Mommypotamus 2015-03-06T18:09:41Z http://www.mommypotamus.com/feed/atom/WordPress Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Coconut Lime Chicken Curry Soup]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33781 2015-03-06T17:08:57Z 2015-03-06T16:56:44Z   “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine I’d love to be a bohemian world-traveler, but realistically my adventures are limited by my budget, the availability of goat babysitters, and the number of hours I am willing to try to entertain the potami in [&hellip

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 coconut-lime-chicken-curry-soup-recipe

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

– St. Augustine

I’d love to be a bohemian world-traveler, but realistically my adventures are limited by my budget, the availability of goat babysitters, and the number of hours I am willing to try to entertain the potami in an enclosed space, whether it be a car or plane.

And that’s okay. Someday I hope to check a few more exotic places off my bucket list, but for now raising my little family is it’s own adventure. For now, I’m content to let my tastebuds to the traveling for me with mediterranean falafel, cajun creole, risottoSpanish rice, and other dishes from around the world.

This simple Thai-inspired soup melds tangy lime and sweet coconut with warming ginger and fresh cilantro. It’s one of my favorite ways to use leftover roasted chicken and homemade bone broth, and it’s easy enough to make on a busy weeknight.

coconut-lime-chicken-curry-soup

Coconut Lime Chicken Curry Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

Add chicken broth, coconut milk, coconut cream, salt, curry powder, ginger, minced jalapeno and peas to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in chicken, lime juice and lime zest, then ladle into bowls. Top with cilantro and onion, then serve.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Natural Remedies For Tummy Aches]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33726 2015-03-06T03:42:43Z 2015-03-05T15:21:01Z “Mommy, my tummy hurts” Have you ever heard those words, asked where it hurts and watched your child point to their WHOLE tummy, plus maybe an elbow and an earlobe for good measure? Yeah, me too. With such vague information, it can be incredibly challenging to figure out how to help them feel better, and when call a doctor [&hellip

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home-remedies-stomach-aches

“Mommy, my tummy hurts”

Have you ever heard those words, asked where it hurts and watched your child point to their WHOLE tummy, plus maybe an elbow and an earlobe for good measure?

Yeah, me too. With such vague information, it can be incredibly challenging to figure out how to help them feel better, and when call a doctor if needed.

After awhile, I put together a checklist that has made the process easier for me, and today I’m going to share it with you. Please keep in mind that “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, this is not medical advice, none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA, and they are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. As I say in my full disclaimer, I’m just a mom sharing what’s worked for my family.

Ready to dive in? Good! Before we go over the checklist, I thought you might be wondering . . .

Why not use the pink stuff?

I’m talking about the sweet, ooey-gooey liquid most of us took as children, of course. I loved the flavor of that stuff, which is why I was surprised and saddened to learn that its active ingredient is bismuth, a heavy metal.

And we’re not just talking about a little bismuth. According to this Popular Science article:

“Most modern medicines are carefully synthesized organic molecules so potent that each pill contains only a few milligrams of the active ingredient. Pepto-Bismol is a fascinating exception, both because its active ingredient is bismuth, a heavy metal commonly used in shotgun pellets, and because there is a lot of it in each dose. So much, in fact, that I was able to extract a slug of bismuth metal from a pile of pink pills.” (emphasis mine)

Ironically, bismuth is known to cause some of the very symptoms it is used to treat – constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting – plus others such as seizures, depression, muscle weakness, uncontrollable flapping movements of the hands, and ringing of the ears. (source1, source 2)

While these effects are generally associated with excessive dosages, I personally wonder if there could be negative effects of ingesting heavy metals even in small amounts. Even more worrying to me is the thought that children who are drawn to the candy-like flavor of this medicine may consume more than is advised when a parent is distracted.

For those reasons, plus the fact that it’s loaded with artificial dyes and other ingredients I want to avoid, I use time honored (and research supported) home remedies when the potami have a tummy ache. Now let’s get to that checklist!

My 6-Question Stomach Ache Checklist

These questions were inspired by this wonderful article from Scholastic – I’ve matched them up with some home remedies I’ve found helpful along with a couple of additional questions.

Question #1: Does it hurt to go potty?

If so, it may be constipation. When this is the case, children sometimes complain that it hurts to go to the bathroom, or experience “Crampy pain that occurs an hour or two after a meal.” (source 1, source 2)

Remedies That May Help: Magnesium, Probiotics, Massage, Acupressure

Question #2: Do you have diarrhea?

According to the Scholastic article, “Having the runs occasionally is common in kids. But when kids pass loose stools three or more times a day, it’s most often brought on by gastroenteritis, a viral infection of the stomach and intestines (a.k.a. a stomach bug). Certain meds (like antibiotics), food poisoning, bacterial infections, and parasites from contaminated food or water also bring on the runs. ‘Diarrhea is very common,’ says Dr. Rosen. ‘If it happens a lot, it could mean food allergies or a gastrointestinal condition like celiac disease.'”

Remedies That May Help: Probiotics, Acupressure, Bentonite Clay or Activated Charcoal

Question #3: Are you tooting a lot?

This may indicate gas or bloating.

Remedies That May Help: Probiotics, Massage, Herbal Tea

Question #4: Are you feeling upset or scared?

“Vague belly pain is something a lot of kids between the ages of 2 and 8 say they have when they need attention or they’re feeling stressed, says Dr. Kligler. ‘That’s the place where they experience worry.'” (source)

Remedies That May Help: Magnesium, Massage, Acupressure, Herbal Tea

Question #5: Do you feel like you might throw up?

If the answer is yes, there are several herbal teas that have been traditionally used for nausea.

Remedies That May Help: Herbal tea.

Question #6: Do you feel any burning? Where?

When I ask this, I’m checking to see if indigestion/heartburn might be an issue. I keep following with clarifying questions until I’m sure it’s not simply a sore throat. If I think it’s indigestion, I might try a digestive tonic.

Remedies That May Help: Digestive tonic such as apple cider vinegar.

home-remedies-stomach-aches-kids

Home Remedies For Stomach Aches

Magnesium

May Be Helpful For: Constipation, Emotional Upset

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, low magnesium levels can slow down the bowels and cause constipation. Because it is not absorbed well via the digestive tract but is absorbed well through skin, many care providers suggest improving magnesium levels with epsom salt baths or magnesium oil.

Magnesium is also often referred to as the “Relaxation Mineral” and the “Ultimate Chill Pill” because of it’s ability to promote relaxation and help the body adapt to stress, which may be helpful if a stomach ache is due to emotional upset. (source 1source 2)

Probiotics

May Be Helpful For: Constipation, Diarrhea, Gas/Bloating

According to Harvard Health Publications, researchers at King’s College in London reviewed 14 well constructed studies and found that probiotics reduced “‘gut transit time’ by 12.4 hours, increased the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped soften stools, making them easier to pass.”

Several studies have also found probiotics to be helpful for infectious diarrhea / antibiotic associated diarrhea, and some studies related to IBS have concluded it is helpful for reducing gas and bloating. (source 1, source 2)

Massage

May Be Helpful For: Constipation, Emotional Upset, Gas

Kids + Love + Acupuncture has a wonderful tutorial that demonstrates the benefits of Tuina massage for helping the bowels move – plus tips on how to do it – here.

Also, here is a more general tutorial on how to massage constipated babies and children, and here is a tutorial on moving gas bubbles through the gut.  Of course, massage is also helpful for soothing and calming children. I love to massage my little one’s hands or backs while we talk. (They giggle too much when I rub their feet, unfortunately.)

Acupressure

May Be Helpful For: Constipation, Diarrhea, Emotional Upset

A book I’m reading right now – 12 Acupressure Points For Pediatric Sleep & Wellness – has protocols for both constipation and diarrhea that may be useful.

Though acupressure and acupuncture are not often embraced by western medicine, the World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as an effective modality for a variety of conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, knee pain, periarthritis of the shoulder, facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders), headache, dental pain, tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, induction of labor, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, postoperative pain, stroke, essential hypertension, primary hypotension, renal colic, leucopenia, adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy, allergic rhinitis, including hay fever, biliary colic, depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke), acute bacillary dysentery, primary dysmenorrhea, acute epigastralgia, peptic ulcer and acute and chronic gastritis. (source, emphasis mine)

Acupressure also has a long history of use as a calming technique.

Bentonite Clay And Activated Charcoal

May be helpful for: Diarrhea

If eating clay sound crazy to you, consider this: Until it was reformulated in 2003, one of the main active ingredients in the super popular OTC medication – Kaopectate – was kaolin clay. They’ve since replaced it with subsalicylate bismuth, possibly to compete more directly with the pink goo that’s so popular. (source)

But they weren’t the first to use clay in this way. A phenomenon called geophagy (eating dirt or clay) has long been practiced in many cultures around the world. In a meta-analysis published in The Quarterly Review of Biology, researchers concluded that the most likely reason for this practice is that it “protects the stomach against toxins, parasites, and pathogens.” (source)

“This clay can either bind to harmful things, like microbes, pathogens and viruses, that we are eating or can make a barrier, like a mud mask for our gut,” study researcher Sera Young of Cornell University told Live Science. (source)

In a similar way, activated charcoal is used in emergency rooms to treat certain kinds of poisonings due to it’s ability to absorb toxins. (source)

According to the Natural Medicine Journal, “Research suggests that activated charcoal may benefit people who have diarrhea. However, it is not considered standard care for nonspecific diarrhea. Studies report that activated charcoal may be effective in preventing diarrhea in people undergoing chemotherapy. Experts warn against using activated charcoal with other agents used to treat diarrhea.”

Please keep in mind that we are not talking about the charcoal you grill with, but rather a form that has processed with oxygen and either calcium chloride or zinc chloride. You can find it in health food stores or online.

Herbal Tea

May Be Helpful For: Nausea, Emotional Upset, Gas

Chamomile – According to this analysis, “Chamomile is especially helpful in dispelling gas, soothing the stomach, and relaxing the muscles that move food through the intestines.” The researchers also noted that it may have a calming, sedative effect as well.

Ginger – According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Children over 2 make take ginger to treat nausea, stomach cramping, and headaches. Ask your doctor to help you find the right dose.”

Peppermint – The University of Maryland Medical Center also states that “Peppermint (Mentha piperita), a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea, is also used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion. Because it has a calming and numbing effect, it has been used to treat headaches, skin irritations, anxiety associated with depression, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence.” The article also cautions that peppermint should not be given to babies or small children.

Fennel Seeds – These seeds have been traditionally used for “various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants.” (source)

Caraway Seed – According to WebMD, “Caraway is used for digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas, loss of appetite, and mild spasms of the stomach and intestines. “

Apple Cider Vinegar

May Be Helpful For: Indigestion

In The 30 Day Heartburn Solution, Craig Fear, NTP, suggests that many cases of heartburn are due to low stomach acid rather than excessive amounts. Apple cider vinegar, which raises acid levels in the stomach, has long been used as a folk remedy for indigestion. Find out more about how it is used as a digestive aid here.

Warm Compress/Hot Water Bottle

May Be Helpful For: All Types Of Tummy Ache

Warmth sometimes has a soothing, relaxing effect, so it might be worth trying.

When Should I See A Doctor?

Of course, there are times when it’s important to seek help. Here are some guidelines I found helpful:

“Some conditions, like ulcers, rarely strike kids before puberty, while others, like celiac disease (an immune system reaction to a protein in some grains), often hard-to-miss symptoms like prolonged diarrhea and weight loss. Dial your doctor if your child has any of the following symptoms:

Under six months old

• fever
• diarrhea (abnormally frequent, watery stools that may contain mucous or blood)
• extreme fussiness
• sunken fontanelle (soft spot)

All ages

• weight loss
• bloody or black stools
• abdominal pain that awakens child at night
• difficulty swallowing
• pain when urinating
• belly pain lasting longer than 24 hours
• vomiting that continues for four to six hours or longer
• vomiting dark green material
• symptoms of dehydration: decreased urination; dry skin, mouth and tongue (look for stickiness under the tongue); no tears; sunken eyes; greyish complexion; extreme drowsiness or lethargy” (source)

Do you have a favorite home remedy for stomach aches? Please share it below!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Homemade Cheek Tint]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33787 2015-03-02T19:33:35Z 2015-03-02T19:08:18Z Do you love a fresh, dewy glow . . . But not the slew of parabens, talc – which is sometimes contaminated with asbestos – and phthalates that are used to achieve it? Well, then, you’re going to love this simple recipe! Unlike conventional makeup, which a report from Environmental Defence of Canada found is often loaded with heavy metals in addition to [&hellip

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cheek-tint-recipe

Do you love a fresh, dewy glow . . .

But not the slew of parabens, talc – which is sometimes contaminated with asbestos – and phthalates that are used to achieve it? Well, then, you’re going to love this simple recipe!

Unlike conventional makeup, which a report from Environmental Defence of Canada found is often loaded with heavy metals in addition to synthetic chemicals, this homemade cheek tint is made with 100% non-toxic, natural and organic ingredients. And like my homemade powdered foundation it’s super easy to make. Promise. 

Want to break-up with your makeup without making your own?

I totally get it. Blending makeup is a great way to play with your hands, get creative and save money, but sometimes other things need to take priority. I haven’t come across a “perfect” makeup company to recommend to you yet, but when I don’t have time to make my own here are some brands I turn to. They’re not perfect, but they’re muuuch better than what you’ll find in most department stores: Real Purity lipstickJuice Beauty lipstick, Juice Beauty glowing cheek color, Real Purity mascara, and Jane Iredale eye pencils. There are more, but that’s for another post.

Now let’s get back to the recipe . . .

natural-cheek-tint

About The Ingredients

Freeze Dried Fruit

At first I tried adding tint using dehydrated beets and fruit, but I found that I couldn’t grind them finely enough. Then I saw this post from The Clean Dish and decided to experiment with freeze-dried fruit. I couldn’t get a powdered version to apply evenly and stick to my face, which is why I added ingredient number two . . .

Glycerin

This simple ingredient imparts a dewy glow while helping the blush adhere to your cheeks. It’s hydrophillic, which means it loves moisture and absorbs it from the nearby environment. That can be a good thing if it draws moisture from the air to your lovely cheeks, but if the air is dry it will actually suck moisture out of your cheeks instead.

Vitamin E Oil

Because of glycerin’s love for moisture, I balanced my formula with vitamin E oil. It nourishes skin, protects it from becoming overly dry, and enhances the dewy finish of the blush. This vitamin E-based serum is my absolute favorite. If you’ve ever tried applying pure vitamin E to your skin you know it has a honey-like consistency that’s difficult to work with. This serum blends blends organic vitamin E with skin-nourishing organic oils and essential oils that make it smooth and easy-to-apply.

homemade-cheek-tint-recipe

Sheer Cheek Tint Recipe

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

You can also use freeze-dried strawberries or freeze-dried goji berries.

To Make

Place raspberries in a coffee grinder and turn on until the berries are ground into a very fine powder. Add 1 teaspoon arrowroot and grind for another minute or so. Using a superfine flour sifter, sift the powder into a bowl. Once you notice that mostly seeds and large bits of raspberry remain in the sifter, stop sifting.

Now dab a pea sized amount of glycerin on your palm and add 1 drop of vitamin E oil. Sprinkle a little of the powder into your palm and mix with your fingertips. Apply to your cheeks and check the intensity. Add more oil/glycerin to dilute or more powder to boost the color.

If desired add other ingredients to the mix to customize the color – cacao or cocoa powder for warm hues, a touch of bentonite clay for cool hues.

This blush can be stored as powder + glycerin + vitamin E and mixed as needed, or it can be pre-mixed using 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil, 3 teaspoons glycerin and enough powder to reach the intensity you prefer. If you pre-mix, you will notice that little bits of seeds and such swell when they absorb the glycerin. No worries, just allow the mixture to sit for a few hours and then strain with a cheesecloth – problem solved!

Shelf Life

Because this formula contains a high concentration of glycerin it will be shelf stable for at least six months, although over time the color may change so I recommend making up a new batch every couple of months.

To Use

Dab mixture on your cheeks and smooth over skin. If you happen to see a seed or large particle of raspberry powder, just wipe it away with your fingertip. Easy peasy!

Looking For More Recipes?

DIY Organic Beauty Recipes4

My ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is a 198 page guide that will show you how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products, like:

  • Quick yet luxurious gifts for friends and baby showers
  • Fabulous shampoos and conditioners
  • Tooth whitener
  • Lotion
  • Body sprays
  • Deodorants and more.

Check it out here

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Orange Creamsicle Vitamin C Gummy Snacks]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33747 2015-03-01T23:31:44Z 2015-02-27T19:01:25Z It’s often said that good supplements won’t fix a bad diet . . . And that’s true. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve come to believe that an amazing diet may not prevent the need for supplements, either. Here’s why: “Since 1975, USDA handbooks document a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, a [&hellip

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orange-creamsicle-vitamin-c-gummy-snack-recipe

It’s often said that good supplements won’t fix a bad diet . . .

And that’s true. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve come to believe that an amazing diet may not prevent the need for supplements, either. Here’s why:

“Since 1975, USDA handbooks document a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, a 88% decrease in iron content of watercress, and a 40% reduction in vitamin C in cauliflower. Another alarming result of topsoil erosion and poor land management is the relationship between soil health and the nutrient density of the fruits and vegetables that we love. When soil is depleted of its natural matrix of microorganisms, our food is depleted of vitamins and minerals. ” (source, find the original handbooks here)

Personally, I think it would be quite a challenge to eat 40% more cauliflower and 88% more watercress to make up the difference, so I focus on nutrient-dense foods and targeted supplementation.

These vitamin C gummies, which are a cross between creamsicle gelatin cups and sour gummy stars, pack at least 240-250 mg of whole food vitamin C (with bioflavonoids and other co-factors included) per serving. And, um, they’re DELICIOUS.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, along with proline an glycine (also included in this recipe) and protein and zinc, are essential for collagen synthesis. (source) In addition, vitamin C also . . .

It may also support heart health and help the body recycle vitamin E. (source)

Why I Use Natural Vitamin C

Several studies indicate that high doses of isolated vitamin C – which has been separated from its natural cofactors – may have some negative effects.

In this study, researchers concluded that supplementing with vitamin C lowered endurance in athletes, impaired mitochondrial function and reduced the body’s levels of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.

And this study conducted at the University of Leicester found that just 500 mg of synthetic vitamin C per day may cause genetic damage. According to Dr. Herbert, who was interviewed in the article, vitamin C that is naturally present in food has no oxidizing effect. (Here’s a link to the original abstract)

It is for that reason, and many others, I prefer to consume whole food-based vitamin C with all of its bioflavonoids and other co-factors intact.

Unfortunately, many “whole food-based” . . .

Vitamin C supplements you see on store shelves aren’t necessarily what they seem. According to Ron Schmid, N.D., “Almost all of the vitamin C in supplements is made in a laboratory, despite labeling that implies otherwise. For example, the label might say, ‘ascorbic acid from sago palm.’ Dextrose, a form of sugar that contains no vitamin C at all, is extracted from sago palm and used as the base molecular material for a complex laboratory process that synthesizes vitamin C. Or the label might say ‘vitamin C derived from the finest natural sources.’ True, but the vitamin C was synthesized. It might also say ‘with rose hips and acerola,’ which are then used as the base material for the tablet or capsule. But a tablet of rose hips or acerola can contain only about forty milligrams of truly natural vitamin C; the rest is synthesized.” (source)

I’ve linked to two truly whole food-based vitamin C powders below. Now let’s get to the recipe!

vitamin-c-gummy-snack-recipe

Orange Creamsicle Vitamin C Gummies

(Makes 16 gummy men. Serving size = 4 gummies)

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • Candy molds, optional (I use these)
  • pot
  • whisk or spoon
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons

Easy Peasy Instructions:

  1. Add coconut milk, juice, gelatin and honey to a sauce pan and whisk until there are no lumps.
  2. Heat over low heat until it’s nice and melty, stirring constantly.
  3. Whisk in vitamin C, plus food coloring and/or extract  if desired. (I didn’t with the batch pictured)
  4. Grab an ice cube tray or silicone mold. You can use a basic pan, too, and then just cut into squares or use a cookie cutter after it’s set.
  5. Pour in the mixture, then pop in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up. Once they’re out of the freezer they will stay firm at room temperature.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  7. Enjoy!

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Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, CLT http://www.PilatesNutritionist.com <![CDATA[Real Food For Gestational Diabetes: What You Need To Know]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33655 2015-02-25T22:32:03Z 2015-02-25T16:57:08Z Note From Mommypotamus: When I wrote about natural alternatives to the glucola test, many of you asked what to do if gestational diabetes is diagnosed and confirmed. Today I am so excited to welcome Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, CLT, a registered nutritionist and gestational diabetes educator, who will be filling us in on how to take a real food approach [&hellip

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Gestational Diabetes Diet

Note From Mommypotamus: When I wrote about natural alternatives to the glucola test, many of you asked what to do if gestational diabetes is diagnosed and confirmed. Today I am so excited to welcome Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, CLT, a registered nutritionist and gestational diabetes educator, who will be filling us in on how to take a real food approach to GD. 

Lily is the author of Real Food for Gestational Diabetes, a thoroughly researched guide filled with practical guidance and easy-to-follow instructions. It is, hands down, the best resource on the subject that I have found so far. If you or someone you know is looking for information on managing GD with real food, I highly recommend it!

Gestational diabetes is never part of any mom’s plan . . .

But it is the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting up to 18% of pregnant women. Yet there are many misconceptions about this diagnosis, both in conventional health care and the integrative medicine world. As a registered dietician/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator who specializes in gestational diabetes, I’m going to clear up some of the confusion for you today.

Whether or not you have gestational diabetes, this post will help you understand how it develops and why it’s important to maintain normal blood sugar (for all pregnant women, really). I’ll also be sharing why the typical gestational diabetes diet fails and why a real food, nutrient-dense, lower carbohydrate approach is ideal for managing gestational diabetes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is usually defined as diabetes that develops or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. However, it can also be defined as “insulin resistance” or “carbohydrate intolerance” during pregnancy.

I prefer to rely on the latter description because, at the end of the day, gestational diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, which means a woman is unable to tolerate large amounts of carbohydrates without experiencing high blood sugar. Technically all women experience some degree of insulin resistance during pregnancy as it’s a natural metabolic shift that serves to shunt glucose and nutrients to a growing baby.[1] This means, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s helpful to understand how and why your metabolism changes during pregnancy (and how certain dietary changes can help ensure the health of your baby).

From a biological perspective, slight insulin resistance is incredibly important since it allows a baby to survive even if a pregnant woman experiences famine or short periods of starvation. However, in our modern world where food is rarely scarce and refined carbohydrates are everywhere, this adaptation can work against us. This is especially true if a woman already has some level of insulin resistance before becoming pregnant, which is becoming more common.[2]

Why Early Screening for Gestational Diabetes is Helpful

In years past, it was thought that the elevated blood sugar levels seen with gestational diabetes only begin to occur in the second and third trimester, when placental hormones are at their peak and insulin resistance spikes. This is why gestational diabetes is classically screened for around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

However, researchers have now found that gestational diabetes can be predicted earlier, by relying on a blood test called hemoglobin A1c (for short, A1c). In one study, a first trimester A1c reading of 5.9% or greater accurately predicted the development of GD 98.4% of the time.[3] That means, for these women, gestational diabetes wasn’t just a phenomenon of placental hormones, it was actually preexisting prediabetes (an A1c of 5.7%-6.4% indicates prediabetes). As their pregnancies progressed, their insulin resistance got more severe, as a natural result of placental hormones and weight gain, resulting in elevated blood sugar.

Moreover, gestational diabetes is increasingly believed to be an early indicator for the later development of diabetes, which means a woman’s insulin resistance continues or worsens years after they give birth. Women who have gestational diabetes have a 7-fold higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.[4]

Can Gestational Diabetes be Prevented?

Not all women with gestational diabetes have preexisting issues with glucose tolerance or insulin resistance, but research does show that wise preconception practices may prevent some cases of gestational diabetes. One study found that the combination of not smoking, exercising 150 minutes or more per week, and healthy eating reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 41%.[5] Another showed that women who regularly exercised prior to conception and through 20 weeks gestation had a 49-78% reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes.[6] Adequate protein consumption during the first trimester may also protect against the later development of gestational diabetes.[7]

Maintaining a healthy weight preconception is also crucial, since being overweight at conception more than doubles the risk of gestational diabetes. For women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35, the risk of gestational diabetes is five times greater than a woman at a healthy weight, most likely because insulin resistance tends to go up at higher body weight.[8]

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with gestational diabetes (and, not surprisingly, insulin resistance). One study found that women who were deficient in vitamin D had a 3.7-fold increased risk of GD compared to women with normal levels.[9]

Gestational Diabetes Diet - Monitoring your blood sugar

What’s the Problem with High Blood Sugar During Pregnancy?

Some people argue that since all women have some degree of insulin resistance during pregnancy, we shouldn’t make such a big deal out of gestational diabetes. However, there are significant risks to a baby exposed to high blood sugar during development, including:[10]

  • Various birth defects (high blood glucose is a teratogen[11])
  • Macrosomia (being born large at birth)
  • Shoulder dystocia (Shoulders of large babies can dislocate or become stuck during vaginal delivery. This may lead to a broken clavicle or neurological damage to the infant or a medical emergency for the mom.)
  • Hypoglycemia (baby’s blood sugar is too low at birth, which can be life threatening)
  • Jaundice
  • Permanent changes to a child’s metabolism

The final point is one I find extremely concerning. Essentially, if a fetus is exposed to high blood sugar, the fetal pancreas is forced to produce excessive amounts of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar.[12] That leads to the unnatural accumulation of fat, especially around the midsection, and hyperplasia of the fetal pancreas, both of which predispose the baby to insulin and blood sugar regulation issues later in life.[13] This has been referred to as “fetal programming” or “intrauterine programming.”

In fact, children exposed to gestational diabetes in the womb have a 6-fold higher risk of blood sugar problems at adolescence, including impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes.[14] They are also at a much higher risk for becoming overweight during their lifetime.[15] However, we know moms who maintain good blood sugar control throughout their pregnancies lessen these risks.[16]

Even Mildly Elevated Blood Sugar Matters

What is not as widely discussed is the fact that some of the problems associated with gestational diabetes can occur even in fairly “mild” cases.

A high number of women with gestational diabetes who do maintain what’s considered “good blood sugar control” still deliver babies with complications, which has led some researchers to reexamine what’s considered “normal” blood sugar during pregnancy.[17]

The landmark Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes study (HAPO), which studied 23,316 women with gestational diabetes and their infants, found that even mildly elevated fasting blood sugar levels were linked to high insulin levels in infants at birth and macrosomia.[18] For example, women with an average fasting blood sugar of 90mg/dl or less had a large baby 10% of the time compared to 25-35% in women whose average fasting blood sugar was 100mg/dl or higher.

With this in mind, it’s likely that some of the negative effects of gestational diabetes on fetal programming may be occurring to mothers who experience only slightly elevated blood sugar.

So if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you might be interested to see how your doctor’s blood sugar targets align with “normal” blood sugar levels in other pregnant women in the chart below.

gestational-diabetes-chart

How is Gestational Diabetes Managed?

The primary treatment for gestational diabetes is diet and exercise. When those two aren’t enough to bring the blood sugar levels down to normal, a woman may need insulin or medication.

Many women would rather make dietary changes to control their gestational diabetes, than jump right to medicine (and most doctors feel the same way). Sadly, the conventional nutrition advice for gestational diabetes often fails to be enough.

Why the Typical Gestational Diabetes Diet Fails

When I first started working in prenatal nutrition, I was shocked to see that most women with gestational diabetes are given a very high carbohydrate diet with a minimum of 175g of carbohydrates per day.

At the time, since this was the accepted norm, I implemented this diet therapy for my patients. But their blood sugar numbers were not improving and, in some cases, got worse. Often, much to their disappointment, my patients had to start medication or insulin in order to control their blood sugar. (Side note: Medicine and insulin are useful tools for controlling blood sugar, but I believed we could do more nutritionally before resorting to them.)

This left me wondering, “Did they fail diet therapy, or did diet therapy fail them?”

After all, gestational diabetes is called carbohydrate intolerance for a reason. Carbohydrates are the primary macronutrient that raises the blood sugar, so why are we suggesting they eat lots of carbohydrates?

The primary reason clinicians are afraid to endorse a lower carbohydrate diet for pregnancy is that they’ve been given outdated information regarding ketosis. This topic is so complex that I devote an entire chapter to in my book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. But the short answer is that low-level nutritional ketosis is common during pregnancy, does not carry the same risks as starvation ketosis or diabetic ketoacidosis, and does not negatively impact the brain development of a baby.[19]

What Level of Carbohydrates is Best?

There will likely always be controversy around the ideal level of carbohydrates a woman should consume during pregnancy and frankly, I believe it will vary woman-to-woman based on her blood sugar control. But, in general, I find most women with gestational diabetes benefit from a diet that has less than 175g of carbohydrates per day.

My approach is to have a woman monitor her blood sugar while eating her usual diet (using a home glucose monitor) to get a baseline of how food affects her blood sugar. Then her diet can be adjusted to suit her individual glucose tolerance. A slightly lower-carbohydrate diet is both safe and efficacious, provided that a woman is consuming adequate calories.

In fact, studies have shown that a low-glycemic index diet reduces the likelihood a woman will need insulin by fully 50%.[20] This makes a real food diet ideal for managing gestational diabetes, since it generally avoids high-glycemic foods, like processed and refined carbohydrates.

(Some researchers even believe that our modern diet, high in refined carbohydrates, may be at least partly to blame for the rising rates of gestational diabetes.[21])

Real Food For Gestational Diabetes - Why the typical diet often fails, and what to do instead

How to Proactively Manage Your Blood Sugar During Pregnancy

So, what can you do to maintain normal blood sugar during pregnancy? Below are some simple tips you can implement.

  • Request getting your HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) measured with your first trimester labs to get a better idea of your baseline blood sugar control. That way, you can take action earlier in your pregnancy if you need to.
  • Ask to have your vitamin D levels measured (25-hydroxy vitamin D), so you can correct deficiency if it’s present. Depending on where you live, time of year, and time spent outdoors in sunlight, you may need to add a vitamin D supplement to meet target levels.[22]
  • If you have gestational diabetes, monitor your blood sugar in the morning (fasting) and after each meal to learn your body’s unique pattern and response to different foods (and combinations of food). Adjust your diet and exercise levels accordingly, knowing that carbohydrates tend to raise your blood sugar the most, fat and protein tend to stabilize your blood sugar, and exercise tends to lower your blood sugar.
  • Emphasize foods with plenty of fat and protein, both of which stabilize, rather than directly raise, the blood sugar. Pasture-raised meat (including organ meat), poultry, eggs, wild-caught fish, full-fat cheese, heavy cream, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, butter, and some coconut products fit into this category.
  • Embrace low-glycemic sources of carbohydrates, like non-starchy vegetables (lots of these!), nuts, seeds, and low-sugar fruit (like berries). If you choose to consume dairy products, opt for full-fat Greek yogurt, cheese, heavy cream in lieu of milk and regular yogurt.
  • Reduce your intake of sugars, added or naturally-occurring, from things like juice (yes, even 100% organic, fresh-squeezed), sweetened drinks (like soda or sports drinks), desserts, honey, maple syrup, and dried fruit.
  • Become aware of which foods are the most concentrated sources of carbohydrates and watch your portion sizes. Avoid refined carbohydrates, like cereal and pasta.
  • When you consume starches, such as sweet potatoes or winter squash, eat them in small portions in combination with foods that are also high in fat, protein, and/or fiber to reduce their glycemic impact. For example, it’s better for your blood sugar levels to have a servings of sweet potatoes alongside grass-fed beef, sauteed spinach, and butter rather than by itself.
  • Avoid large portions of carbohydrates at one time to prevent blood sugar spikes. In other words, spread your servings of carbohydrate-containing foods throughout the day. It’s far better to have fruit as a snack twice per day than to have a large fruit salad in one sitting.
  • Exercise regularly. Even the conservative American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests pregnant women exercise 30 minutes per day (unless complications arise).[23] Resistance exercise is particularly helpful at reducing blood sugar levels.[24]

Although getting diagnosed usually isn’t welcomed news . . .

Gestational diabetes is a unique opportunity for you to focus on your self care, and in doing so, ensure your baby gets the best start in life. A real food approach is ideal for gestational diabetes, because it emphasizes nutrient-dense foods that provide a baby with all the critical nutrients for growth, while also minimizing blood sugar spikes.

Knowledge is power. If you discover that you have gestational diabetes, consider it a blessing in disguise. You can take steps to proactively manage it during your pregnancy and continue those same lifestyle habits postpartum to prevent type 2 diabetes later in life.

Remember, moms with gestational diabetes who keep their blood sugar levels at normal levels have no higher risk of complications.

Want to learn more?

Real-Food-for-Gestational-DiabetesIn Real Food For Diabetes, you’ll learn:

  • Why conventional diet therapy often fails and what to do instead
  • How the right prenatal nutrition can reduce the likelihood you’ll need insulin by 50%
  • Exactly which foods raise your blood sugar (and more importantly, which foods DON’T raise your blood sugar)
  • How to customize a meal plan with the right amount of carbohydrates for YOU (there’s no one-size-fits-all plan, despite what you may have been told)
  • The truth about ketosis during pregnancy (and why checking urine ketones isn’t useful)
  • Information on insulin and blood sugar-lowering medications used in pregnancy
  • Which foods to emphasize to provide your baby with the right nutrients for optimal development (these real foods have a long history of producing strong, healthy babies)
  • The best prenatal exercises to control your blood sugar and prepare for labor
  • What to do after delivery to prevent type 2 diabetes

(Click here to buy Real Food For Gestational Diabetes)

The post Real Food For Gestational Diabetes: What You Need To Know appeared first on Mommypotamus.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[24 Hours Left To Save 20% On Vital Proteins Gelatin + Giveaway Winner]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33637 2015-02-24T16:28:56Z 2015-02-24T15:13:52Z This is just between us, mmkay? As much as I joke about wearing pj’s at 2pm and accidentally leaving the house with makeup on only one eye, I actually do care about how I look. For me, though, the most beautiful accessory isn’t found on a clothes rack. It’s health, radiating from within. That’s why I’m [&hellip

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vital-proteins-gelatin-review

This is just between us, mmkay?

As much as I joke about wearing pj’s at 2pm and accidentally leaving the house with makeup on only one eye, I actually do care about how I look.

For me, though, the most beautiful accessory isn’t found on a clothes rack. It’s health, radiating from within. That’s why I’m doing a little challenge for myself, and I thought you might like to try it, too. Years ago, I read a Japanese study that was designed to study the effects of UV exposure. Researchers separated mice into three groups:

  1. Those who did were not exposed to UV light
  2. Those who were exposed repeatedly with increased intensity over time
  3. Those who were exposed repeatedly with increased intensity over time, AND WERE FED GELATIN

When results were measured, “mice exposed to the light without the gelatin had a 53% average decrease in the collagen content of their skin, compared to the mice that received no ultraviolet light exposure at all. Astonishingly, the mice that were exposed to the light, but also fed gelatin had no collagen decrease at all. They actually had an average collagen increase of 17%.” (source, original study, emphasis mine)

I know mice aren’t people, but I’ve always been curious about how six weeks of daily gelatin usage might improve my skin. I already use it often, but I’m not always consistent, so today I’m stocking up today and planning my start date.

If you want to try it, too, Vital Proteins is offering a special discount of 20% off right now. But here’s the deal: The sale ends in LESS THAN 24 HOURS, so you better get on it!

Unless your name is Morgan Sanders-Jackson, that is, because Vital Proteins will be stocking your pantry with $475 in grass-fed gelatin for fuhree! (Morgan, I’ve sent you an email.)

vital-proteins-gelatin-sale

Save 20% On Your Order ~ Sale Ends Tomorrow!

If you didn’t win, Vital Proteins has created a coupon code that brings the cost of their collagen protein below what you’re already paying for regular grass-fed gelatin.  Shipping is FREE, so this is a great time to stock up.

And just to make sure you get exactly what you want, here’s the difference between the two:

Collagen Protein = Dissolves in hot liquids. Perfect for gummy stars, creamsicle cups, and a hair mask that boosts strength and shine (recipe coming soon!)

Collagen Peptides = Dissolves in cold liquids. Does not gel at room temperature, which makes it great for mixing with water, smoothies, iced coffee and tea, freshly pressed juices, etc.

Vital Proteins

Collagen peptides dissolving in water

 

Click here to order Vital Proteins for 20% off right now with coupon code POTAMUS-2015-2A8R

Offer expires tomorrow, February 25th!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[How To Whiten Teeth Naturally With Turmeric]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33547 2015-02-25T22:56:23Z 2015-02-23T20:05:52Z They say a smile is . . . The prettiest thing you can wear. I say that, given some of the questionable fashion choices I’ve made since becoming a mom (hello pj’s at 2pm!), that’s never been more true. Americans spend over a billion dollars a year on over-the-counter tooth whitening products, often without being [&hellip

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whitening-teeth-before-after-pic

They say a smile is . . .

The prettiest thing you can wear. I say that, given some of the questionable fashion choices I’ve made since becoming a mom (hello pj’s at 2pm!), that’s never been more true.

Americans spend over a billion dollars a year on over-the-counter tooth whitening products, often without being aware of their risks. Fortunately, we don’t need them – we can simply head to our pantry and most likely find at least one ingredient that whitens naturally. Not only is it a safer option, it’s more affordable, too.

One, which I mention in my ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is activated charcoal. (Yes, the stuff that looks like squid ink when you brush it on.)

The other, which I’m going to tell you about today, is turmeric, a gorgeous yellow spice that is often used to give mustard it’s bright color. Though these two substances are notorious for staining just about everything else in sight, they actually remove stains from teeth and lighten overall tooth color. I wrote a little about how activated charcoal works in my ebook, but the mechanism behind turmeric is still a mystery. Here’s what you need to know, though:

IT WORKS.

You may notice an immediate difference with the first application, you may not. But if you’ll do it consistently for a few days to a week, I think you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference it makes. Hey, before you know it you’ll probably be telling your best friend, sister or mom to rub turmeric on their teeth, too!

Will your teeth become so blindingly white that they look like they glow in the dark? No. Many of us are used to seeing ultra-white hollywood smiles, but what’s rarely mentioned is that those smiles are often achieved by applying veneers to the front of natural teeth. It’s just not possible to bleach teeth that white, but it’s not necessary for a gorgeous, healthy looking smile either.

I mean, according to Mother Nature Network, “Former Miss USA Susie Castillo swears by her recipe for homemade toothpaste, which includes turmeric powder. (Though Ms. Castillo seems to have recently changed her website and the link is not longer active, I was able to find it via wayback machine.)

Now, we’ll get to today’s technique in a second, but first let me tell you . . .

Why I Ditched Tooth Whitening Strips

Years ago, I was so addicted to whitening strips that I would often pop one in after eating on my lunch break. I didn’t know that you’re only supposed to use over-the-counter strips twice-per-year at the very most, and that increasing the frequency comes with risks. (source)

I found out soon enough, though. My teeth started to ache and the tips became slightly translucent, which are both documented side effects of conventional tooth whiteners. “The media has done a good job of making whitening sound innocuous, but it’s not,” Dr. Ira Handschuh, a White Plains, N.Y., dentist, told ABC News.

According to the article,”Carbamide peroxide, the whitening agent in most bleaches, can irritate the gums, causing them to recede, making the teeth brittle, chalky and so thin as to be translucent at the edges when the product is overused.”

What was even more upsetting to me, though, was my teeth faded back to yellow more and more quickly after each treatment, so the more often I used them the less effective they were. Ugh.

Of course, those are just a few of the concerns associated with conventional whitening treatments. The long-term effects are not fully known, but one older study suggests there may be a connection between oral cancer in young adults and the use of tooth whitening products. The study was very small and is not definitive by any means, but a subsequent study on dentist-performed whitening treatments (which use the same basic chemicals, only at higher concentrations) also found potential genotoxic effects. (source)

So how did I break the habit? Well, just around the time I developed tooth sensitivity I discovered real food, ditched the strips, embraced bone broth, and started making my own deodorant and tooth soap.

My health started improving, my teeth became opaque again, and the rest, as they say, is history.

turmeric-tooth-whitener

Benefit Of Turmeric For Oral Health

One of the things I learned when starting to make my own beauty products is that using natural ingredients doesn’t just get the bad stuff out, it gets a lot of AMAZING stuff in. Tallow is the perfect food for skin, gelatin (taken both internally and applied directly) strengthens hair, and turmeric – well, it has a ton of benefits.

Not only is it often called the Eastern secret to youthful skin, several studies have suggested that it is highly beneficial for oral health. This study found that it had a positive effect on gingival inflammation, while this Journal of Natural Biology, Science & Medicine review concluded that it can be beneficial for dental pain.

In contrast, gum inflammation and receding gums are some of the most common side effects of conventional whiteners. (source)

I’m not exactly sure now, but it’s been at least So, are you ready to give this natural approach a try? Good!

whiten-teeth-naturally-turmeric-powder

How To Whiten Teeth Naturally With Turmeric

Now, a quick heads up: Your toothbrush will be stained yellow after this. Personally, I don’t mind – I’d rather have white teeth and a yellow toothbrush than vice versa. Also, turmeric tastes much better in a wellness shot than it does as toothpaste, but I do love the results.

Ingredients:

Organic turmeric powder (where to buy organic turmeric)

Method:

1. Wet your toothbrush and then dip it in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder. Brush teeth as normal, but instead of rinsing when you’re done allow the turmeric to sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes so that it can do it’s magic.

2. Spit and rinse thoroughly, then follow with a second brushing using your regular tooth powder/toothpaste. If you notice any yellow around the corners of your mouth, wash with soap and it will rinse away. Likewise, if any turmeric powder is left on your teeth or gums it will cause a slight yellow tint, but when the turmeric is fully rinsed away you should notice a brighter, whiter smile. I personally think this homemade tooth soap is the most effective at removing the turmeric so you can see the results underneath.

You may notice a difference with the first application. If not, give it a few days to a week – if you’re skeptical I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Turmeric Toothpaste Recipe

Ingredients:

Method:

1. Dip your toothbrush in the paste and brush teeth as normal, but instead of rinsing when you’re done allow the paste to sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes so that it can do it’s magic.

2. Spit and rinse thoroughly, then follow with a second brushing using your regular tooth powder/toothpaste. If you notice any yellow around the corners of your mouth, wash with soap and it will rinse away. Likewise, if any turmeric powder is left on your teeth or gums it will cause a slight yellow tint, but when the turmeric is fully rinsed away you should notice a brighter, whiter smile. I personally think this homemade tooth soap is the most effective at removing the turmeric so you can see the results underneath.

You may notice a difference with the first application. If not, give it a few days to a week – if you’re skeptical I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

3. Clean your sink if needed. Depending on how absorbent your surface is it may stain if left to clean later.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Why I Switched To Vital Proteins Gelatin]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33299 2015-02-27T00:53:04Z 2015-02-18T17:02:29Z So, awhile back . . . I posted a recipe for creamy, junk-free eggnog and mentioned in passing that I added my new favorite gelatin to the mix. You were like “eh, nice nog, NOW TELL ME WHY YOU SWITCHED GELATIN BRANDS.” Okay, I can take a hint, especially when it comes via multiple comments, messages to my [&hellip

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vital-proteins-gelatin-review

So, awhile back . . .

I posted a recipe for creamy, junk-free eggnog and mentioned in passing that I added my new favorite gelatin to the mix. You were like “eh, nice nog, NOW TELL ME WHY YOU SWITCHED GELATIN BRANDS.”

Okay, I can take a hint, especially when it comes via multiple comments, messages to my inbox, copious amounts of exclamation points, and skywriting. And I totally get the questions, because who doesn’t love a protein powder that studies suggest may make skin look more youthful, support digestion and improve sleep, among many other things?

Really, it’s simple. Back when I posted my sour gummy star recipe, I got tons of comments from excited parents whose kids LOVED them. But I got other kinds of comments, too, which mostly went like this . . .

“This recipe turned out awesome but how do you get past the dead cow hide smell/taste from the gelatin?”

Uhhhh . . . 

“I am having the same problem with the smell. Doesn’t seem to bother most people but I can’t stomach it.”

Hmmm . . . 

“Really great idea. I’m not in love *yet* because they came out tasting too much like beef gelatin. I thought the lemon and honey would hide the flavor. Any ideas out there for a better outcome?”

You see where I’m going with this, right? I’ve been using (and recommending) a couple of brands of organic and/or grass-fed gelatin for the past few years and I’ll continue to recommend them. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful to even have access to such a nourishing staple for my family.

But I have a new favorite, and I’ll tell you why . . .

As you might have guessed by some of the comments above, gelatin can impart an, um, unique flavor to recipes. I’ve tried my best to counteract it with other strong flavors such as citrus and chocolate or peppermint, but I haven’t always been successful.

Then last year I tried Vital Proteins grass-fed gelatin at the Weston A. Price Conference and you guys, I was completely surprised by the flavor – or actually, the lack of flavor. It’s so mild and neutral tasting.

Just as importantly, I love the TEXTURE. Their regular gelatin – which they call collagen protein – blends easily without clumping, and even their collagen peptides (aka hydrolysate) dissolves effortlessly in cold water without any lumps. Just dump it in, give it a quick stir, and it does the rest. See?

Vital Proteins

Of course, there are other reasons to love them, too . . .

Quality & Freshness

Would you leave beef jerky wrapped in a wet paper towel? Of course not! Dehydrated animal proteins like beef jerky and gelatin are vulnerable to bacteria when moist, so it’s important to store them properly. Vital Proteins has gone the extra mile to produce air-tight, induction-sealed recyclable containers that keep out moisture and preserve freshness.

Also, I love that the containers have wide mouths and come with a scoop inside. I mean, as fun as it is to dump gelatin all over the counter because I’m trying to measure while holding a wiggling baby, the easy-to-use scoop is okay, too.

collagen-peptides

Oh, and of course I’m impressed with their commitment to quality and the detailed information they provide about their sourcing techniques. Here’s a statement from their website:

“Our cattle graze on lush grasslands in Brazil and are not given hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. They eat their natural diet – grass, and receive plenty of open space and sunshine. We believe in providing our animals with an environment that nature intended, and the result is a high quality protein that is natural and pure.”

You can read more about their sourcing techniques here.

Pricing

Vital Proteins offers free shipping on everything ordered through their site, or you can buy on Amazon. Here’s the cost breakdown:

Vital Proteins Collagen Protein (Dissolves in hot liquids) – 32 oz. canister for $42 – $1.31 per ounce

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (Dissolves in cold liquids, does not gel at room temperature) – 20 oz. canister for $37 – $1.85 per ounce

My old grass fed gelatin was $1.19 per ounce for regular and $1.39 per ounce for the cold soluble version. However, shipping is not free unless you have Amazon Prime, so that’s something to consider. Personally, I think the extra cost is worth it since I’m getting moisture-proof packaging and a product that, at least for me, results in a smoother end-product.

So there you have it!

If you want to check out Vital Proteins, you can find them here or on Amazon here and here. If you’ve got another question for me, please leave it in the comments!

The giveaway that ran here from 2-18-15 to 2-22-15 was sponsored by Vital Proteins. Thank you for supporting the companies I love, and allowing me to share them with you.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[DIY Mustard Bath For Muscle Relaxation and Better Sleep]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33273 2015-03-03T14:31:58Z 2015-02-16T20:55:53Z   Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin swears by them . . . but once jokingly added that she hasn’t “tried to bathe in ketchup or soy sauce or anything.” (source 1, source 2) What on earth is she talking about? Why, mustard baths, of course!  If the thought of putting mustard in your tub instead of on, say, your grain-free burger has your brain [&hellip

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 DIY Mustard Bath Recipe

Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin swears by them

. . . but once jokingly added that she hasn’t “tried to bathe in ketchup or soy sauce or anything.” (source 1, source 2) What on earth is she talking about? Why, mustard baths, of course! 

If the thought of putting mustard in your tub instead of on, say, your grain-free burger has your brain doing flip-flops, here’s what you need to know: Mustard baths have long been used in England as a comfort measure for colds and flus, achy muscles, and stressful days. Even before that, this spice was used therapeutically in ayurvedic and Egyptian traditions for similar complaints.

So how does it work?

If you’ve ever bitten into a jalapeno and felt beads of sweat form on your forehead, you’ve already experienced one of the primary benefits associated with mustard. It contains several compounds that are thought to stimulate circulation, warm the body and soothe muscles.

The recipe below is an adaptation of a common traditional one, which usually includes mustard, essential oils and benzoin resin in a base of sodium carbonate or baking soda. In addition to mustard, here’s what we’ll be using:

Magnesium – Because it is well-absorbed through skin, bathing in magnesium-rich water is one of the best ways to raise our magnesium levels. Magnesium is vital for over 300 metabolic reactions within the body, including ones that help with detoxification and relaxation. We use either epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) or magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride). This is my favorite brand.

Baking Soda – This simple pantry staple is much less harsh than the sodium carbonate used in some commercial versions of this formula. It softens the water and your skin.

Essential Oils – This recipe includes essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme and rosemary, which are all types of monoterpenes. These oils have long been considered helpful for opening nasal passages and supporting healthy respiratory function, and they smell amazing when blended with wintergreen, which is considered helpful for relaxing muscles. However, none of these oils are generally considered appropriate for children, so I’ve included alternate suggestions below if you’re planning to add this to your little ones’ baths.

Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate (Optional) – If your bath water contains chlorine, you can add ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate to neutralize it. Though chlorination levels vary in different municipalities, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 1 gram is enough to neutralize roughly 100 gallons of water. That’s about 1/4 teaspoon per 100 gallons.

Timing Your Mustard Bath For Deeper, More Restful Sleep

As I mentioned in my post on getting better sleep, you may be able to time your bath to improve overall sleep quality. While our bodies are designed to sleep best in a relatively cool environment (usually 65-72F), one study found that a hot bath 1.5 hours before bed decreased sleep fragmentation (aka sleep disruptions) in older adults suffering from insomnia.

Whenever you decide to take it, I hope you love this aromatic bath as much as I do.

Glass jar of homemade mustard bath powder

Mustard Bath Recipe

Ingredients

* Essential oils are wonderful, but they must be used safely. Because wintergreen contains naturally occurring salicylates, which is the blood-thinning compound found in aspirin, it is not recommended for children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, individuals taking anticoagulant medications, individuals who have major surgery planned, or individuals who have hemophilia or other bleeding disorders. The dilution in this recipe is so small that a certified aromatherapist I consult with said it is not likely to cause an adverse effect, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Kid-Friendly Mustard Bath Recipe

This recipe is appropriate for children and pregnant/breastfeeding women:

To Make

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Store in an airtight jar, preferably in a dark cabinet to keep the essential oils from oxidizing.

To Use

Dissolve 1/4 cup in bath water and soak for 15-30 minutes.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Parsnip Fries]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=33215 2015-02-13T18:10:47Z 2015-02-13T18:01:52Z Sometimes It’s All About The Delivery Instead of “We need to throw this stack of 50 drawings away” you can say “Who’s ready to send a present to the Recycling Fairy!?!?” Instead of “It’s time to go to bed so mommy can have some quiet time” you can say “Who’s ready to go on a [&hellip

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parnsip-fries

Sometimes It’s All About The Delivery

Instead of “We need to throw this stack of 50 drawings away” you can say “Who’s ready to send a present to the Recycling Fairy!?!?”

Instead of “It’s time to go to bed so mommy can have some quiet time” you can say “Who’s ready to go on a fantastic pirate voyage in their tropical island dreams!?!?” while nodding your head. The head nod is imperative.

baked-parsnip-fries

And instead of saying, “Look kids, another armful of the same root veggies we’ve been eating for two months” you can say “WHO WANTS FRIES TONIGHT?!?!?!

See, delivery. Add in a little magic ketchup, easy homemade mayo, spicy chipotle mayo or honey chipotle BBQ sauce and your fries may get gobbled straight off the baking sheet. If you’re fast you may be able to get them to the table, but no promises.

parsnip fries in a basket with a small bowl of homemade ketchup

Parsnip Fries

Ingredients

4 medium parsnips (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (where to buy coconut oil)
Unrefined sea salt for sprinkling (I like this salt, or you can used seasoned salt if you prefer)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Peel the parsnips and slice into long, thin strips (a little over 1/3 inch thick).
3. Toss with coconut oil (about 1 tablespoon per 1 large parsnip)
4. Place parsnips on two large baking sheets and sprinkle with unrefined sea salt.
5. Place the baking sheets on middle racks and roast for 30 minutes, turning once at the 15 minute mark.
6. Once the fries have cooked for 30 minutes, turn your oven to “broil” on low and continue cooking until golden on the outside. Make sure to check them every 3-5 minutes so they don’t burn. The amount of time needed will vary depending on how thick/thin your fries are. You’ll probably find that the fries on the top rack are done sooner. If so, remove them and move the fries that were on the lower rack up.

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