Mommypotamus http://www.mommypotamus.com Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:34:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 5 Maca Energy Bar Recipeshttp://www.mommypotamus.com/maca-energy-bar-recipe/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/maca-energy-bar-recipe/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:53:43 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29192 5 Maca Energy Bar Recipes



I See You There . . . Clutching that coffee mug for dear life. The expression on your face tells me that: A) Your little one decided to wake you up at 3am to inform you that she’d changed her favorite color from green to purple B) Your other little one decided to give you [&hellip

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5 Maca Energy Bar Recipes

I See You There . . .

Clutching that coffee mug for dear life. The expression on your face tells me that:

A) Your little one decided to wake you up at 3am to inform you that she’d changed her favorite color from green to purple

B) Your other little one decided to give you a makeover when you fell asleep sitting up – hello chunky bangs!

C) You just found out what happened to the remote and now you wish there was a way to tether it to the coffee table

D) All of the above

As a mama of three, I get it. Sometimes just getting through the day feels like trying to complete an Ironman Triathlon while singing the alphabet backwards . . . underwater. I’m no stranger to a cup o’ joe or tea when needed, but personally I’ve found that too much turns me into a gremlin.

Even worse, it’s tough on my adrenals, which I’m trying to take better care of. That’s why in addition to making sure I get plenty of sleep – which I’ll be talking more about soon – I try to focus on energy boosting alternatives to caffeine during the day. “Alternatives?” you say. “There are ALTERNATIVES?”

Yes, yes there are. Meet my friend maca, superfood of the Andes mountains.

What Is Maca?

Sometimes called Peruvian Ginseng, maca is a radish-like root that grows at 11,000+ feet in the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia. Legend has it that Incan warriors used to consume maca before battle to increase endurance, and research suggests there may be wisdom to this tradition.

Maca is an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body adapt to stress and increases stamina. Unlike caffeine, which which is a stimulant, adaptogens have “a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” (1) Essentially, what this means is that when things get out of whack, maca helps nourish the body and nudge it back toward balance.

How does it do this? Though maca doesn’t contain any hormones, it is rich in several amino acids that serve as building blocks for key hormones. It is also high in minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, certain vitamins such as B1, B2 and C, and it also contains iodine and several essential fatty acids. (A quick note on iodine: Though it is vital for thyroid health, many experts say that it should always be consumed with selenium. Brazil nuts, fish such as tuna/salmon/sardines, shellfish such as shrimp/scallops/oysters, crimini mushrooms, lamb, chicken and beef are all considered  good sources of selenium. I think some of these sources – such as beef and lamb – might have a wide variation of selenium content based on the diet of the livestock.)

It is thought that by nourishing our endocrine system, maca may help boost energy levels, elevate mood, support neurotransmitter production, and increase fertility/libido. (2)

Is Maca Safe For Breastfeeding Women & Children?

According to Web MD, in Peru “maca has been a staple in the diet of men, women, children, infants, pregnant and lactating women, elderly, and the infirm. Only two crops grow in the higher elevations in Peru: potatoes and maca.”

Yep, that’s right. Just like my favorite multi-vitamin, liver, maca is a FOOD. In Peru, it is given to children because it is believed to support cognitive performance and build strong bones. (3) It is also traditionally consumed to support fertility.

Chris Kilham, who teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts and serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Dr. Oz show, says that the average person living in the Andes eats about a half pound per day. (4) Drugs.com notes “no safety concerns despite widespread use.” (5)

However, some suppliers of maca  – especially those in the U.S. – say not to consume while pregnant/breastfeeding, while companies that sell in other countries recommend it for pregnancy and breastfeeding. (6) Why is that? It’s hard to say for sure, but some people believe that because of a lack of double blind studies, companies are exercising caution.

So is it safe for pregnancy, breastfeeding and use with children or not? Unfortunately, there is not a definitive answer. I suggest that you discuss any supplements/superfoods you take or plan to take with a healthcare provider.

What Kind Of Maca Is Best?

Most maca powders on the market today are raw, which I personally avoid. Just like with other members of the cruciferous family, raw maca contains certain compounds (glucosinolates) that may suppress thyroid function. Cooking reduces and/or deactivates glucosinolates, which is why Peruvians have traditionally consumed it roasted, boiled, dried and ground into a flour for baking, or made into tea.

Gelatinized maca is cooked, which is why I use it exclusively. It comes in different colors (cream, red and black), which have different properties. In general, red is favored by women, black is favored by men, and cream is used by everyone.

Where Can I Find Maca?

Gelatinized maca is not widely available, but you can find all three varieties at The Maca Team’s shop. This small, family-run company has taken great care to source potent, fair-trade maca from a small organic farming co-operative in Junin, Peru. I also love that they pay attention to important details that can dramatically affect potency, like how the roots are grown, processed, and stored.

I’d like to thank The Maca Team for sponsoring this post, and for making it possible to experiment with the following energy bar recipes. My personal favorite is the Lemon-Lime while Daddypotamus can’t get enough of the Apple Cinnamon.

Now, let’s take a look at those recipes!

The Maca Energy Bar (5 Ways)

Coconut Cream

Apple Cinnamon

Gingerbread

Lemon Lime

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Directions

Each recipe makes about 4 bars. The amount of maca in each bar is approximately 3/4 – 1.5 teaspoons, depending on if you use one tablespoon or two in the recipe.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture is finely chopped. When you think it might be ready, remove the lid and pick up a piece to roll in the palm of your hands. If it sticks together it’s ready to form into bars. If it’s crumbly, it either needs to blend a little more or it needs a little moisture. If it is very dry, turn the food processor on and pour a teaspoon of water through the opening in the top. Continue adding water as needed until the mixture sticks together. I’ve found that somewhere between 1 teaspoon and 2 tablespoons is usually enough.

When the mixture is ready, press it onto wax or parchment paper and form into bars. Wrap each bar individually and store in the freezer until needed.

This post has been sponsored by The Maca Team. Thank you for supporting the companies that I believe in, as it helps me to continue developing recipes and researching topics to share with you.

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How to Make a Terrariumhttp://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-terrarium/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-terrarium/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:41:11 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=26470 How to Make a Terrarium



Ah, Homeschooling . . . The only job where you can sit at the kitchen table, nurse the baby, and supervise breakfast while getting credit for teaching home economics. Sure, there are downsides, like when your four year-old corrects your latin and the baby tries to eat the lesson plan, but you’ve got a good thing [&hellip

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How to Make a Terrarium

Ah, Homeschooling . . .

The only job where you can sit at the kitchen table, nurse the baby, and supervise breakfast while getting credit for teaching home economics. Sure, there are downsides, like when your four year-old corrects your latin and the baby tries to eat the lesson plan, but you’ve got a good thing going and you know it.

For example, how else can you justify a creative whim as a class project? You get a beautiful, fresh arrangement to inspire you as the fall/winter landscape fades to brown, and the kids learn about botany, geology, and ecology.

Spoiler alert: If you homeschool and want to give this a try, I’ve included seven ways you can make this project educational for your little ones. You’re welcome

5 Things Children Can Learn from Building a Terrarium

  • The life cycle of plants – More on that here.
  • Geology- Discuss desert landscapes and the different layers of the earth. (You can find some lesson plan ideas that might tie in here. Also, although this discussion on soil layers is not specifically geared toward deserts, it’s a good place to start.
  • Botany – Identify one of your succulent plants: where it grows, how it’s adapted to low-water environments, whether or not it has any medicinal or culinary properties, etc.
  • Interaction systems – “In the real world eco-systems can grow to become tremendously complex systems of interactions where many types of plants, animals and insects contribute in their own ways. While you probably can’t build a complex eco-system in a small terrarium you can display and discuss the importance of how your plants interact together to create a whole unit.The best example of this is the sharing of, and competing for the resources of water, sunlight, and nutrients. This is particularly noticeable if you use different types of plants. Some plants will send out extensive root systems in an attempt to monopolize nutrients in the soil while other plants will shoot tall and have large leaf systems that can potentially block sunlight from reaching lower plants. Some plants will grow extremely fast in a race to get all the resources before other plants have a chance to take root. These factors are only a small part of the interaction that happens in even the smallest of eco-systems but they are a good way to begin the thought process for how plant and animal systems interact in complex ways,” writes Will, aka The Terrarium Man.
  • Environmental Responsibility – “Your children will also learn about caring for the earth and for living things. Stress to them that the terrarium is like the earth in miniature and that if they care for it properly, it will thrive. If they ignore it, pollute it, or introduce harmful substances, the terrarium will no longer be healthy. The plants will die and any animals they have placed in it will die as well. They will learn valuable lessons about responsibility in general, and about responsibility for the only earth we have.” (source)
  • Ecology – Ask what your kids think would happen if you poured toxic chemicals into the bowl. Talk about how our environment is being polluted, then discuss mycoremediation, which uses mushrooms to heal toxic environments. Yes, I really said that. Mushrooms have the ability to clean soil affected by oil spills, industrial waste and pesticides at the molecular level. (source)

What Kind Of Terrarium Is Best?

There are two basic types of terrarium containers: open and closed. Open terrariums are best for succulents, cacti and many houseplants. Closed terrariums are better for moss, ferns, and other plants that love humidity.

Though closed terrariums are amazing for a class on ecosystems – you can discuss photosynthesis, respiration, and the water cycle, oh my! – they’re also exceptionally vulnerable to mold/rot problems. We decided to go with the easy, open terrarium. Plus, moss can sometimes be difficult to come by, while just about any hardware store with a nursery will have succulents in stock.

When choosing your container, keep in mind that succulents do best in dry conditions with good air flow. Wide, open containers are ideal.  Small openings trap more heat and moisture, so terrariums made with those types of containers should be kept further away from windows that receive intense afternoon heat.

Unfortunately I didn’t come across that info until Katie and I had already fallen in love with the balloon lanterns you see in the photos. So yeah, maybe make a more strategic choice than we did, even though I have seen at least one company that sells a succulent terrarium similar to ours. I’ll let you know how ours are doing in a few months.

How to Make a Terrarium

Equipment Needed

  • Glass container with an opening
  • Pebbles
  • Pantyhose or sphagnum moss (optional)
  • Succulent-friendly potting soil (details in step 4)
  • Succulent plants

Step 1: Wash And Dry Your Container

This helps good bacteria present in the soil get well established.

Step 2: Add A Layer Of Pebbles

About one inch is good, but if you want to layer for added effect go for it. The potami and I added a layer of small stones with pebbles on top.

Step 3: Add Pantyhose or Sphagnum Moss

Though this step is not absolutely necessary, we chose to lay a few swaths of pantyhose on top of the pebbles. The pantyhose will prevent our potting soil from settling into the rock layer over time. Sphagnum moss will also work, but we didn’t have any on hand.

(P.S.  I don’t wear pantyhose. I keep it on hand for making wool dryer balls, pinky swear.)

Step 4: Add Soil

Succulents don’t do well in overly-moist soil, so look for a non-compact potting mix that drains quickly. You can buy organic cactus and succulent-friendly potting mix here, or you can mix up your own with these instructions.

Add a minimum of two inches of soil to your terrarium, or more as needed. For example, if your succulents have 4 inch roots, add 4-5 inches.

Step 5: Add Your Succulents

The plants should not be touching each other or the glass. My helpers probably added a few more than we needed, but that means I get to teach them about pruning now so it works out.

How To Care For Your Succulent Terrarium

Make sure it gets 4-5 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.

Water every 2-3 weeks. Each plant should get about 1-2 teaspoons of water, delivered with a medicine dropper or this technique. I know, you want to do more because you are nurturing like that. Unless they begin to look withered, it’s probably best not to.

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Natural Remedies For Growing Painshttp://www.mommypotamus.com/natural-remedies-growing-pains/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/natural-remedies-growing-pains/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:54:32 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29724 Natural Remedies For Growing Pains



Are achy legs waking your child up at night? If the problem disappears like a bad dream in the morning, it could be growing pains. About 25-40% of children will suffer from growing pains at one point or another, usually between the ages of three and twelve. (source) And obviously parents suffer, too, because, um, sleep deprivation! So what [&hellip

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Natural Remedies For Growing Pains

Are achy legs waking your child up at night?

If the problem disappears like a bad dream in the morning, it could be growing pains. About 25-40% of children will suffer from growing pains at one point or another, usually between the ages of three and twelve. (source) And obviously parents suffer, too, because, um, sleep deprivation!

So what are growing pains, exactly? According to Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani, growing pains are leg cramps/aches that occur “most often in the late afternoon or at night, and often wake the child from sleep.” (source) Unlike other leg problems, they are not connected with any swelling, redness, tenderness, fever, limping, rash, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue,” and ironically they are not typically associated with periods of rapid bone growth. (source)

What Causes Growing Pains?

Though several studies have been conducted, no one has actually been able to pinpoint the cause of growing pains. My guess is that there probably isn’t a single cause any more than there is one cause behind sore throats. In the case of sore throats, it could be too much cheering at at football game, or a viral/bacterial infection,  irritated mucous membranes due to dry air, or something else.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the possible causes of growing pains along with natural remedies that studies have found helpful. Spoiler alert: If your grandma recommended cod liver oil and bone broth for everything, she was on to something!

Natural Remedies For Growing Pains

Vitamin D

In a recent study, researchers found that only 6% of children who suffered from growing pains had adequate levels of vitamin D. (source) A subsequent study examined this relationship by supplementing thirty-three children affected by growing pains with vitamin D for three months. In eight children the pain resolved completely, while others experienced a significant reduction in symptoms. (source)

One theory behind why vitamin D might help is that inadequate vitamin D leads to low bone density, which places ” abnormal pressure on sensory nerves of the bone.” (source)

I am not an expert on this, but I think growing pains are probably most often related to nutritional deficiencies. Though it is not quite the same, I used to experience severe restless leg syndrome due to nutritional deficiencies. Nighttime is often when the body chooses to “build,” so it makes sense that it’s scrounging around for building materials at night – if it doesn’t find what it needs easily it will sometimes “steal” from other areas. For me, this was what caused the discomfort.

How much vitamin D should children receive? Opinions vary, but I loosely follow the Vitamin D Council’s recommendations. You can find them here. The reason I don’t follow them strictly is that I prefer to obtain vitamin D through wise sun exposure (when possible) and whole food sources rather than isolated supplements. Fermented cod liver oil is probably the highest source of vitamin D in my family’s diet, followed by lard, which has up to 1,100 IU per tablespoon.

Bone Broth

In one 1944 study (yes, 1944!), supplementing bone meal along with vitamins A and D was able to produce a “complete remission of symptoms” in all 112 children participating in the study.  (source 1, source 2)

Both vitamins A and D improve the body’s ability to absorb the minerals needed to build healthy bones, so it makes sense that they be taken alongside mineral rich foods. Bone broth is similar to bone meal in that it contains highly bioavailable forms of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and other minerals, but in my opinion it’s much easier to work into our diet.

If my child were experiencing growing pains, I’d make up lots of bone broth and serve it in a steaming mug every morning for breakfast, plus make sure he/she eats high quality fats (coconut oil, butter, lard) and takes fermented cod liver oil (a good source of vitamin D and A0 to maximize absorption. If you’re new to bone broth, here’s a quick video tutorial for making it easily in a crock pot.

Warm Bath With Epsom/Ancient Minerals

This is really two remedies in one. Since some studies show that growing pains occur following intense physical activity, some researchers have suggested that muscle soreness is the cause. It seems strange to me that the muscle soreness would spontaneously resolve the next morning as is suggested, but since there does often seem to be a physical activity related component I think relaxing the muscles is a great idea. (source)

A warm, soothing epsom salt bath will both relax the muscles and improve magnesium status. Since most of us are magnesium deficient anyway, this remedy is a win-win in my book. (source 1source 2)

Chiropractic Care

Buckle up, because we’re going to take a hard left turn now and discuss a totally different possible cause of growing pains: vertebral subluxations. (In non-geek speak, the need for a chiropractic adjustment.)

In a 2010 study, “two toddlers (a 2¾-yr-old girl and 3½-yr-old boy) were taken to the chiropractor with growing pains of several months duration. Medical care had thus far recommended offering Tylenol. In the chiropractic examination, spinal dysfunction (or vertebral subluxations) were detected in the lumbosacral spine of both children and chiropractic adjustments were made to help improve nerve function and spinal motion. After their first chiropractic adjustment, both mothers stated that their child did not wake at night with growing pains, and after completing a trial of care, both children’s initial complaints fully resolved.

It is important to remember the relationship that exists between the spine, pelvis and legs. These areas of the body are like a chain; nerve, joint or muscle dysfunction in any part of this chain can affect the other parts, and the nerves that extend from the lumbosacral region of the spine transmit signals between the legs and the brain. Any interruption to these signals can impair proper functioning of the body. Both children in the study above were found to have dysfunction in this lumbosacral region.” (source)

Massage

Though it doesn’t necessarily address the root cause of growing pains, massage can be a wonderful comfort measure. I found it helpful for my restless leg syndrome, which is somewhat similar, after I gave up tranquilizers and began searching for a natural solution. (I did eventually find one that worked for me, which I wrote about here.)

Vitamin B6

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, growing pains may sometimes be a result of vitamin B6 deficiency. (source) Foods that are naturally high in B6 are tuna, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, spinach and banana.

Some of my favorite B6 rich foods are blackened salmon with pineapple salsa (pictured above), bacon-liver pate and superfood chili.

Other Dietary Changes

Some moms have reported that their children’s growing pains resolved when the removed problematic ingredients from their diet. For one child it was aspartame, for another it was gluten. Though I don’t know of any studies that are directly related to either of these substances, it makes sense to me that food sensitivities could play a role if they cause significant inflammation.

When To See A Doctor

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should consult “your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s leg pain or the pain is:

  • Persistent
  • Still present in the morning
  • Severe enough to interfere with your child’s normal activities
  • Located in the joints
  • Associated with an injury
  • Accompanied by other signs or symptoms, such as swelling, redness, tenderness, fever, limping, rash, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue” (source)

What natural remedies for growing pains have you tried? How did they work for you?

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Sugar Cookie Body Scrub Recipehttp://www.mommypotamus.com/sugar-cookie-scrub/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/sugar-cookie-scrub/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:57:28 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29984 Sugar Cookie Body Scrub Recipe



Is Dull, Dry Skin Rubbing You The Wrong Way? Then you’re going to love everything about this sugar cookie body scrub recipe: The ease of making it, the aroma of warm vanilla in a steamy shower, and of course the smooth, polished skin. Unlike pricey mass-produced goop, this scrub will nourish your body {and soul} with [&hellip

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Sugar Cookie Body Scrub Recipe

Is Dull, Dry Skin Rubbing You The Wrong Way?

Then you’re going to love everything about this sugar cookie body scrub recipe: The ease of making it, the aroma of warm vanilla in a steamy shower, and of course the smooth, polished skin.

Unlike pricey mass-produced goop, this scrub will nourish your body {and soul} with natural ingredients. It makes a great gift as well, so make a double batch and reward yourself for your thoughtfulness by taking some time in the bathroom ALONE (if you’re a mother you know what I mean!).

About The Ingredients

Sugar

Sugar contains naturally occurring glycolic acid, which dissolves old, dead skin and makes exfoliating that much easier. Though I prefer unrefined sucanat for baking, more refined types of sugar work better for exfoliation. Turbinado will work, but it is more coarse than refined cane sugar. For the best texture, I prefer a mix of the two. These are staples I keep in my pantry just for making decadent scrubs.

Sea Salt

Salt – especially unrefined salt with its 60+ trace minerals – is a powerful rejuvenator of tired, dry skin. Not only does it stimulate cell growth, assist with detoxification and improve circulation, it also helps skin absorb and retain moisture.

Olive Oil

Though there are other oils that can be used – jojoba, almond, and avocado for example – I typically use olive oil because I have it on hand. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which is thought to have anti-aging properties, and it’s long been used to nourish and protect skin.

Castile Soap

Though there is a certain charm to 100% oil-based scrubs, adding castile soap leaves skin feeling soft, moisturized and supple without an excessive “oily” feeling. Since I typically need to get dressed and go immediately, I prefer the lighter finish.

Molasses

This rich humectant locks moisture in while infusing skin with manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and other nutrients.

Sugar Cookie Body Scrub Recipe

This recipe was adapted from this one from Gina-Marie of So, Let’s Hang Out.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar*
  • 1/4 cup sea salt**
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unscented castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

* I know it’s crazy to find this on Mommypotamus. See the section on “Sugar” above for why I use it in this recipe. If you prefer you can use turbinado, but the scrub will be more coarse.

** If desired, you can substitute more cane sugar. However, keep in mind that because salt and sugar absorb moisture differently, you’ll need to add a few extra tablespoons to get the same texture.

Instructions

Add sugar and salt to a bowl and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, gently mix the castile soap, vanilla, and almond extract if you’re using it. Add the castile soap mixture and olive oil to the sugar/salt mixture and combine thoroughly.

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What’s More Important: Food Or Sleep?http://www.mommypotamus.com/whats-important-food-sleep/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/whats-important-food-sleep/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 16:46:22 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29675 What’s More Important: Food Or Sleep?



On your right is a piping hot breakfast . . . Full of your early morning favorites and a cup of coffee, and on your left there’s a snooze button with 120 minutes on the clock. You can have the breakfast or the sleep, but you can’t have both. What do you do? WAIT – [&hellip

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What’s More Important: Food Or Sleep?

On your right is a piping hot breakfast . . .

Full of your early morning favorites and a cup of coffee, and on your left there’s a snooze button with 120 minutes on the clock. You can have the breakfast or the sleep, but you can’t have both. What do you do?

WAIT – Before you decide, consider this: When researchers from Hospital University of Pennsylvania’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory deprived subjects of two hours of sleep for two weeks straight, they demonstrated impaired cognition that was equal to being drunk. (source) Even worse, the participants had no idea.

They admitted they were tired, but claimed to have adjusted to the lack of sleep. “Even 14 days into the study, they said sleepiness was not affecting them. In fact, their performance had tanked.” (source)

As a mom who co-sleeps with a baby starfish ninja I was not thrilled to read about this study. I mean, I’m a MOM. Sleep deprivation is part of the job description, at least temporarily. However, if I’m being honest my sleep debt has always been about more than the baby – it’s about my “to do” list. You know the list I’m talking about. Maybe it’s on paper, maybe it’s not, but either way you need an extra hour in your day to get it done . . . or do you?

The Productivity Myth

“We continue to live by a remarkably durable myth: sleeping one hour less will give us one more hour of productivity,” writes Tony Schwarz of the Harvard Business Review. “In reality, the research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity.”

Unfortunately this myth doesn’t just cost us our productivity. The side effects of try to squeeze in one more hour of productivity – and the resulting chronic sleep deprivation  – are more tangible than that. Poor sleep is associated with an increased rate of:

  • autoimmune disorders
  • heart disease
  • depression, mood disorders
  • weight gain
  • hormonal problems
  • impaired immune function

(source 1, source 2, source 3)

Also, according to Dr. Rapoport, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program, “A lack of sleep can result in ADHD-like symptoms in kids.”

“Kids don’t react the same way to sleep deprivation as adults do,” he told Health.com. “Whereas adults get sleepy, kids tend to get hyperactive.”

Want To Thrive? Sleep Is The Secret Ingredient

Studies show that sleep makes us smarter, more creative, stronger, happier, more productive, and it even keeps us looking younger. I wouldn’t say it’s more important than food, even though it’s possible to live longer without food than sleep. But it’s every bit as important as food when it comes to experiencing vibrant health. (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4, source 5, source 6, source 7)

We know that, and yet most of us are sleep deprived – why is that? I’ve done quite a bit of research on this as I work to heal my tired adrenals, and I’ve found that there are several reasons. I’m going to discuss all of them in the coming months, but the one I want to mention today is the type of mattress we sleep on.

You see, three months ago I got a new bed. Yes, me, the person that researched and wrote an entire post about how to buy a non-toxic mattress, then couldn’t find one that was both comfortable and made with non-toxic materials. (At least not one that was affordable.)

So anyway, I got this bed, but because I am a natural skeptic I insisted on keeping my old, expensive one while we tested it out. The company has a 60 day money-back guarantee, and they pay for return shipping, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

You guys, it has been a game changer, and that old bed is GONE for good. I’ve had the bed for a few months, but a few weeks ago I implemented some changes that helped me fall asleep easier. Now that I can do that, I’m going to bed earlier and logging some of the best sleep of my life – how is that even possible with a baby sleeping beside me?

Since so many of you have emailed and commented specifically about this subject recently (Is this the official season to shop for mattresses or something?), I called the company and asked the founder to give you guys a deal on one. He agreed, and we’ll be announcing more at a sleep webinar on Monday, October 6th at 1pm EST. Details below!

Free Mommypotamus Sleep Webinar

If you’ve thought about buying a non-toxic mattress and wondered if it is worth it and/or affordable, you’ll definitely want to register.

Topics Covered:

  • My personal story of sleeping on a toxic mattress
  • Tips I’ve found helpful for getting deeper, more restorative sleep
  • An interview with Intellibed’s founder about their non-toxic bed that supports proper alignment like a “hard” bed but cushions better than a comfy foam mattress.

The live webinar will be held on Monday, October 6th at 1pm EST.

The number of available spots is limited, so register early. Click here to save your spot.

Also, feel free to forward this to your friends if you think they’d be interested.

Sign Up Here → Free Better Sleep Webinar

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Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cupshttp://www.mommypotamus.com/bacon-egg-breakfast-cups/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/bacon-egg-breakfast-cups/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:43:50 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29862 Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups



“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh” . . . said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”  ― [&hellip

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Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh” . . .

said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”  ― A.A. Milne

I don’t know about you, but I can’t say breakfast is always exciting in my house. Sure, there are pancake Saturdays, strawberry streusel muffin Wednesdays, and sweet marrow custard Fridays, but there are also olive Thursdays. Yes, olive Thursdays, because the sun is up and I’m out of ideas.

Until now. Recently I came across these bacon, egg and toast cups and was inspired to whip up a grain-free version. I was a little hesitant because in other versions I’d seen it was difficult to tell if the bacon was fully cooked, but they turned out amazing and the bacon was most definitely cooked through. The best part? They’re ridiculously easy to make.

If you have opinionated eaters in your house, you’ll love that each cup is customizable – each person can add whatever filling they prefer. I love cherry tomatoes, cheese and spinach, while the potami prefer salami, mushroom and cheese. (You’ll find more filling ideas in the recipe below.)

Also, I love that they’re portable. Because although it may be a great sensory experience, grabbing a fistful of scrambled eggs on our way out the door is not this mama’s idea of a great start to the morning.

Thursday mornings have been saved, and very possibly a few “breakfast for dinner” weeknights as well. I hope your family loves them as much as ours.

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups

Ingredients

  • one 80z package of organic bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • coconut oil (for greasing the muffin pan)
  • Your choice of filling (see options below)

Filling ideas: Mushrooms, diced onion, diced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, jalapenos, garlic, spinach, herbs, cheese, crab meat, lobster, salsa

Equipment

Muffin pan (preferably stainless steel)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grease 6 muffin tins, then using a strip of bacon line the walls of a muffin cup. Then cut one piece of bacon into thirds and use what you need to line the bottom as well. I usually put one full-width slice on the bottom, plus one I’ve cut in half . . .

Continue the process until you run out of bacon. You should have 4 to 6 cups total.

4. Whisk eggs together in a medium bowl and distribute evenly between cups.

5. Add in filling ingredients. You want the cups to be about 80% full. In this batch I added cheese, cherry tomatoes, spinach, garlic, mushrooms and fresh thyme. Place pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

6. After you’ve removed the bacon egg cups from the oven, use a butter knife to gently separate the bacon shell from the muffin tin. Lift the bacon egg cups out, season with salt and pepper, garnish with herbs if desired, and serve.

Note: When I’ve made these the bacon is always fully cooked by 25-30 minutes. However, because it was baked rather than pan seared it is lighter in color than we’re used to. If you prefer the pan-seared look, you can heat a skillet on high and roll the outside of the bacon cups in the skillet.

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe (VIDEO)http://www.mommypotamus.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:05:34 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29713 Elderberry Syrup Recipe (VIDEO)



Hippocrates Is Said To Have Called It . . . His “medicine chest,” and for thousands of years it’s been revered in folk medicine for its healing properties. (source) Now studies are starting to confirm what tradition has long held: elderberries are a delicious and effective way to support immune function during cold and flu [&hellip

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe (VIDEO)

Hippocrates Is Said To Have Called It . . .

His “medicine chest,” and for thousands of years it’s been revered in folk medicine for its healing properties. (source) Now studies are starting to confirm what tradition has long held: elderberries are a delicious and effective way to support immune function during cold and flu season.

Unlike fire cider, which boosts immune performance through an infusion of pungent and spicy herbs, this elderberry syrup recipe uses a sweet and simple decoction of berries and honey. If I had to choose, I’d go with the fire cider, but as you’ll notice in the video below, my littles ones attack this stuff like ravenous wolves. Fortunately, we don’t have to choose – both are in our fridge right now!

Elderberry Syrup Benefits

Immune Support

Elderberries also contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has anti-oxidant and immune boosting properties. (source) They’re also a good source of vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamin B6, and iron. (source)

Reduce Cold & Flu Symptoms

In this study, researchers found that flu patients who received elderberry syrup recovered about four days sooner than those who received a placebo.

In another study that had similar results, it was concluded that there were two reasons for the more rapid recovery. First, patients taking elderberry had higher anti-haemagglutination titers, meaning their immune performed better. Second, they found that elderberry inhibits neuraminidase, an enzyme that the virus uses to infect cells. (source)

Nasal/Sinus Congestion Relief

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties.”

How Much Should I Take?

Though they are valued for therapeutic purposes, elderberries are a food. They’re used to make pie, jelly and wine, so there isn’t a specific “dosage” for them any more than there is one for dark cherries.

However, here are some guidelines that have been traditionally followed: To support immune function throughout cold and flu season children are usually given ½ – 1 teaspoon per day, while adults usually take about 1½ teaspoons – 1 tablespoon. During illness, the frequency of administration increases to every 2-3 hours until the symptoms resolve.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Makes about 2½ cups

Note: Because this recipe contains honey, it should not be used in children under one.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried or 1 cup fresh elderberries (find them here)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Instructions

1. Add water, elderberries and ginger/cinnamon (if you’re using them) to a pot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. This should take around 45 minutes.

3. Strain to remove berries. Allow liquid to cool to room temperature, then stir in honey.

4. Transfer elderberry syrup to a jar and store in the fridge.

Shelf life: In my house, a batch lasts an entire winter season.

Don’t Want To Make Your Own?

You can find pre-made elderberry syrup online here.

Middle photo credit: Mark Robinson

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How To Make Chocolate Extracthttp://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-chocolate-extract/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-chocolate-extract/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:08:50 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29390 How To Make Chocolate Extract



I hope you’re sitting down . . . Because whoa, this is huge. You know the way it feels when you bite into a warm fudgy brownie, or sip from a mug filled with marshmallows and hot cocoa? Well, it can be better. Yes, BETTER. Awhile ago I read on David Lebovitz’s blog that cacao beans [&hellip

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How To Make Chocolate Extract

I hope you’re sitting down . . .

Because whoa, this is huge. You know the way it feels when you bite into a warm fudgy brownie, or sip from a mug filled with marshmallows and hot cocoa? Well, it can be better. Yes, BETTER.

Awhile ago I read on David Lebovitz’s blog that cacao beans lose the “top notes” of their flavor when they are processed into chocolate. To get those precious top notes back, explains Lebovits, you just add pure chocolate extract made from raw cacao nibs into your sweet treats.

I don’t make desserts all that often, but obviously I had to give this a try. I searched around and found that I can buy it, but because I am a total DIYer I had to find out how to make chocolate extract myself. Folks, this stuff is so easy to make and so delicious it almost feels wrong. Almost. We’re talking the very essence of chocolate – its soul even – all bottled up like a genie ready to grant wishes for chocolate coated bliss. So, you’re probably thinking . . .

Sounds good, but what can I actually do with chocolate extract?

Great question. You can use it to replace vanilla in baked goods – or better yet use them both! I love adding it to flourless brownies, silky chocolate creme pie, homemade “magic shell,” pudding, mousse, cookies, and homemade hot chocolate.

Have I mentioned pancakes, banana bread, and homemade “Nutella”? There are so many possibilities, and we haven’t even talked about blending it with coffee or mint extract yet. Have fun and experiment – it’s pretty hard to go wrong with chocolate anything.

A Note On Ingredients

The main spirits used to make homemade extract – vodka and bourbon – are now often made from GMO-plants and/or enzymes derived from genetically modified organisms. (source) In my post on how to make vanilla extract I discuss how to find options that are likely to be GMO-free. You can find the post here.

How To Make Chocolate Extract

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crushed raw cacao nibs (you can buy cacao beans and shell them yourself like I did, or save yourself a whole lot of effort and buy organic pre-shelled cacao nibs here )
  • 8 oz vodka, bourbon or rum

Directions

  1. Gently crush cacao nibs to help them release their flavor. This step is optional, but I find it speeds up the ripening process of the extract. I just press mine a smidge with a mallet.
  2. Pour vodka/bourbon/rum over the nibs. Seal jar tightly and give the jar a good shake.
  3. Store in a dark cabinet for at least three months, shaking occasionally.
  4. When the extract has reached the depth of flavor you prefer – a process that can take up to six months depending on your preference – strain out the cacao beans.
  5. In a freezer-safe container, place extract in the freezer overnight. Remove extract the next morning and scrape off any fat that has risen to the top.
  6. Store in either a dark container/dark cabinet.

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Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue? Find Out With This Simple Testhttp://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-test-for-adrenal-fatigue-at-home/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-test-for-adrenal-fatigue-at-home/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:03:24 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29542 Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue? Find Out With This Simple Test



Years ago, when I recovered from . . . A debilitating illness, I resolved never to be a spectator in my own life again. I will ride the bull, say yes to the CNN interview even though I’m running on a few hours of sleep, and draw silly faces on all the eggs in my fridge. And [&hellip

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Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue? Find Out With This Simple Test

Years ago, when I recovered from . . .

A debilitating illness, I resolved never to be a spectator in my own life again. I will ride the bull, say yes to the CNN interview even though I’m running on a few hours of sleep, and draw silly faces on all the eggs in my fridge.

And I still feel that way, except maybe I will do it tomorrow . . . after a long siesta. . . or later, like when the cows come home. Because frankly, my “Need To Do” list (aka go to the grocery store) and my “Want To Do” list (aka take a NAP) have not been getting along lately. Yes, I love life and want to do ALL THE THINGS, but maybe I shouldn’t try to do them all at once, you know?

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m dragging in the afternoon and have less patience with the potami. Though in the past I would have beat myself up for my “bad attitude” or tried to give myself a pep talk to snap out of it, this time I’m taking a different approach. I’m acknowledging that my adrenals are tired, and I’m taking steps to give them the rest they need.

What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, support us through stressful events. They secrete hormones that make us resilient in times of difficulty, like a sleepless night, illness, surgery, stress at work, stress at home, loss of a loved one, meltdowns at the store with toddlers, financial pressure, etc. The challenges – whether they’re short-term, long-term, severe or relatively mild – can have a cumulative negative affect on adrenal function.

Some types of stress are hard to spot, but that makes them no less problematic. In his book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, Dr. James Wilson mentions a study which measured the stress hormones of a group of nurses. They weren’t aware of any particular stress in their lives, but their lab tests told a different story.

When our adrenals help us through stressful times, they need a recovery phase afterwards. Just like weight lifters need to take a break between workouts so their muscles can rebuild, the adrenals need rest to stay strong.

And now we all see the problem, right? Modern life is incredibly stressful, and most of us don’t get a lot of downtime. Over a course of years, this can weaken our adrenals, making us less able to adapt to stressful events, less productive and more easily irritated.

Are you nodding your head because this sounds familiar?

Then read on – I have good news! Daddypotamus and I recently took the kids on a much needed trip to the shore, and in between snapping photos like this one of sweet baby Levi . . .

This one of Micah . . .

this one of my boys . . . .

and even jumping in a few myself . . .

. . . I managed to read up on adrenal fatigue and create a plan for my recovery. I was expecting to feel overwhelmed, but just the opposite happened. I discovered several simple things I can do to care for tired adrenals, which I’ll be sharing with you soon. But first, I’ll bet you’re wondering if your low energy levels could really be related to adrenal fatigue.

Though there are lab tests that can confirm adrenal fatigue in a roundabout way, there is no test for it like there is for Strep B.  Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome, meaning that it is a collection of symptoms and physiological signs that form a diagnosis.

What Are The Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue?

Though they can vary from person-to-person, you might have adrenal fatigue if you can say “yes” to some of these statements listed in Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome:

  • My ability to handle stress or pressure has decreased.
  • I seem to have decreased in cognitive ability. I don’t think as clearly as I used to.
  • I tend to avoid emotional situations.
  • I am chronically fatigued; a tiredness that is not usually relieved by sleep.
  • I have decreased tolerance. People irritate me more.
  • My thinking is confused when hurried or under pressure.
  • I am frequently cold.

You can take Dr. Wilson’s full adrenal fatigue quiz here.

Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue? Take The Test!

If any of the statements from the adrenal fatigue checklist sound familiar, you’ll want to take the iris contraction test. Basically, it measures your body’s stamina in response to light stimulation. If your stamina is decreased, this test plus your overall symptoms may indicate that your adrenals are tired and are having difficulty supporting you through stressful events.

Feeling stressed about the possibility of a positive result? According to Dr. Wilson, in most cases you are your own best caretaker when it comes to healing. Some of the nutritional advice is dated, but overall I thought it was a very helpful book. I’ll be sharing more insights from it (and others) as I go, but if you’d like to you can pick it up here.

Please keep in mind that – as I wrote in my post on the Vitamin K shot – “Best Boo-Boo Kisser South Of Puckett’s Gas Station” is about as official as things get for me professionally.  I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I’m just passing along some information from someone who is a medical professional that I found helpful.

Now, here’s what you’ll need to take the test, which according to Dr. Wilson will detect moderate and severe adrenal fatigue, but not necessarily mild cases.

  • Weak (not too bright) flashlight or pen light
  • Chair
  • Stopwatch or watch with a second hand (I use a stopwatch app on my phone)
  • Mirror
  • Dark room

Directions:

In a dark room, sit or stand in front of a mirror for about a minute to allow your eyes to adjust to the light. “Then shine a flashlight across one eye (not directly into it) from the side of your head. [Mommypotamus note: Some practitioners say to keep the light about six inches away] Keep the light shining steadily across one eye and watch in the mirror with the other. You should see your pupil (the dark circle in the center of the eye) contract immediately as the light hits your eye. This occurs because the iris, a tiny circular muscle composed of small muscle fibers, contracts and dilates the pupil in response to light. Just like any muscle, after it has been exercised beyond normal capacity, it likes to have a rest.

The pupil normally remains contracted in the increased light. But if you have some form of hypoadrenia [Mommypotamus note: This is the clinical term for adrenal fatigue], the pupil will not be able to hold its contraction and will dilate [open back up] despite the light shining on it. This dilation will take place within 2 minutes and will last for about 30-45 seconds before it recovers and contracts again. Time how long the dilation lasts with the second hand on the watch and record it along with the date. After you do this once, let the eye rest. If you have any difficulty doing this on yourself, do it with a friend. Have a friend shine the light across your eye while both of you watch the pupil size.

Retest monthly. If your eye indicates you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, this also serves as an indicator of recovery. As you recover from adrenal fatigue, the iris will hold its contraction and the pupil will remain small for longer.” (Source: Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome)

A quick note

I thought this info shared by Susie, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, in the comments below was helpful so I’ve updated the post to include it:

“Couple of things to keep in mind for people taking this test:

To address some above comments, in having tested quite a few people this year in NTP school, I find most people’s pupils pulse (release, contract, release, contract, rather quickly), rather than completely releasing for a prolonged period of time. What you’re looking for is a sustained, non-pulsing contraction for 30 seconds. The longer the sustained contraction, the better. Pulsing is better than fully releasing, and some people don’t contract at all, which would be a big indicator.

Secondly, this is an EARLY indicator of adrenal fatigue. Pupillary contraction is not nearly as high on the priority list for your adrenals as, say, blood sugar control or blood pressure maintenance. So not doing well on his test doesn’t mean you’re in dire straights and need major intervention. Having reactive hypoglycemia or scoring poorly on a postural hypotension test (blood pressure dropping when you stand up, getting dizzy/tunnel vision when you stand) are better indicators of real hypoadrenia.”

Okay, I May Have Adrenal Fatigue. What Now?

As Dr. Wilson mentions in his book, adrenal fatigue is diagnosed by assessing symptoms and physiological signs such as iris contraction, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. If the questionnaire I linked to and this test both suggest the possibility of adrenal fatigue, it might be wise to check out the information in his book regarding lab tests that can be performed by a healthcare provider. He covers why, just like with thyroid tests, many tests that come back “normal” really aren’t, and how to make sure you’re getting accurate information.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing tips for helping the adrenals function optimally. Stay tuned!

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How to Make Lacto-Fermented Raspberry Sodahttp://www.mommypotamus.com/make-lacto-fermented-raspberry-soda/ http://www.mommypotamus.com/make-lacto-fermented-raspberry-soda/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:13:25 +0000 http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29506 How to Make Lacto-Fermented Raspberry Soda



Note From Mommypotamus: Today the Potami clan is celebrating Micah’s birthday at the BEACH. While we’re building sandcastles and chasing seagulls, Craig from Fearless Eating is sharing a recipe that is a favorite with kids of all ages – homemade raspberry soda. Thank you for stopping by today, Craig!  I’ve Been On A Soda-Making Roll Lately Considering I’m a Nutritional [&hellip

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How to Make Lacto-Fermented Raspberry Soda

Note From Mommypotamus: Today the Potami clan is celebrating Micah’s birthday at the BEACH. While we’re building sandcastles and chasing seagulls, Craig from Fearless Eating is sharing a recipe that is a favorite with kids of all ages – homemade raspberry soda. Thank you for stopping by today, Craig! 

I’ve Been On A Soda-Making Roll Lately

Considering I’m a Nutritional Therapist who is very anti-sugar, this may sound somewhat surprising. After all, everybody knows soda is bad for them, full of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings and preservatives, right?

Well, not this raspberry soda recipe.

And that’s because I’m using real raspberries and the art of lacto-fermentation. Traditionally, lacto-fermented sodas were made from the roots and leaves plants. For example, root beer was made from the roots of the sassafras plant and ginger ale was made from ginger (a root), of course.   

But you could also use fruit as well. In fact, it’s quite a bit easier. And yes, you can substitute almost any fruit in place of the raspberries. This summer I’ve made lacto-fermented blueberry soda, watermelon soda, blackberry soda and now this raspberry soda, all from local, organic fruit. Next week I’ll be trying my hand at grape soda and I’ll be using the concord grapes that grow wild here in New England.

The Health Benefits of Fermented Raspberry Soda

Now as far as lacto-fermentation goes, unlike commercial sodas, lacto-fermented sodas contain enzymes, probiotics and get this… actual nutrients. Furthermore, lacto-fermented sodas contain considerably less sugar as the bacteria feed on and convert them during fermentation. So the longer you let them ferment, the less sugar they’ll contain. You’ll also notice this if you let them sit in your fridge for a while. But real lacto-fermented sodas are so delicious and refreshing that I’d bet they won’t last very long at all, especially if you have kids.

Kids will also love making them. In fact, I think this is a great way to get kids interested in fermentation.  Look at it as a little science experiment in your kitchen. Even if it’s your first time doing it, convey a sense of enthusiasm and mystery to the process. Their natural sense of wonder and curiosity will be fun to observe as the soda starts to bubble and fizz.

And that’s another cool thing about making soda at home. Because unlike commercial sodas that have carbonation added to them, the carbonation in lacto-fermented sodas is simply a natural byproduct of the fermentation process.

Enjoy, But Open Carefully

Finally, one last note. Once you transfer the soda to the soda bottles, both the carbonation and pressure inside the bottles will rapidly increase, so much so that you have to be careful when you open them for the first time!

I learned the hard way and ruined a good shirt as the soda shot up and fizzed all over the place. So please be sure to open the bottles every day to let out the gasses that build up. Once you’ve opened them a few times the pressure will decrease as will the rate of fermentation when you transfer them to the fridge.

Lacto-fermented Raspberry Soda

Makes about 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 4 cups organic raspberries
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar, dehydrated cane juice or sucanat
  • ½ cup whey (there are other options – see note below)
  • 2 quarts filtered water

Directions

1. Simmer raspberries and sugar in water for about 20 -30 minutes

2. Cool to room temperature and strain out raspberries

3. Transfer what’s now essentially sugary raspberry juice to a 2 quart glass ball jar or demijohn.

4. Add whey and let it ferment for at least 3 days. Look for visible signs of fermentation via a slight fizziness. You can let it go longer for a less sweet soda as the bacteria will continue to feed on the sugars and convert them. Taste the soda as you go to get the sweetness you desire.

Note: You don’t have to use whey. Other options for starter cultures include a ginger bug, champagne yeast or water kefir.

5. Transfer soda to soda bottles via a funnel or glass measuring cup.

6. Keep the soda bottles at room temperature and check every day. The carbonation will dramatically increase. Make sure to open the soda bottles every day to let the gasses escape. After a few days you can transfer the bottles to the fridge where the fermentation will slow down.

7. Enjoy!

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