a huge dork in it so don’t judge me!!! I was so nervous…I had a glass of wine to calm my nerves. Also, when people tell me I have a Californian accent I know what they mean now. Albeit, I hope you guys take me seriously because I’m seriously serious.

I drink wine moderately, yes. I am not an alcoholic so don’t ya’ll get on your high horses telling me alcohol shouldn’t be used like that. It’s biblical.

Anyway, my topic for this wednesday (or thursday, rather) is that I don’t believe in diets. I don’t believe in veganism, the raw food diet, the paleo diet (although this one is better than most), atkins, zone, the cookie diet, weight watchers, jenny craig, none of this crap. I believe in eating what you want when you want it. AS LONG AS IT”S REAL AND WAS MADE IN YOUR KITCHEN. And if it wasn’t made in your kitchen make sure all of the ingredients could have been.

I believe in meat, fat, and carbs, OH MY!

I am reading “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano and although I am Italian, I sometimes sort of think I was born to be French. I love the language, the art, the food, the architecture, the shopping, the cities, the country, the wine, and of course, Carla Bruni. French women LOVE food. You know that “joie de vivre” people always talk about? It comes from pleasure and not deprivation. Noone who starves themself in hopes of happiness has any joie de vivre. I love that Mireille says “Learning to eat right is like learning a language–nothing works like immersion.” So here’s why I think you should be like a french woman…

Ok, here’s the video:

And here’s a great song by Carla Bruni:

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WBGW: Yogurt Mask

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Here’s me kissing my yogurt container with yogurt all over my face.

You know the rule of thumb that says “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!” Well, I think this really lives up to that standard.

I have been finding it hard to ferment my own dairy products lately. Between blogging, working, wife-ing, cleaning, cooking, life-ing, schooling (just one class with hubby–we’re learning Finnish!) I find that I can’t always fit it in. But don’t worry your little heart because Strauss family creamery makes amazing yogurt. If you are going to use store bought I recommend using Strauss only. Other yogurts have weird additives that I would not recommend for your complexion–namely sugar, thickening agents, and preservatives. Also, make sure you use whole milk yogurt. The fat is where it’s at! Strauss cultures the milk AFTER pasteurization to ensure the highest amount of beneficial bacteria possible. It is cultured for over ten hours. Oh yeah!

I’ve struggled with skin issues for a long time now. Oddly enough they didn’t start until I was about 20. Maybe I am a late bloomer, but my hormones seem to be going wild still, four years later. I’m hoping to transition out of puberty soon…ha! Skin issues suck, but I feel that some of the simple lifestyle changes I’ve made are the source of vast improvements. Cultured yogurt face masks–AKA the po’ woman’s face mask–really tickle my fancy because it covers all the bases. It’s cheap, easy, hydrating, balancing, cleansing, and will leave your skin glowing. Yogurt masks are known to even out skin tones, heal blemishes, balance pH, and hydrate. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, perfect for beating blemishes.
How to do it:
1. Put about 2 tablespoons in a small bowl
2. Apply the yogurt with your finger all over your face–use a little more in your problem areas.
3. Let sit on skin for about ten or fifteen minutes. The yogurt will become transluscent.
4. Wash off with warm water.
5. Moisturize (with coconut oil!)

While I am a huge advocate of diet being the most important factor for skin health I still feel like a girl needs to exfoliate once in a while.
Yogurt it is!

This post is linked to Gnowfglins’ Simple Life Thursdays and Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday
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WBGW: Chicken Feet

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RAWR! This photo is linked to traditional-foods.com Friday Food Flicks! Photo by hubby, Jeremiah Scott

Now, this is a weird one!

Gut and Psychology Syndrome, commonly known as GAPS, is a healing regimen and diet plan that focuses on high quality animal fats and is designed to heal your gut. As Hippocrates wisely stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” 1550 years later, this proclamation has become more relevant than ever. GAPS can heal a multitude of illnesses such as autism, depression, anxiety, learning disorders, schizophrenia, IBS, digestive disorders, leaky gut, food intolerances, and even hormone imbalances. You name it, GAPS can help it. GAPS was developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride who healed her own son of learning disabilities with a GAPS protocol.

So why chicken feet? Besides the obvious thrill of behaving like a witch, I add chicken feet to my stock for their gelatinous properties. The feet really up the gelatin content in your broth. Using a whole chicken (cut up so as to expose the insides and marrow) and adding a couple feet will get you the most gelatinous broth.

The most essential part of GAPS (aside from probiotic foods) is the frequent consumption of bone broth. Chicken broth is the most healing as it contains the highest gelatin profile. Gelatin is very important for gut lining health. A compromised gut lining can be inflamed and punctured. The gelatin in the broth is ideal for sealing the lining. Not only is gelatinous chicken broth good for sealing the gut, but it can also prevent and reverse wrinkles and cellulite. Seriously. Bone broth contains collagen and when you ingest it your skin is nourished so as not to lose it’s bounce and resilience. Chicken stock contains cartillage-building proteins. It will fill in cottage cheese lumpiness and keep your face springy and young! Making a pot of stock is much easier than botox or collagen injections, ladies. I don’t care what the vegans tell you, sexy women drink bone broth.

Stock has abundant amino acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silicon, sulphur, and trace minerals that are readily and easily absorbed by your body. Back in the day, homemade chicken stock was referred to as Jewish Penicillin for it’s noted healing properties. When you have an upset stomach, drink it. When you have a cold, drink it. In fact, you should always drink it.  And when making it, don’t forget the feet!

For a great instructional post on making a nutritous chicken stock visit CHEESESLAVE: How To Make Homemade Chicken Stock

❤ Olivia

WBGW: Ladies Only.

A Day on the Countryside
“Oh yes, Ethel, I love my cloth pads.”

Ok, now that I have lured all the men in with that title, I will warn all of you that there is nothing titillating about what follows. It’s about something you’d rather not hear. So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Each month (a hint for you guys to stop reading NOW!), when the dreadful crimson tide comes rolling through, I find that I dread the idea of using feminine hygiene products. They are the bane of my existence. I hate them. I hate changing them. I hate buying them. I hate what’s in them. (Unless of course they are organic cotton, in which case I hate how expensive they are.)

Tampons are made from cotton. Cotton farmers use one quarter of the world’s supply of pesticides, and five out of nine of the most commonly used pesticides are recognized to be carcinogenic.  You wouldn’t squirt bug spray up there, would you? So why use a toxic tampon?

If you are still using conventional tampons I encourage you to stop. The pesticides, toxic dyes, chlorine, dioxin, rayon, and perfumes in them are so readily absorbed by your insides it’s not even funny. Vaginal mucous is exceptionally absorbent.

The first step up from conventional pads/tampons is organic cotton pads/tampons. But I dare you to take it a step further and venture into the world of cloth pads. Yes, you heard me. Re-usable cloth pads. They are pretty and comfortable. And you only have to buy them once. What’s not to love? Also, if you are having bad cramps during your period it is better to use pads. Tampons can increase crampage by limiting flow.

The company Glad Rags (founded in Portland!) began their cloth pad business in 1993 in order to decrease the amount of energy used, pesticides sprayed, and waste made by disposable pads/tampons. Not only are cloth pads healthier for your body, but they are also more sustainable (the average woman will use 15,000 tampons in her lifetime).

I recently started using cloth pads and they work better than any disposable pad I have ever used–even the big diaper-like nighttime ones.

You can order Glad Rags online at www.gladrags.com or from Amazon.

There are still times and places for tampons of course, so keep a handy dandy supply of organic tampons around so you don’t have to use a nasty poisonous one during an emergency. You can find organic tampons at your local co-op or health food store and at Whole Foods. You can also buy them online. I like Emerita brand. 🙂

This post is linked to Butter Believer’s Sunday School Blog Carnival and Gnowfglins Simple Lives Thursday 🙂
Stash Pics

WBGW: Cod Liver Oil…Fermented!

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We have all been hearing a ton about the vast health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. But I’m not just talking about any old cod liver or fish oil. I’m talking about FERMENTED cod liver oil. Uncapsulated, liquid, fermentey-goodness. The stuff Roman warriors downed before battle. Fermenting cod liver oil increases the nutritional content immensely.
Paris: Pont d'Iéna - Roman Warrior
According to Ann Marie at Cheeseslave,

cod liver oil was traditionally processed via fermentation, and not processed with heat. She said that the fishermen would throw the livers into a barrel, add a little sea water, and then leave it to ferment.”

Natural fermentation, lacto-fermentation, and raw are all the recent rage when it comes to food–for good reason. Why not treat your cod liver oil with the same respect? Most fish oil found on the shelf at the store is highly processed at high temperatures. We all know that heating things (pasteurization) kills beneficial nutrients and bacteria, and denatures enzymes.

Fermenting cod liver oil takes about 6 months to a year. So you can see why suppliers decided to ditch that route. Unless you are up to the task of fermenting it yourself, there is only one fermented cod liver oil on the market and it is made by Green Pastures.

In my readings from Nourishing Traditions I learned that one teaspoon of regular cod liver oil contains 5,000 IU Vitamin D but with only a half teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil you also get 5,000 IU. That is 2x the amount of Vitamin D!

According to Nourishing Traditions,

“Vitamin D is needed for calcium and phosphorous absorption…The body manufactures vitamin D3 out of cholesterol in the presence of sunlight. Although some claim that we can obtain all the Vitamin D we need by spending a short amount of time each day in the sun, Price found that healthy primitive diets were rich in Vitamin D–containing foods like butterfat, eggs, liver, organ meats, marine oils and seafood, particularly shrimp and crab.”

Interestingly enough, Weston A. Price found that the diet of primitive people contained Vitamin D amounts ten times higher than the standard American diet.

Enough about Vitamin D. Fermented Cod Liver Oil also contains twice the amount of Vitamin A. From Weston A. Price’s studies, it has been discovered that without Vitamin A from an animal source your body cannot utilize protein, mineral, or water-soluble vitamins. That should shock you! This means that carrots will NOT do the trick for you. You need to be getting a very high amount of animal fat in your diet to utilize all of the vitamins from vegetables. Sorry Vegans, you’re SOL!

Besides the Vitamin A and D factor, fermented cod liver oil is a very effective anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent, reduces the risk of heart disease and learning disorders, effectively treats eczema and acne, and is a “superfood” for brain function.

Green Pastures sells fermented cod liver oil in a myriad of different flavors to mask the unpleasant taste and smell. Actually, the word unpleasant is an understatement. NASTY is more like it. Don’t let this deter you from downing this superfood. I can proudly say that I’ve progressed from putting it into capsules myself to successfully shooting it down by the spoonful usually with a raw milk chaser.

For more interesting articles regarding Fermented Cod Liver Oil check out:

Holistic Kid: Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Cheeseslave: Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

Also, check out Twenty-Two Reasons Not To Go Vegetarian

Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

WBGW: Shoes are overrated.

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Vampire feet…yup, they’re mine!

This is my very unscientific post about Earthing. Bare Feet + Earth = Healthy You.

In this day and age it seems as though we don’t get enough time outdoors. We are a culture of couch occupying, internet surfing, tv watching, cement walking, treadmill running, car driving humans. This is not to say that I never enjoy a good tv show or indulge in a little R&R on my couch. But I have come to realize how very important it is to also be “down to earth.”

I was horrified when I went through my weekly routine and discovered that I had probably not had my feet directly on the dirt, grass, or sand in months. Horrified! In my defense, it rains here…A LOT. And it is very cold. I can’t quite see the appeal in walking barefoot on my cold, wet grass. I have also thought that it’s possible that during my beach bum years I stored up enough feet-groundation to last me a lifetime. I don’t think that’s quite how it works though.

So I’ve started to make an effort to put my bare feeties on the cold ground a little bit. During the summer, I plan to do it much more. My first adventure going barefoot in the Pacific Northwest went like this: walked around for a bit, got the shovel, dug some dirt, distributed my kitchen scraps to the ground, walked around a little more and went back inside where I promptly covered the kitchen floor in twigs and leaves. I guess my feet were so cold I hadn’t realized they were there (the twigs/leaves, not my feet). Oh, Pacific Northwest, how I love you so…

You are probably wondering why the heck am I so concerned about putting my bare feet on the darned ground.

There is emerging evidence that our generation is dirt-deficient since rarely do we partake in the growing process of any food. I wrote about some of the benefits of dirt in my previous post, 5 Reasons to Have an Edible Garden. I mentioned that dirt has excellent beneficial bacteria, many of which work wonders for gut health and some that are even shown to reduce depression. I also mentioned that dirt is great immunological exercise.  There are a few other magical reasons to put your feet on the ground, though. I have been reading of the benefits of earthing, and for the most part I support it. I do not, however, recommend buying an earthing mat or something that will allow you to be grounded while still indoors. It all seems a bit fadish to me, and I have it on good authority it can actually do more harm than good. Besides, why try to replicate indoors what we have in abundance outdoors? I say, get outside!

Being connected to the earth has been shown to be of great aid in the healing of many chronic illnesses. In fact, some believe that illnesses in our modern time are due in large part to our being disconnected from the earth. The book Earthing: the most important health discovery ever? illuminates many of the healing properties of the earth. According to one cited reviewer:

“Earthing introduces the planet’s powerful, amazing, and overlooked natural healing energy and how people anywhere can readily connect to it. This eye-opening book describes how the physical disconnect with the Earth creates abnormal physiology and contributes to inflammation, pain, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. By reconnecting to the Earth, symptoms are rapidly relieved and even eliminated and recovery from surgery, injury, and athletic overexertion is accelerated.”

I was first introduced to earthing by Ann Marie of Cheeseslave, one of my favorite bloggers who wrote this post about earthing: Can walking Barefoot Lower Cortisol and Balance Hormones?

So go outside and get some dirt between your toes!

Weird But Good Wednesday: Just Say No to Showers.

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It has been my goal for about the last month to take as few showers as possible.
Don’t worry, I do cleanse my bod, just not in the shower. I take hot baths on a regular basis.( I leave the no bathing up to my husband! ;))
It has been quite a journey, this no showering business. I have to think ahead a little more and plan my time accordingly. Why, you ask, do I put so much effort into avoiding the shower?
I avoid showers for a few reasons. I have a de-chlorinating device for my bath water, but not for my shower head. Chlorine is extremely harmful to the body and is absorbed epidermally in large amounts during regular showers and baths. It is also in our tap water. You would think ingesting the stuff would contribute to the bulk of our chlorine over-dosage but that is not the case. The average person has a body chlorine content that is 64 percent due to skin absorption. This means showering, hand washing, and bathing, etc., are harming us more than helping us. Chlorine is an excellent disinfectant. If it were a healthy thing to routinely exterminate ALL of the critters (i.e., bacteria) in our guts, then chlorine would work nicely. But as scientists have known for decades, many of the bugs that grow inside us are not only beneficial, but also necessary for the proper functioning of our digestion. In addition, chlorine chemically bonds with proteins in the hair, skin, and scalp making hair rough and brittle. Skin is also targeted and can dry out with itchy, flaky scalp occurring. And if that weren’t enough it’s also linked to respiratory damage and cancer. In short, chlorine is poison to our bodies.

The second reason is so that I do not strip my skin and hair from natural oils. This goes along with the drying effects of chlorine. By constantly scrubbing and scraping you can induce a dry, flaky, malnourished skin. Since saying no to showers, I have noticed improvement in the texture of my hair. It is usually a massive poodle-like fro if I let nature take it’s course and air dry it but it seems to have been slightly tamed by baths.

Baths are relaxing! It is so nice to climb into a hot tub and de-compress. You can add essential oils for the ever-lovely touch of aromatherapy. I like to add a few drops of tea tree oil…so fresh and so clean. My other favorites for the bath include eucalyptus, juniper, lemon, and lavender.

Had a rough day? Pour in some epsom salts to relieve pain from soreness, inflammation, and bruising. I must warn you though…maybe it’s just me but epsom salt baths have an appetite increasing effect like NO OTHER! I always emerge from such baths feeling like I haven’t eaten in days. (Magnesium has this effect on people I hear)

Create your own oasis…bring your book. Bring your wine or tea. Bring some Enya, Jack Johnson, whatever you fancy …reflect on all that you are grateful for. Be calm 🙂
a quiet night alone\

Weird but Good Wednesday!

Coconut oil

What’s something you can use for face cream, body moisturizer, leave-in conditioner, sauteeing, baking, smoothies, and tea?
COCONUT OIL OF COURSE!
This is the first of many posts I will be doing every Wednesday outlining the weird but good things I do in the name of health. Don’t worry, I won’t run out of things to post…my life is a weird but good post in itself. If you look up weird but good in the dictionary you would see a picture of moi.
Anyway, I am dedicating this very first Weird but Good Wednesday to Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oil is a miracle food in my eyes. Actually coconuts in general are miracles to me because they are so versatile (flour, water, juice, cream, oil) but that’s a different post for a different day. Let’s just focus on the oil for now.

I have a jar in my bathroom and a jar in my kitchen.

I have stopped using any commercial of conventional face creams and body lotions. All I use is a half teaspoon or less of coconut oil on my face everyday and viola! the best face lotion EVER. It smells tropical, can help control dandruff, has strong natural anti-bacterial properties to help with acne, is fully of essential fatty acids for tissue building (ahem! anti-aging!), and it’s small molecular structure makes it readily absorbed for prolonged moisturizing.

According to Bruce Fife, author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle”,

“Pure coconut oil is the best natural skin lotion available. It prevents free-radical formation and the damage it causes. It can help prevent the skin from developing liver spots and other blemishes caused by aging and overexposure to sunlight. It helps to keep connective tissues strongand supple so that the skin doesn’t sag and wrinkle. In some cases it can even restore damaged or diseased skin. I’ve seen precancerous lesions completely disappear with the daily use of coconut oil.”

Bruce also says that coconut oil is regarding highly by beauticians for being the best conditioner even surpassing expensive salon quality products. Distribute evenly a spoonful of melted coconut oil through your hair before you go to bed and wash it out in the morning. Your hair will be soft and have a delightful shimmer.

In a toxic world, the simpler the products we absorb epidermally, the better! Not only is coconut oil pure, simple, and natural, but it is quite affordable seeing as such a small amount goes a long way.

Then once you’ve done your morning routine, you can mosey into the kitchen for some scrambled eggs in coconut oil. The benefits of this? The Thermogenic Effect.  From the book “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”,

“Coconut oil has a “thermogenic effect,” which means that is raises your body temperature, thus boosting your energy and metabolic rate. A study in Japan, reported in Journal of Nutritional Science Vitaminology, 2002, found that consuming medium chain fatty acids caused greater thermogenesis than did eating long chain fatty acids, regardless of what kind of MCFA-containing food was eaten.” (Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid)

Plus, coconut oil is a slow burning energy so it keeps you feeling satiated longer. Melt some in your morning tea for an extra energy and nutrition boost.