Mommypotamus 2016-05-29T14:08:38Z http://www.mommypotamus.com/feed/atom/ WordPress http://www.mommypotamus.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-MP-logo-purple-32x32.png Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Essential Oil Dilution Chart and Guidelines]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=45174 2016-05-29T14:08:38Z 2016-05-26T17:38:55Z So, you’ve fallen in love with essential oils for everything from brushing your teeth and making citronella candles to relaxing tense muscles, soothing bug bites, lifting your mood and more? I totally get it. Personally, all I need now is one that washes dishes and I’m pretty much set. Figuring how to use them SAFELY, though . . . […]

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essential-oil-dilution-chart-guidelines

So, you’ve fallen in love with essential oils for everything from brushing your teeth and making citronella candles to relaxing tense musclessoothing bug bites, lifting your mood and more? I totally get it. Personally, all I need now is one that washes dishes and I’m pretty much set.

Figuring how to use them SAFELY, though . . . well, that was a journey for me. When I first started out, I didn’t receive much guidance about how to use them appropriately. That’s why last year I began working toward an aromatherapy certification through Aromahead Institute. Safety is my top priority, so whether it’s this “breathe easy” chest rub, or another natural remedy or beauty recipe, I always consult Essential Oil Safety while creating products for my family and yours.

If you’re not familiar with it, Essential Oil Safety was written by world renowned essential oil expert Robert Tisserand and his co-author, Rodney Young. Considered the most evidence-based resource available, it took 10+ years to write and contains over 4000 citations.

I’ve already shared with you my lists of safe essential oils for children and pregnant/nursing mamas, both of which were compiled based on Tisserand’s and Young’s book. In this post we’ll cover some guidelines I’ve found helpful for determining how much to use for specific situations. Ready to jump in? Alrighty then . . .

Why dilute essential oils?

Though there are times when certain oils can be applied “neat,” or undiluted, in general dilution is recommended for topical use. Diluting is has two primary benefits:

  • It may increase absorption by spreading the oil over a larger surface area
  • It decreases the likelihood of a negative reaction

When is it appropriate to use oils “neat”?

Certain situations that affect small areas, such as a burn, bug bite, or forehead tension may benefit from the occasional use of undiluted oils.

I’ve used a drop of undiluted tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) to soothe a bug bite. Tea tree and lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) are typically considered the safest options for neat application. Some oils – ylang ylang and lemongrass, for example – are very likely to cause a reaction and should never be applied undiluted.

How do I dilute for regular use?

Carrier oils such as avocado, grapeseedsweet almond, hazelnutjojoba, coconut and fractionated coconut oil are ideally suited for diluting to safe topical levels. We’ll cover how many drops of essential oil to add to your carrier oil later in this post.

Diffusion or topical application – which one is better?

It depends on what you want to accomplish. According to Robert Tisserand, inhaling essential oils is a very efficient way to absorb them quickly into the bloodstream.

“Inhaled substances pass down the trachea into the bronchi, and from there into finer and finer bronchioles, ending at the microscopic sac-like alveoli of the lungs, where gaseous exchange with the lungs mainly takes place.

The alveoli are extremely efficient at transporting small molecules, such as essential oil constituents, into the blood.” (Essential Oil Safety, p. 49)

A good rule of thumb for diffusing is 30-60 minutes on, one hour off, then repeat if desired.

Topical application is considered a better choice when you want to directly benefit the skin, or when you prefer for absorption to occur over a longer period of time. (It takes time for essential oils to get through the skin.)

essential-oil-dilution-guidelines-chart

How To Dilute Essential Oils For Topical Application

The dilution guide below is based on information found in Essential Oil Safety along with input from a clinical aromatherapist. Please note that these are guidelines and not rules. The individual needs of a person and the oil being used should also be considered.

Also, just because 1% dilution (1 drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil) is considered appropriate for a situation does not mean that all essential oils can be used at that concentration. For example, clove bud essential oil can be irritating if used over a 0.5% dilution (1 drop in 2 teaspoons of carrier oil). If you don’t have a copy of Essential Oil Safety, you can find the maximum recommended dilution for many popular essential oils here and here.

essential-oil-dilution-chart-final

In general, here are some guidelines I have found helpful when deciding how much to use in a particular situation:

.25% dilution – For children age 3 months to 2 years. Click here for more information on using essential oils on children under two.

1% dilution – For children two through six and individuals who need to take a more gentle path, such as those who are working to heal from serious health concerns or may have compromised immune function. This dilution is also a good rule of thumb for pregnant/nursing women, but in some cases a dilution of up to 2.5% may be appropriate.

1.5% dilution – For children ages six through fifteen. For ease of use, I sometimes round down to a 1% dilution. It’s hard to measure out half a drop!

2.5% dilution – This is typically the dilution recommended for most adults. It is also commonly used for daily body care products and massage oils. For facial skin care, a 1% is better. Because half a drop is hard to measure, I usually round down this dilution to 2%.

3 – 10% dilution – Most often used for support during certain kinds of injuries or acute illness. The dilution ratio depends on the situation, the age of the individual, and the type of oil being used.

25% dilution – Used on rare occasions to soothe muscle cramps/spasms, bruising, etc.

Need a specific dilution not covered here?

This customizable dilution calculator is pure genius.

Want a printable guide that you can refer to later?

No problem, I’ve created one for you as a gift for signing up for my newsletter. You’ll also get updates when I post about natural remedies and other topics, exclusive gifts and coupons (I was able to give away a jar of free coconut oil to anyone who wanted it recently!), plus other goodies.

Also, I’m a member of a Facebook group (not an admin) that you may find helpful – Using Essential Oils Safely. It’s not affiliated with any particular brand, and there are several aromatherapists that volunteer their time to answer questions and share recipes.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Teach Your Kids To Cook! (Free Mini-Class)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=38156 2016-05-27T17:23:10Z 2016-05-23T13:05:45Z Me: Hey guys, you need to go clean your playroom and then you can do whatever you want until Levi wakes up. Micah: We can play with sharp knives !?!!?!?!? Me: . . . . Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of giving my kids knives is a little terrifying. Unless you count “baking” […]

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Me: Hey guys, you need to go clean your playroom and then you can do whatever you want until Levi wakes up.

Micah: We can play with sharp knives !?!!?!?!?

Me: . . . .

Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of giving my kids knives is a little terrifying. Unless you count “baking” a potato in the microwave along with a few other – ummm, skills? – the reality is that I didn’t really learn to cook until after I got married. I can’t pull from personal experience about what helped me learn as a child, so I’ve struggled a lot with trying to figure out where to start and what’s age appropriate.

And yet, MY KIDS REALLY NEED TO LEARN . . . for their own good and my sanity!

That’s why I was so excited when my real-life friend Katie from Kitchen Stewardship gave me behind-the-scenes access into her new class, Kids Cook Real Food. If you don’t already know Katie, she’s a former teacher who totally gets how to break things down for kids (and their parents.)

Why Kids Need To Learn To Cook Real Food

There are so many reasons, really. It can help with:

  • Math (measuring ingredients, tracking cook times, etc.)
  • Developing fine motor skills (cutting bananas, peeling carrots)
  • Teaching responsibility (my personal goal is for my kids to make breakfast at least one morning a week)
  • Building self-confidence

Here are a few of my personal reasons for going through this class with the potami:

  1. I’ve noticed that the they’re more willing to try foods that they’ve helped prepare, so by welcoming them more into the process I’m helping them learn to love real food. Not just a handful of ingredients, but a huge variety that changes with the seasons . . . and their mama’s mood.
  2. I want to send them to college with a good understanding of how to care for themselves, both in solving everyday problems and taking care of their bodies. Teaching them to cook is fundamental to that. 
  3. I can really use the help, provided it’s actually help and not just my toddler rubbing butter in my hair.

That’s why I love this class. It’s practical and doable, and there suggestions for children of all skill levels. With Katie’s help, I can keep my toddler busy with a simple task while I work with the older kids on more advanced techniques. 

How To Get The Free Mini-Class

You guys, this class has me SO PUMPED about getting into the kitchen with my kids. Yes I said pumped. No I am not sure what decade that’s from. But seriously, my family needed this, and my guess is that some of you need it, too.

Right now Katie is giving away a three-part series that covers:

  • Basic Knife Safety and Techniques (Appropriate for ages 2-teen)
  • Challenges & Developmental Readiness
  • The Biggest Mistake Parents Make

 So are you ready to do this?

YES! I WANT TO TEACH MY KIDS KNIFE SKILLS!

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Alyssa - Everyday Maven http://www.everydaymaven.com <![CDATA[Coconut Strawberry Chia Pudding]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=45036 2016-05-20T06:18:04Z 2016-05-20T06:18:04Z Note from Mommypotamus: You know I’m a huge fan of recipes that take just five minutes of hands-on time – sour gummy snacks, resistant starch cookie dough bites, ketchup, to name a few. Today I’m thrilled to be sharing a delicious addition to our five minute collection from Alyssa of Everyday Maven. Thank you for sharing with […]

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chia-seed-puddingNote from Mommypotamus: You know I’m a huge fan of recipes that take just five minutes of hands-on time – sour gummy snacks, resistant starch cookie dough bites, ketchup, to name a few. Today I’m thrilled to be sharing a delicious addition to our five minute collection from Alyssa of Everyday Maven. Thank you for sharing with us, Alyssa!

A little over five years ago after the birth of my first son, I found myself on a journey to lose a good chunk of baby weight. Having grown up in a big cooking and eating family, good food has always mattered to me and I was sick of diets and trying a zillion different ways to lose weight that were all about deprivation, low fat foods and counting calories instead of quality.

So I started cooking and creating my own delicious real food recipes. Then, I started sharing my dishes with other moms around me who were in the same boat and that group kept growing and growing. That is where EverydayMaven was born.

My site and my outlook on food has evolved a lot over the last five years. The majority of the recipes on my site are Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Paleo-friendly. We avoid gluten because my older son doesn’t eat it, but it’s fair to say that we absolutely enjoy dairy, gluten-free grains and the occasional sweet treat.

While we make room for special treats at parties and big events, when it comes to everyday desserts, I like to keep the ingredients simple, the sugar low and most of all – make sure the dish is not only delicious but quick and easy!

Today, I want to share my recipe for Coconut Strawberry Chia Pudding. This is an awesome year-round dessert since it uses freeze-dried strawberries. You can make a batch in under 5 minutes and with a watchful eye over the blender, big kids can manage this recipe all on their own.

This recipe is paleo, gluten-free, grain-free and fantastic! I hope you all love it and will come and visit me over at my site or on one of my social channels.

chia-seed-pudding-recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Coconut Strawberry Chia Pudding
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 ounce freeze dried strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Pinch finely ground sea salt
  • Toasted coconut shavings for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in the body of a blender. Blend until completely liquefied and pour into two mason jars or other glass serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve (up to 3 days).
  2. Serve topped with toasted coconut shavings and enjoy!

 

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Andrea Wyckoff http://www.forestandfauna.com/ <![CDATA[Zucchini Pasta Carbonara]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=44975 2016-05-18T15:15:34Z 2016-05-18T15:15:34Z Note from Mommypotamus: Last weekend the potamus clan packed up some hoodies, left our goats and chickens in good hands, and headed for the mountains. While we’re gawking at elk that stroll right up to our lodge, Andrea of Forest and Fauna has graciously agreed to share her delicious recipe for zucchini pasta with us. Andrea […]

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zucchini-pasta

Note from Mommypotamus: Last weekend the potamus clan packed up some hoodies, left our goats and chickens in good hands, and headed for the mountains. While we’re gawking at elk that stroll right up to our lodge, Andrea of Forest and Fauna has graciously agreed to share her delicious recipe for zucchini pasta with us. Andrea is the author of Pure and Simple Paleo, a grain-free ebook that focuses on the low-starch recipes that have been essential to her healing journey. 

When a new way of drastically changes your life, helps you thrive despite being diagnosed with a crippling incurable disease, and empowers you to live your life with positive energy again, it’s hard not to want to shout it from the roof tops!! Six years ago I stumbled onto a new way of eating when I found the SCD diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which I later transitioned to a more Low Starch Paleo diet, and this grain-free approach has been my saving grace against the autoimmune disease of ankylosing spondylitis. I also put my IBD into total remission with my delicious and energizing diet changes. And the best part? I eat like a rock star these days! I am more in love with food than I ever was before, as I actually feel amazing when I eat amazing!

This pasta recipe below was inspired by a meal that was served to me by a sweet young Italian couple who I met while on a backing trip across Europe some 18 years ago. I did the trip at 20 years old, when I was quite the rebel who was intent on proving to herself and the world that a girl can do anything she puts her mind to – including work on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska for the summer – to then make enough money to sponsor her trip overseas for a month. This meal was one of my highlights on that trip. The couple who served it to me hardly spoke English, nor I Italian, but we all enjoyed each others company over the delicious meal they served to me. And while it was made in a punk rock squat in London, on their very modest budget, the flavors were so rich, you’d think you had just dined at an infamous Italian eatery. I will forever treasure that experience.

zucchini-pasta-recipe

Nowadays I don’t eat any grains or wheat so I simply subbed in zucchini noodles for the spaghetti noodles that are used in a traditional carbonara pasta dish. This recipe is really flexible, when it was served to me the gal made it with small bits of chopped pancetta, but I have used bacon as I love cooking the other veggies in the remaining bacon fat. From what I have read carbonara pasta is normally made by tossing the fresh hot noodles in egg yolk to lightly cook the eggs that way, but since we are using zucchini noodles that are not very high heat tolerant, I suggest scrambling and cooking the eggs separately, and then them tossing into the completed dish. If zucchini is not your thing, feel free to use any cooked noodle in this recipe, and if you’d rather do it vegetarian style, sub in your favorite cooking oil for the bacon fat. This pasta makes a great addition to a weekend brunch, outdoor picnic, or weeknight dinner.

zucchini-pasta-noodles-recipe

Zucchini Pasta Carbonara
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 zucchini, med/large size
  • 8 spears asparagus
  • ½ sweet onion
  • 4 rashers pastured bacon
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 clove garlic
  • fresh greens your choice: spinach, pea shoots
  • fresh herbs your choice: fresh dill, fresh rosemary, rosemary blossoms, and/or fresh basil
  • sea salt & black pepper: to taste
  • optional: 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • optional: 2 oz shaved hard sheep's cheese, like Pecorino Ramano or Idiazabal
Instructions
  1. Cut zucchini into noodles using a spiralizer or special veggie peeler. Option: for all white noodles, you can peel the zucchini first.
  2. Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat. While bacon is cooking, mince fresh herbs, chop garlic. When bacon is fully cooked, remove bacon, crumble after it cools, and set aside.
  3. Next cut asparagus into 2 inch long sections, and dice onion. Cook asparagus and onion in bacon grease over medium high heat. Alternatively, if you don't use the bacon, you can use your favorite cooking oil instead. Cook asparagus and onions for 7 minutes or so. Add in garlic for last 4 minutes or cooking time. Remove from pan.
  4. Scramble eggs in a small dish, then cook in bacon fat over medium low heat, then cut up the eggs with a spatula and set aside.
  5. Next gently warm up the zucchini noodles in bacon fat or a little olive oil. You just barely want to warm the noodles, so only heat a couple of minutes to prevent them from getting too soft.
  6. In a large bowl toss together zucchini noodles, bacon, asparagus, scrambled eggs, and fresh herbs. Season with sea salt & black pepper. Optional: shave a little hard sheep cheese over top. Serve.
  7. Note: if you plan to have leftovers it is better to not heat the extra zucchini noodles. You will want to keep the noodles separate from other ingredients until just before you are ready to eat.

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Jennifer Robins - Predominantly Paleo http://www.predominantlypaleo.com <![CDATA[Soft Pretzel Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=45028 2016-05-17T02:50:30Z 2016-05-16T15:23:58Z Note from Mommypotamus: Goat sitters – check! The potamus clan is thankful for the capable hands caring for our homestead while we have a little adventure in the mountains. While I’m breathing in the crisp, fresh air, Jennifer of Predominantly Paleo has graciously agreed to share a sneak peek from her upcoming Paleo Kids Cookbook. You know […]

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soft-pretzel-recipeNote from Mommypotamus: Goat sitters – check! The potamus clan is thankful for the capable hands caring for our homestead while we have a little adventure in the mountains. While I’m breathing in the crisp, fresh air, Jennifer of Predominantly Paleo has graciously agreed to share a sneak peek from her upcoming Paleo Kids Cookbook. You know I’m all about creating meals kids love – old favorites like chicken nuggets with ketchup along with more adventurous fare – and all I can say is GET. YOURS. NOW.  Jennifer’s cookbook is the real deal – there are so many deeply nourishing options plus real foodified treats like funnel cakes. Seriously, SHE FIGURED OUT FUNNEL CAKES, Y’ALL! 

Remember biting into your first soft pretzel as a child? Maybe it had big crystals of coarse salt, or maybe you had it basted with butter. That warm, doughy treat has long been a favorite for so many of us. When you give up gluten (and grain) it can feel like life gets a little less fun for awhile. Then you figure out maybe where to find substitutes for your favorites but their quality is lacking and they taste like overprocessed disappointment.

My entire goal in making whole food based recipes is to recreate favorites without compromising taste but while ensuring the quality of ingredients is intact. I never want a recipe to just be “good enough”, I want people to genuinely enjoy what they’re eating!

I’m so happy that Heather and I finally connected as I adore her work and feel like we both want our family life to be filled with joy and enthusiasm. I hope these soft pretzels will bring back childhood memories of your own and create some new ones for your little ones!

soft-pretzel-recipe-gluten-free

Soft Pretzel Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks
Ingredients
  • FOR THE WATER BATH
  • 10 cups (2.5 L) water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (18 g) sea salt
  • FOR THE PRETZELS
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water (around 110°F [43°C])
  • 1 packet gluten-free quick acting yeast
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) 100% maple syrup
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1 cup (128 g) cassava flour
  • 2 tbsp (18 g) psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tbsp (12 g) coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) ghee, avocado oil, olive oil or preferred cooking fat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218oC). Bring the water bath ingredients to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Combine the cup (240 ml) of warm water, yeast and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to multiply, for about 5 to 10 minutes. If it doesn’t froth or foam, toss the mixture and begin again. Either the yeast was dead or it was killed by the temperature of the water.
  3. Once your yeast mixture is frothy, add in the remaining pretzel ingredients, except the coarse salt and 2 tablespoons (30 g) of the cooking fat, and stir to combine. It now becomes easier to use your hands to combine the ingredients together more thoroughly. If making 4 large pretzels, divide the dough into 4 large pieces. If making smaller pretzels, divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces.
  4. Roll one of the dough pieces into a long snake about 18 inches (45 cm) long (shorter for the small pretzels) and then make a U shape. Twist the two ends of the “U” together, crossing once then twisting again and bring them to the base of the U where you can secure the twist by pressing it into the base. Transfer the pretzel to the boiling water bath and allow it to cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the pretzel with a skimmer and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. You can just make straight pretzel twists without having them be a traditional pretzel shape.
  5. Once all of the dough pieces have been boiled, baste them with the remaining
  6. tablespoons (30 g) of ghee or cooking fat, sprinkle with the coarse sea salt bake them for 15 to 20 minutes. e longer you bake them, the crispier the exterior will become. e inside should be soft. ese are best the same day or frozen and reheated in the toaster oven or conventional oven.

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Lorena Grater http://greenhealthycooking.com <![CDATA[Coconut Cream Cake]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=45034 2016-05-12T15:17:47Z 2016-05-12T14:34:52Z Note from Mommypotamus: My bags are packed! The potamus clan is leaving our goats and chickens in capable hands and heading to the mountains this weekend. While I round up stray pairs of socks and sweatshirts, Lorena of Green Healthy Cooking has graciously agreed to share this gorgeous gluten-free cake with you. If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, […]

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coconut-cream-cake-recipe-gluten-free

Note from Mommypotamus: My bags are packed! The potamus clan is leaving our goats and chickens in capable hands and heading to the mountains this weekend. While I round up stray pairs of socks and sweatshirts, Lorena of Green Healthy Cooking has graciously agreed to share this gorgeous gluten-free cake with you. If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. Thank you for sharing with us today, Lorena! 

I feel truly honored to be invited over to guest post on Heather’s blog. I’ve been following the Mommypotamus for more than 4 years now and absolutely love the extraordinary work she does for all of us. Being able to create a Coconut Cream Cake recipe for her readers, all of you guys, is about the most exciting challenge I’ve taken so far in my blogging career over at Green Healthy Cooking.

After discussing with Heather what kind of recipe you would probably like to see the most and after some baking tests to create that perrrrfect dessert, this gluten-free and dairy-free Coconut Cream Cake was born, which I almost called it Coconut DREAM Cake by the way! I find, the biggest challenge in gluten-free baking to be “spongy” cakes and the biggest challenge with dairy-free icings is achieving that “creamy” texture butter combined with super unhealthy icing sugar tends to provide. The test bakes resulted in an incredibly spongy cake iced with the creamiest icing you’ve tasted in your life! Make this cake for any kind of celebration: birthday, wedding, anniversary, mother’s day, father’s day, TGIF…you name it.

gluten-free-coconut-cream-cake-recipe

It is the first time I’ve worked with quinoa flour, a flour that will now become a staple in my kitchen. All almond flour cakes tend to be quite dense. The quinoa flour is what makes this cake spongy and airy. It does have a special taste to it so an all quinoa flour cake will probably taste a bit weird, but the mix made the cake’s taste and texture an absolute dream. I’m sure you will love it as much as all of the lucky taste testers did.

I’ve got to warn you about this recipe though. The reason I wanted to call this Coconut Cream Cake coconut DREAM cake is because eating it will result in minds wandering off to white sandy beaches in Mexico, it tastes pretty much like a cold piña colada but in form of a piece of cake. Are you drooling yet?

Coconut-Cream-Cake-Recipe-Almond-Flour

5.0 from 1 reviews
Coconut Cream Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 cups quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1¼ cups maple syrup (room temperature)
  • ¾ cups coconut oil (melted - room temperature)
  • 2 cans coconut cream*
  • ¼ cups maple syrup
  • ½ pineapple
  • ¼-1/3 cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).
  2. Grease bottom and sides of two 8" cake rounds with a little coconut oil, line bottom with parchment paper and then grease bottom again. (To get perfect circles place cake round on parchment paper and draw around it with a pen, then cut out just inside the line. Voilá.)
  3. Add almond flour, quinoa flour, baking powder and salt to a bowl and whisk until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, maple syrup and coconut oil. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. If the eggs or maple syrup is too cold, the coconut oil will harden and form clumps and make the cake very oily. If the coconut oil has been melted over to high heat and is hot, the egg will start cooking.
  5. Carefully fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Do not overmix or the cake will become dense. Just when the last dry ingredients start dissolving into the wet ingredients, stop folding.
  6. Add half of the batter to one cake round and the other half to the other round. If you want to do this exactly I recommend using a scale and weighing both the cake rounds to ensure they weigh the same.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. To ensure it is cooked, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean it's done, if not return to oven for another 5 minutes.
  8. While the cake batter is in the oven, add coconut cream only (no water at all) and maple syrup to a bowl and whisk until well combined and smooth. No need to whip the cream, just smooth out a little.
  9. Peel pineapple and cut into small pieces leaving out the hard center and only chopping the yellow flesh.
  10. Once cake batter is cooked, remove from oven, use an icing spatula or anything very thin and flat like and unsharp knife for example to go around the cake to remove from round's sides and turn onto a cooling rack. Since the cake round was lined with parchment paper it should come out easily so make sure you do it fast to avoid from braking.
  11. Let cool completely.
  12. Put one layer of cake onto your cake stand, spoon a big dollop of maple sweetened coconut cream on it and spread with an icing spatula or large knife.
  13. Now add a layer of cut up pineapple and then another thin layer of coconut cream to fill in the holes.
  14. Place the second layer of cake on top and then ice with the rest of the coconut cream until achieving a naked cake design, spreading evenly on the top and filling in holes on the sides but leaving the cooked cake batter exposed.
  15. Top with extra cut up pineapple for decoration and pour maple syrup on the top until it starts dripping down the sides. Enjoy!
  16. * where I live they sell already separated coconut cream. If you cannot find cans of coconut cream buy regular full fat coconut milk, place in the fridge over night, open can carefully without shaking and spoon out the cream that has formed on the top saving the coconut water at the bottom for something else.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Homemade Bleach Alternative]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=44980 2016-05-26T18:21:19Z 2016-05-10T17:28:07Z Natural bleach alternative (noun) – Various concoctions that are said to whiten and brighten clothes, but rarely work in real life. See also: Laundry unicorns. If that’s how you feel after trying a few bleach alternative recipes, I get it. I’ve tested everything from citric acid and lemon juice to vinegar and peroxide to whiten my […]

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homemade-bleach-alternative

Natural bleach alternative (noun) – Various concoctions that are said to whiten and brighten clothes, but rarely work in real life. See also: Laundry unicorns.

If that’s how you feel after trying a few bleach alternative recipes, I get it. I’ve tested everything from citric acid and lemon juice to vinegar and peroxide to whiten my clothes. Peroxide alone worked beautifully for awhile . . . and then it didn’t. When we moved to a homestead with spring water a few years ago, all my whites started to become dingy. Now, I adore all the lovely minerals in my water – I just don’t want them creating a yellow buildup on my sheets!

Why avoid bleach?

So was I tempted to cave and treat them with bleach? NO! Yes . . yes I was. Here’s the deal, though: As mentioned in this article from certified Building Biology practitioner Andrea Fabry,  a study conducted at the University of Leuven in Belgium – which included 9,000 children – concluded that:

Passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse effects on school-age children’s health by increasing the risk of respiratory and other infections. The high frequency of use of disinfecting irritant cleaning products may be of public health concern, also when exposure occurs during childhood.”

I could seriously go on, but the bottom line is this: There are a number of reasons to be concerned about the use of bleach, both in how it affects individuals and the environment. In contrast, the recipe I’m sharing with you contains only three simple ingredients:

  • hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into plain water after the extra oxygen atom is released
  • washing soda, which breaks down into soda ash
  • lemon essential oil

Finally, something that works!

Alright, back to my predicament with the yellow sheets. After a little research on homemade bleach alternatives, I discovered that the two active ingredients in store-bought oxygen bleaches are nothing more than sodium percarbonate (powdered hydrogen peroxide) and washing soda. Yep, that’s it!

I was already using washing soda in my homemade laundry detergent along with the occasional addition of peroxide, but in order to really have an effect on my whites I found I needed to increase the concentration significantly. This week, while I’m washing sheets, I decided to grab two pillow cases from my attic to show you how well it works. Here’s what they looked like before I put one in a bucket with this homemade bleach alternative – both pretty dingy!

bleach-alternative-before

Here’s how different they were after:

homemade-natural-bleach-alternative

bleach-alternative-recipe

Now, it’s not magic fairy dust. Your whites will not be so bright that they practically glow in the dark and you may need to treat them more than once, but I have had great results with this recipe.

So, is it colorfast?

Oxygen bleach is considered color safe, but not all clothing is colorfast. and therefore may be negatively affected by the bleach. Thanks to my adorable helpers, color clothes (and legos!) sometimes make it into a load of whites, and so far it’s been fine. However, I recommend testing for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area by soaking it in the mixture before using.

Your recipe says not to use hot water. Why?

In the instructions below you’ll see that hot water is used to dissolve the washing soda, but mainly room temperature water is used. I know this is pretty much contrary to everything we’ve been taught, but here’s the deal: Hot water weakens the active ingredient in both hydrogen peroxide and bleach. (source 1, source 2) Both substances degrade over time with exposure to light/air, and heat accelerates that process. Using room temperature water is going to feel weird – like having 10 minutes to yourself without any questions weird – but trust me, it will work out.

natural-bleach-alternative-recipe

Homemade Bleach Alternative

Ingredients/Equipment

3-5 gallon bucket (optional)

How To Make

Add essential oil to washing soda and stir thoroughly until the drops are well distributed. Add washing soda/lemon oil to hot water and stir until the washing soda is completely dissolved. In a separate container, measure out 1-2 cups hydrogen peroxide.

How To Use

I prefer to use this bleach alternative in concentrated form, so I pour the hot washing soda mixture into a large bucket (3-5 gallons), then add 28 cups room temperature water and 1-2 cups of hydrogen peroxide. I place my laundry in the bucket and soak overnight, then wash as normal. If needed, I repeat the process – old, set-in stains sometimes need more time to loosen up.

For a less concentrated form, you could add the washing soda mixture to your washing machine and select the “small” setting for your load size. Cool/room temperature water is best, because heat degrades the hydrogen peroxide. When the cool water has mixed with the hot water, add in the hydrogen peroxide. Place clothes in the washing machine and allow to soak before washing as usual – I find that overnight is best.

Storage

Because minerals found in water can accelerate the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide, I recommend making up batches as needed so that the hydrogen peroxide is as strong as possible.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Pepper Steak Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=44940 2016-05-09T21:38:39Z 2016-05-05T15:30:25Z They’re based on a traditional Japanese cracker. Crab rangoon was “first served by a French dude running a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco in the 1950s. He also would go on to invent the Mai Tai.” (source) Authentic might not be the right word for every dish served in an American Chinese restaurant, but delicious […]

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pepper-steak-recipe

They’re based on a traditional Japanese cracker. Crab rangoon was “first served by a French dude running a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco in the 1950s. He also would go on to invent the Mai Tai.” (source) Authentic might not be the right word for every dish served in an American Chinese restaurant, but delicious is a contender.

Now, if you’re like me, you might be speaking more from memory than current experience. After several severe reactions to MSG in college, I basically swore off Chinese food. That is, until last year when Russ Crandall released the Paleo Takeout cookbook. His sweet and sour chicken recipe (which he so graciously allowed me to share with you) inspired me to recreate a few of my other favorites.

This pepper steak recipe is super simple and kid-approved. Serve it up with plain white rice or cauliflower fried rice – I hope you love it as much as we do!

pepper-steak-recipe-easy

Pepper Steak Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Ingredients
  • 1 level tablespoon arrowroot powder (where to buy arrowroot powder)
  • ½ cup coconut aminos (where to buy coconut aminos)
  • 1½ pounds sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bell peppers (any color), cut into ¼-inch thick strips
  • 1 large onion, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick sections
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee or avocado oil (I prefer refined coconut oil rather than virgin for this recipe because the flavor is more mild)
  • 2-3 cups cooked white rice or cauliflower fried rice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place coconut aminos and arrowroot powder in a small cup and set aside.
  2. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large pan (I use my well-seasoned cast iron skillet), heat 2 tablespoons of oil/ghee over medium/high heat. Add half of the steak and cook until browned on all sides but still pink in the center. Remove steak and place it in a bowl, then add the remaining steak - and one additional tablespoon of oil if needed - then repeat the process.
  4. After you transfer the second batch of meat to the bowl, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the bell peppers, onion and garlic. Stir-fry over medium heat for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the meat back in to the pan. Whisk the ingredients in your cup and pour them over the meat/veggies. Bring the liquid to a simmer and let it cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and serve with white rice or cauliflower fried rice.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[14 Soothing Natural Sunburn Remedies]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=44871 2016-05-03T16:55:22Z 2016-05-03T16:33:57Z Sunscreen lotion bars? Check! Long-sleeved swim shirts, hats, and a shady place to rest? Check, check and check! Whether it’s our annual trip to the beach or a more local adventure, I’m very conscious about making sure my family avoids sunburns. That’s not to say I think appropriate sun exposure is a bad thing – […]

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sunburn-remedies

Sunscreen lotion bars? Check! Long-sleeved swim shirts, hats, and a shady place to rest? Check, check and check!

Whether it’s our annual trip to the beach or a more local adventure, I’m very conscious about making sure my family avoids sunburns. That’s not to say I think appropriate sun exposure is a bad thing – in fact Dr. Pelle Lindqvist, lead author of the Journal of Internal Medicine study which found that sun avoidance “is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking,” said that “being too restrictive regarding sun exposure may do more harm than good for health.” (source 1, source 2)

That said, sometimes life (and overexposure to the sun) happens when we’re making plans. I hope you won’t them this summer, but just in case a sunburn happens here are some natural sunburn remedies I’ve collected from respected doctors and herbalists. I’ve included links to studies that support their use along with explanations of why they work where applicable. I hope you find it helpful!

[Note: Though the Mayo Clinic says most first and second degree burns can be treated at home, serious burns should be treated professionally. Please do not use any home remedies on serious burns.]

14 Natural Sunburn Remedies

sunburn-remedies-aloe-vera

Aloe Vera

My grandmother’s favorite “owie balm” was a freshly plucked aloe vera leaf – turns out she was onto something!

According to Dr. Ian Tizard, a professor of immunology at Texas A&M University, aloe vera “comes out of the plant like a clear liquid, but when it touches human skin, it becomes a gel. It acts as a wound sealant in this gel state, and no other plants do so.” (source)

Apparently the plant contains a polysaccharide that is found in lots of plants, but somehow works differently in aloe. “It seems to bind growth factors in wounds whereas normally they would be destroyed. Aloe vera polysaccharide seems to speed along the healing process much quicker,” he says.

Fresh aloe is preferred, because as the World Health Organization puts it aloe is sensitive to “enzymatic, oxidative, or microbial degradation.” (source) According to their medicinal plants portal, aloe vera gel “has been effectively used in the treatment of first- and second-degree thermal burns and radiation burns. Both thermal and radiation burns healed faster with less necrosis when treated with preparations containing Aloe Vera Gel (18, 19).”

If you’ve never grown fresh aloe, it’s very easy. Just keep it in a sunny window and follow these watering/repotting instructions.

To use: Break open a leaf and rub on skin.

natural-remedy-for-burns

Honey

As I mentioned in this burn salve recipe that blends honey with lavender essential oil, there is a lot of research that supports the use of honey for common kitchen burns, sunburns and more.

The sticky stuff’s been used as a topical burn salve since Egyptian days. ‘Studies suggest it may work better than some antibiotic creams at speeding up healing, reducing infection, and minimizing pain,’ says Kathi Kemper, M.D., author of The Holistic Pediatrician.” (source)

It’s not my first choice for larger body application simply because it’s sticky, but it is an option.

sunburn-remedies-treatments

Witch Hazel

Made from the bark from the witch hazel tree, this extract is high in tannins that soothe sunburned skin. (source 1, source 2) I prefer this brand because they double distill their extract – the final extract contains 86% organic witch hazel. They also use less alcohol than other brands, which makes it more gentle.

How to use it: Place in a spray bottle and spray skin, or apply using a soft washcloth or cotton balls.

sunburn-remedies-vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Though there is not a consensus on why this works, this study did conclude that apple cider vinegar supports healing after a burn. Some say it is because the apple cider vinegar restores damaged skin’s pH, while other’s say it’s due to the high percentage of “pectin, succared, vitamins (B1, B2, B6) (A, E, C), salt, mineral[s such as] as (sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, phosphor, cobber, [and] silicon).” (source) White vinegar is also considered helpful.

How to use it: Some people add one cup of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) to a tepid bath, while others prefer to dilute it (50% water and 50% vinegar) and spray it on or apply with a soft washcloth.

Essential Oils

According to Medical Aromatherapy, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and German Chamomile are both helpful for soothing sunburned skin. Another excellent option is helichrysum italicum. Peppermint and rosemary ct. cineole can also soothe because they create a cooling sensation on the skin, but they should not be used with small children – more info in this guide to using essential oils safely with kids.

If you don’t have any of those available, these are considered good second tier options: Carrot seed (not for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding), frankincense, manuka, and neroli. (source 1, source 2)

How to use them: Some oils – lavender, chamomile and tea tree, for example – can be safely used undiluted on occasion, provided the area of application is small. However, in this instance it is recommended that they be diluted along with the others – somewhere between a 1-2% dilution (1-2 drops per teaspoon of oil) is considered appropriate.

Note: German chamomile should not be taken with certain drugs. See a list of them here.

sunburn-remedies-tea

Tea

Green tea contains catechins and black tea contain tannins, both of which are considered cooling for sunburns. They also contain theobromine, which may help ease discomfort and support healing. (source)

Peppermint tea – which contains essential oils high in menthol – can also create a gentle cooling sensation.

How to use: Brew a strong cup of tea and allow to cool. Apply using a soft washcloth or cotton balls.

sunburn-remedies-milk

Whole Milk

According to John F. Romano, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, the fat content of whole milk “makes it a great compress for sunburn pain.” (source)

How to use it: “Dip some gauze in whole milk and apply it to sunburned areas for about 20 minutes, repeating this process every two to four hours. Be sure to wash off the milk to avoid having your skin smell sour.” (source)

sunburn-remedies-baking-soda

Baking Soda Bath

Seattle Children’s Hospital recommends 1/4 cup of baking soda in a bath to help with discomfort. Soap should be avoided as it can be irritating. (source)

To use: Add to tepid water and soak for 15-20 minutes, then allow skin to air dry or gently pat it dry. Bathe once or twice per day as needed. (Personal note: Because baking soda is alkaline and healthy skin has a slightly acidic pH, it might be a good idea to follow the bath with a diluted vinegar spray to balance skin pH.)

Plantain

As I mention in my tutorial on how to make plantain salve, this common “weed” (which is not related to the banana-like tree) is sometimes called the “band aid” plant. Due to the presence of iridoids, it has a very soothing effect on skin. (source) It also contains allantoin, which supports skin healing. (source 1source 2)

sunburn-remedies-epsom-salt

Epsom Salt

Taz Bhatia, MD, founder and medical director of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, recommends topically applying epsom salt to reduce irritation. (source) Though she didn’t mention it, I know a lot of people who are sensitive to epsom salts use magnesium chloride instead.

To use: “Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of water in a spray bottle, and then spray the mixture on the sunburn.” (source) Another option is to add 1-2 cups of epsom salt/magnesium chloride to a tepid bath.

Calendula

Flavonoid-rich petals from the calendula flower have used in traditional medicine to soothe burns, cuts, bruises, etc. Several modern studies, including this one, have found it can be helpful in supporting burn healing.

How to use it: The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends calendula “as an ointment or a tea applied topically. To make tea from tincture, use 1/2 to 1 tsp. diluted in 1/4 cup water. You can also steep 1 tsp. of flowers in one cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain and cool. Test skin first for any allergic reaction.” (source)

Turmeric Paste

This study found that turmeric paste has properties similar to honey in supporting wound healing. According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, “Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent.” (source)

How to use it: Mix turmeric with water, milk, or aloe vera until it forms a paste. Gently apply to skin and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

sunburn-remedies-oatmeal

Oatmeal

Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath can soothe skin and help with itching, says Patricia K. Farris, M.D., professor of dermatology at Tulane University in New Orleans. (source)

How to use: Grind one cup of oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder. Add to a tepid bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. If sensitive to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free oatmeal.

Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Etc. (With a caveat)

While usually considered beneficial, moisturizers like coconut oil and shea butter can trap heat and delay healing for sunburned skin. It is generally recommended that they be avoided until the skin is cool and healing is underway, although a small amount of oil used to dilute essential oils may be appropriate. After the skin has cooled they are considered helpful for restoring lost moisture.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[5 Myths About Mercury Detox You Need To Know]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=44803 2016-05-15T16:04:35Z 2016-04-28T15:47:31Z Hydrargyrum . . .  Mercury. It’s been described in lots of ways throughout history, but these days just about everyone from the CDC to the World Health Organization seems to be on the same page about one thing – it’s highly toxic. Though it’s a naturally occurring element (oddly, the only metal that is liquid at room […]

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mercury-detox

Hydrargyrum . . .  Mercury. It’s been described in lots of ways throughout history, but these days just about everyone from the CDC to the World Health Organization seems to be on the same page about one thing – it’s highly toxic.

Though it’s a naturally occurring element (oddly, the only metal that is liquid at room temperature), it was only present in very small amounts in the surface environment until the past century, when industrial activities began releasing it on a massive scale. Once released, it can circulate in the environment indefinitely – a fact which has sparked an international effort to reduce mercury emissions.

Mercury can cause organ damage, immune system damage, and cognitive problems. (source) It is considered a risk factor for autoimmune disorders in women of childbearing age and has been implicated in a variety of other disorders. I wrote more about what experts have to say on the risks of mercury exposure here.

What are the most common sources of mercury?

According to the World Health Organization, dental amalgams are the primary source of mercury exposure for individuals who have “silver” fillings. (source)  Though they were once believed to be inert, current research shows chewing, drinking hot liquids, brushing teeth and other activities releases mercury vapor from amalgams. (source 1, source 2) It is estimated that about 80% of the inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed by the lungs and dispersed throughout the body. (source)

There are other routes of mercury exposure as well: fish and shellfish, skin lightening creams, and pharmaceutical preservatives, for example.

The Detox Dilemma

Daddypotamus and I have tried to limit our family’s exposure by eating seafood that is low in mercury (you can find a list here), but until last year he did have “silver” fillings. I’ve already shared with you why he opted to have his dental amalgams removed, along with information about removing fillings safely and how to find a provider.

I’d planned to help him detox after the removal (because, as has already been established, exposure is definitely occurring), but after reading several books on the subject and talking to our local holistic doctor I did . . . nothing.

The problem? Once he got to his appointment the dentist expressed concerns about the approach we’d decided on with our holistic M.D., and after considering his input I wasn’t able to find an approach I felt comfortable with.

I continued reading and researching, but I’d pretty much hit a wall until I heard Chris Kresser and Dr. Chris Shade, who founded Quicksilver Scientific, discuss a new approach in this podcast, which led me to several more hours of interviews and scientific articles.

If you’re not familiar with him, Dr. Shade is a specialist in the environmental and analytical chemistries of mercury who developed a patented analytical technology for mercury speciation analysis. (In plain English, that means he’s figured out a way to detect different types of mercury in the body, as well as determine how well the body is eliminating them.)

What I learned helped pull together all the research I’ve been gathering. I highly recommend you listen to the podcast, but if you’re like me you may need to hear it 2-3 times before it all sinks in. Before you pop over, here are some key points that will help it come together.

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 and this is not medical advice. If you need some convincing on this, read my full disclaimer where I say it over and over again. Okay, let’s jump in!

mercury-detox-protocol

Myth #1: A single diagnostic test can detect all forms of mercury

When it comes to testing individuals for mercury, it’s often assumed that all forms of mercury are equally represented in the results. However, according to Dr. Shade, the form of mercury found in amalgams (inorganic mercury) doesn’t show up in hair analysis, and is poorly represented in blood tests. It might show up in urine, but only if the body’s detox pathways are functioning optimally.

On the other hand, organic mercury (such as methylmercury found in fish) shows up in hair and is better detected in blood. While that’s good information to have, it’s far too easy to overlook the presence of inorganic mercury, which is highly toxic to the body.

Dr. Shade also brings up another issue with testing –  challenge tests. Basically, the idea here is that some individuals with mercury exposure have a difficult time eliminating it. So it may be there, but looking for it in blood/urine/hair isn’t all that helpful if it’s trapped in tissues. When practitioners suspect this might be happening, they sometimes recommend a “challenge test” that uses a chelator like DMSA (meso-2, 3-dimercaptosucccinic acid) to mobilize mercury in the body, then measures what it mobilizes.

Think of it like this: You have a glass of water with sediment in it. If you draw water off the top and test for sediment, it will come back relatively “clean” because the sediment is at the bottom. However, if you stir the glass first, a lot more sediment will be present in the sample. Challenge testing is kind of like that.

The potential problem with this approach is that the low, mid-range, and high levels for mercury were established in people who didn’t receive a chelator. In other words, their “glasses” were not stirred before samples were taken. Those who had a lot of sediment in their samples probably had a lot more sediment at the bottom. In the stirred samples, the overall amount of sediment might be much smaller, but the lab tests will show them to be about equal. This may cause some people to believe that they have “high” levels of mercury when in reality they might have low/average levels compared to the rest of the population. To make the situation even more challenging, some people with severely compromised detox pathways may not excrete much mercury even with the challenge test. This might lead a practitioner to conclude that not much mercury is present when in fact it is.

To solve these problems, Dr. Shade adapted a technique he developed for detecting different forms of environmental mercury – either from chronic or acute exposure – into a diagnostic lab test that doesn’t utilize challenge testing. It’s called the Tri-test, and it determines not only the type of mercury present, but also how well the body is eliminating it. You can find the lab test here. (This is not an affiliate link. I have no financial connection with the lab except as a customer.)

Myth #2: Chelation is the best starting point for everyone

Most mercury detox protocols involve the use of chelators – either natural ones like chlorella or prescription ones like DMSA (meso-2, 3-dimercaptosucccinic acid) or DPMS (2,3-dimercaptopropan-1-sulfonic acid) sometimes used in challenge tests. While they can be useful in mobilizing mercury in the body, according to Dr. Shade that’s only helpful if the body’s detox pathways are working properly and they can flush it out.

For certain people who have compromised detox pathways (either due to the effects of mercury accumulation or genetic mutations such as MTHFR), the mercury may fail to leave the body and move to another part of the body instead. The big concern is that it might move to the brain or another vital organ, which may cause more harm than wherever it was before. (This is also considered by some to be a concern with respect to challenge testing.)

Here’s how Dr. Shade explains it in the interview.

There are plenty of capable practitioners who have made great strides with people with DMPS and DMSA, but these were chelators that were designed for industrial environments. DMPS was made for factory workers in the battery industry in Russia and Eastern Germany that were exposed to very high levels of lead and cadmium, and they were able to take these otherwise healthy people that were clearly just metal toxic and bring down those loads and get them back to work.

But the problem is a lot of the people that we deal with have multifactorial problems. There are some infectious problems, there are leaky gut problems, there are some kidney problems, and that’s leading to them accumulating toxins, like metals, and them being hyper-toxic or hypersensitive to those metals. So trying to grab those metals and say, ‘Well, that’s the only problem; let’s just force them out through the kidneys,’ often leads to more harm than good.”

Rather than take this approach, Dr. Shade starts by supporting the body’s detox pathways – making sure the drains are open, if you will. In scientist-speak that sounds like this:

On a microcosm, that’s the cell and that’s the chemistry in the cell, and so that’s going to turn up the metal’s resistance of the cell as it pushes things out of the cell into the circulating fluids, but that’s also responsible for the macrocosmic effect of moving those metal-glutathione conjugates out into the urine flow, out into the bioflow. So on one level, we turn up the cellular resistance. On a larger level, we turn up what’s called the drainage or the movement of those out of circulation and into fecal excretion and urinary excretion. So upregulating of the glutathione system is the detox approach that we use.”

In practical terms, what you need to know is that he’s developed a supplement protocol that supports detoxification. Though a few products are available directly to the public, most have to be obtained through a practitioner. If you don’t have one near you, they do have a practitioner who works with long-distance clients. You can find a list of practitioners that use his protocol here. (Again, this is not an affiliate link.)

Myth #3: Mercury affects everyone the same way

This myth is not directly related to the podcast, but I think it’s worth including. As mentioned in this post on dental amalgams, some researchers believe that certain individuals are genetically more vulnerable to the adverse effects of mercury than others.

This analysis of a study on children found “evidence of harm,” including neurobehavioral deficits and kidney damage, in children who were exposed to mercury via dental amalgams. The group that seemed to be most susceptible were boys with the CPOX4 genetic mutation, but the analysis says that at least five other mutations “appear to convey increased susceptibility to mercury toxicity.”

Historically, some practitioners used to believe there was a specific cutoff point between “of concern” and “not of concern” numbers. However, as we learn more about epigenetics (the interaction between our genes and environmental factors), the cutoff point seems to be more nuanced.

Myth #4: You can’t detox until all amalgams are removed

So here’s a question that a lot of patients are often concerned with, which is we do the testing, we find out they have high levels of mercury, and they still have dental amalgams, but maybe for financial reasons or where they live, they can’t get them, at least, all taken out immediately, and they want to know whether they can start treatment when they’re still present. And in the past, of course, the idea of starting chelation when you still had amalgams, was not great.” – Chris Kresser

As someone who has been through this with my husband (having to wait until budget and provider availability were both in place), I was SO HAPPY to hear Dr. Shade’s response. Basically, he reiterated that chelation is not a good idea for the reasons discussed above, but optimizing detox pathways with the first phase of his protocol is considered appropriate.

With this system, you can. As I said, you start low and you work up high. You’re not going to go to the highest levels of this while you still have amalgams, but you can do the earliest levels and not have a problem at all.”

Myth #4 You absolutely must have a lab test before getting started

One of the things Chris Kresser brought up in the interview is that many lab tests are not covered and some individuals need to save their money for treatment. While both of them agreed that lab results are helpful, I love that Kresser asked this question:

So is there any risk in someone—a clinician or a patient—doing a therapeutic trial of, like, the Detox Qube protocol without doing the testing?

Dr. Shade’s response:

No. The difference is you have to listen more. You have to listen to your body and your symptoms more and be just more aware of how it’s going. The one thing that is difficult with treatment is when the urine-to-blood ratios are bad, so I would preemptively do kidney support with it. If you do the testing, you decide to add it or don’t add it. If you’re not going to do the testing, absolutely add the kidney support just as a prophylactic measure. And then just be aware of how the treatment is going, and don’t push yourself too hard. If you’re feeling very symptomatic, back up. But there’s no problem as long as you do that.”

Questions about mercury detox?

I’m not an expert, but I am working with a practitioner who is very knowledgeable about Dr. Shade’s protocol. If you have a question leave it below and I’ll see what I can find out for you! (Update: I am not able to give – or pass along – medical advice pertaining to specific situations, but if you have general questions about mercury detox please let us know!)

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