But I imagine it’s a lot like watching the Vitamix leave the other May giveaway options in the dust. And why not? The Vitamix can easily do the work of a blender, food processor, hot pot (for soups), ice crusher, sorbet maker, meat grinder, coffee grinder and – with the right attachments – a grain grinder and dough mixer!
This month, I’m giving away a Vitamix 5200S with a 7-year full warranty, instructional DVD and recipe book. So what can you do with this thing if you win? I’m glad you asked! For starters, the Vitamix 5200S can . . . .
Photo courtesy of Lisa at Real Food Kosher. You can find her recipe here.
You want to add the dry container and blade to your list of kitchen tools you can also:
Oh, you’re grain-free? Grind navy beans into flour for cakes and creamy homestyle gravy!
It’s simple! I have back-to-back giveaways planned for at least the next few months, but to be eligible to win you must be subscribed to my monthly newsletter. (I never sell or give your address to anyone – the only person you’ll hear from is me!)
Ready to enter? Here’s what you need to do:
1. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter
2. Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter (You can sign up in Rafflecopter)
3. Sign up for as many extra entries as you want.
The Vitamix will be shipped to U.S. residents only. Winners who are residents outside of the U.S. will receive an Amazon gift card for the lowest listed price on Amazon.Read More »
There is this one thing, though, can you guess?
A) We are all related to General George S. Patton
B) We’ve all wet our pants on stage
C) We have all been sawed in half by David Copperfield
Okay, okay. It’s none of those. Only Kate Middleton (Mountbatten-Windsor, Duchess of Cambridge) is related to General Patton, Fergie is the only one to wet her pants on stage (though I confess I have in private), and only the mysterious Penelope Cruz has been a lovely assistant for Mr. Copperfield.
We DO have something in common, though:
We’re planning a home water birth (you can read Katie & Micah’s stories here), and we hope to do some special things along the way, too. So excited to share this journey with you!Read More »
If anyone figures out how please let me know. You see, I ♥ handmade gifts, but apart from making my own balms, soaps and shampoo, my crafty score is 0. With Mother’s Day around the corner, though, I decided to look for a homemade gift idea that doesn’t require sewing skills, decoupage, or, um, talent.
Fortunately, I came across this gorgeous photo of a flower pot decorated with butterfly footprints and thought “Hey, my five year old could do that . . . maybe I can too!“
And water-based acrylic paint, it turns out I CAN! I’ll bet you can, too. If you want to give it a go you’re going to need some kids to get started. I recommend using your own.
[Note: If no kids are available and you want to make this for your mom go ahead and use your own feet. Don’t forget to write your age on the back because she might get them confused with your earlier creations. I mean, sure, the size 7 print might help her keep things straight, but just in case . . . ]
The first step is to gain their cooperation. Promise them that they will get messy and hand them their own custom blend of colors. You should be good.
Now grab your supplies and follow these steps.
* The manufacturer says they’re non-toxic. I’m not sure we have the same definition of toxic, but the paint was on and off my kids feet in a flash. Judge me, okay?
Give the butterfly print to your mom. Or, if you’re like me, decide to keep them and send her this tutorial instead. Just kidding, Mom! I’m going back to the store tomorrow.
Read More »
YAY! I’m super excited about announcing the winner of the Branch Basics giveaway today, because mystery person “X” is a longtime reader who has been stopping by dish about everything from birth and motherhood to sunscreen and whether healthy kids get sick for years now.
Congratulations Kirsten V (kirstenvossl**@ . . . .), you won the 5 gallon pail of Branch Basics plus three 32 ounce spray bottles! Please email me at support at mommypotamus.com with your mailing address and your prize will be in the mail soon.
If you didn’t win, Branch Basics has created a coupon code that can help you save an average of 65% off your regular “green” cleaners. Store-bought “eco-friendly” cleaners – which often contain questionable ingredients – cost an average of $6.18 AND their uses are very limited.
Right now, though, Mommuypotamus readers can get the Branch Basics concentrate for 30% off with coupon code MOMMYP30. Let’s grab a calculator and see how that works out, shall we?
Click on the link below to order Branch Basics for 30% off right now with coupon code MOMMYP30 (offer expires May 1st!!!)
Or maybe you would describe it as being electrocuted by gnomes with tiny live wires? If either of these sound familiar, you may be one of the 12 million Americans who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).
Doctors say there is no known cause or cure, but they can help you manage the symptoms with anticonvulsants, tranquilizers, opioids, and Parkinson’s disease medications. Watch out, though! You may need a few extra medications to manage the potential side effects: amnesia, the urge to binge on food or shop compulsively, breathing problems, dizziness, nausea and fatigue. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)
The worst part? RLS tends to flare up the most during pregnancy, and none of these medications are safe for baby.
Fortunately, managing RLS naturally might be easier than you think. I’ve struggled with this sleep thief off and on since I was about 8 years old, and was taking tranquilizers to manage it by my early twenties. Fortunately, through a little trial and error I’ve been able to eliminate it without the help of medications. Here’s what I’ve learned about the possible causes of RLS, and how I’ve managed it naturally for the past 7 years.
Magnesium is needed to push excess calcium out of cells so that smooth muscle can relax. A deficiency can cause muscle tightening, twitches, involuntary jerks, and charlie horses.
What to do: It’s difficult to get adequate levels of magnesium through food for three reasons:
The good news is, magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin! You can supplement with magnesium oil (here’s where to get it), epsom salt baths, or pico-ionic magnesium (a highly bioavailable form taken internally)
I also make sure to get other minerals that are known to be helpful for calming restless legs, such as potassium. My favorite “supplement” is homemade bone broth with a pinch of unrefined sea salt, which is an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and trace minerals. Here’s how to make it.
But what about the 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium intake I’m supposed to have? Won’t this mess me up?
Experts often suggest that people need to consume twice as much calcium as magnesium for bone health. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, the supposed “ideal” ratio is a myth. Apparently, the recommendation goes back to statements made by French scientist Jean Durlach, who warned that calcium intake should never dip exceed twice the amount of magnesium consumed. New research indicates why he made this suggestion – without adequate magnesium, calcium can calcify soft tissue and contribute to heart disease. (source)
According to Dean, “A hundred years ago we enjoyed a diet high in magnesium with a daily intake of 500 mg. Today we are lucky to get 200 mg. However, calcium in the diet has never been higher. This high-calcium, low-magnesium diet, when coupled with calcium supplementation, can give a calcium to magnesium imbalance of 10:1 or even higher — which constitutes a walking time bomb of impaired bone health and heart disease.” (source)
Dr. Dean recommends getting a 1:2 or at least a 1:1 (calcium to magnesium) ratio in the diet.
Other considerations: LOTS of drugs – from Maalox to Ritalin to the birth control pill – deplete magnesium. Here’s a partial list. Also, some drugs interact with magnesium, so caution should be used when supplementing.
This actually relates back to magnesium. “Too much estrogen can lead to magnesium deficiency and vitamin B deficiency, according to Dr. John Lee. A deficiency in magnesium causes muscle tightening and that causes people to experience the leg spasms common in RLS. The deficiency in vitamin B can cause neurological problems, which is what causes the creepy, crawly sensations.” (source)
According to this study, “Patients with RLS have lower levels of dopamine in the substantia nigra and respond to iron administration. Iron, as a cofactor in dopamine production, plays a central role in the etiology of RLS.”
Low dopamine can cause neurological problems such as the creepy crawly sensations described above. That’s why Parkinson’s drugs work – they boost dopamine levels with a synthetic version.
Before you rush of to supplement with iron, though, there are two things to consider. First, iron and magnesium compete for receptor sites in the body, so taking too much can affect your magnesium stores.
Second, according to Dr. Campbell-McBride iron supplementation can actually make anemia worse under certain conditions:
Most people with abnormal gut flora have various stages of anaemia. It is not surprising. They not only can’t absorb essential for blood vitamins and minerals from food, but their own production of these vitamins is damaged. On top of that people with damaged gut flora often have a particular group of pathogenic bacteria growing in their gut, which are iron-loving bacteria (Actinomyces spp., Mycobacterium spp., pathogenic strains of E. coli, Corynebacterium spp., and many others). They consume whatever iron the person gets from the diet, leaving that person deficient in iron. Unfortunately, supplementing iron makes these bacteria grow stronger and does not remedy anaemia.” (Gut & Psychology Syndrome)
As mentioned under the thyroid section, a deficiency in B vitamins can cause neurological issues which result in tingling sensations.
So that’s it! Everything I’ve learned about Restless Leg Syndrome and a bag of chips (fried in coconut oil, of course!)
Disclaimer: None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You can see my full disclaimer here.Read More »
What product is powerful enough to use as a stain remover, dish detergent and, um, bug killer, yet safe enough to use as a tear-free baby shampoo? The answer, of course, is Branch Basics, a 100% pure all-purpose solution that can replace virtually ALL the cleaners in your house!
What makes this soap so special? Well, if you pull out the cleaners underneath your sink or in your laundry room, you’ll probably find that even the “green” ones contain quite a few unpronounceable ingredients, not to mention derivatives of GMO corn. Branch Basics, on the other hand, contains only ingredients that you can pronounce!
It is human-safe, kills bacteria such as e. coli and salmonella, breaks down hydrocarbons/pesticides, and combats viruses and mold. Oh, and it really is tear-free. I rubbed it my eyes to check.
I’ve also used it to wash my veggies, clean my bathroom and remove permanent marker. It’s amazing stuff!
Very simply, it works by enzymatic action – penetrating and breaking up oil molecules into soluble, biodegradable components. This process contributes to the soap’s natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Used at full strength it can kill bugs by degreasing/breaking down their exoskeletons, while a 1:5 dilution is gentle enough to use as baby wash. Used in one of three basic dilutions, Branch Basics can outperform many of the toxic solvents, detergents, and cleaning products it replaces.
Seriously, take a look at all the things you can do with this stuff!
Good! Branch Basics has generously offered a 5 gallon pail of their amazing cleaning solution plus three spray bottles so that one of you, my lovely readers, can mix up a few different concentrations to try.
There are 3 easy steps to enter:
#1 Follow the link below and sign up for the Branch Basics newsletter on their site, then select the “Join The Branch Basics Newsletter” option in Rafflecopter.
#2 – Like Branch Basics on Facebook, then make sure you get credit by posting your entry in Rafflecopter
3. Sign up for extra entries using Rafflecopter.
Store-bought “green” cleaners with questionable ingredients cost an average of $6.18 and their uses are very limited. A 32 oz bottle of Branch Basics concentrate price will make about 6 all-purpose spray bottles (32 oz) at a cost of about $4.58 each (about $0.14/ounce), and you can use it for virtually every cleaning need.
The 5 gallon concentrate will make 120 spray bottles (32 oz.) for only $2.95 each!
You can order Branch Basics for 30% off right now with coupon code MOMMYP30, and if you win your purchase will be refunded! For example, if you order a gallon you’ll receive that gallon plus 4 more.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.Read More »
That lavender and tea tree oil can cause little boys to grow breasts? Though I’ve definitely pulled out the lavender for my kids on many occasions and I use tea tree oil in my diaper wipe solution, there have been times when I’ve held back over concerns about possible estrogenic effects, both for them and myself.
Turns out, there was probably nothing to worry about.
Thanks to a tip from Paula on a Facebook post last week, I dug up the often cited 2007 study which first claimed lavender and tea tree oil are hormone disruptors. Not only was it poorly constructed and vague, it has a sample pool of only three people!!
The boys (ages four, seven and ten), apparently used **some kind of product** which contained these oils. The products weren’t analyzed for the presence of other potential hormone disruptors, and the oils weren’t checked for purity. After developing their hypothesis, the researchers decided to test lavender and tea tree oil with human cells in a petri dish. Though the results did show estrogenic activity, that’s probably because the solvent they used to dilute the oils – dimethyl sulfoxide – is a known estrogen mimicker! Furthermore:
“If you take a close look at the study, some issues are raised . . . The full list of ingredients in these products were not mentioned, nor the possible chemicals included in the packaging of the products. Parabens were likely included in the ingredients and phthalates in the packaging. In a recent study, diethyl phthalate was found in 103 out of 252 products, which included fragrances, hair care products, deodorants, nail polishes, lotions, skin cleansers and baby products.3 Both phthalates and parabens have been shown to have an estrogenicity presence.4&5“
Clearly, the results of this study are desperately lacking in meaningful analysis. So what do we know, really?
According to three doctors representing Wake Forest, Yale and Harvard respectively, “Traditional use and clinical trials have not suggested estrogenic effects of tea tree or lavender oil, though estrogenic effects have been reported for other essential oils and plants.” (Source)
Even more helpful is this study, which measured “the effect of a test substance on the uterus of immature or estrogen-deprived female rats over three days. Any estrogenic action causes a rapid and measurable increase in uterine weight. The assay has been in use since the 1930s, was adopted by the OECD in 2007, and is now regarded as the ‘benchmark animal assay for estrogenic effects.'” (Source: World renowned essential oil expert Robert Tisserand)
The results? Even in concentrations 6,000 and 30,000 times greater than estimated exposure from multiple cosmetic products containing lavender oil, there was absolutely no effect on the uterus of the rats.
Zip. Nada. Nothing.
As far as I can tell, the 2007 study is the only one which implicates lavender and tea tree as estrogenic. Given how poorly constructed it was and the fact that the only “gold standard” study we have says lavender is not estrogenic, I am not inclined to trust the results on tea tree oil either. Thank you Paula for putting my mind at ease!
This quick BBQ sauce has become a favorite on briskets, ribs, grilled chicken, pulled pork and the occasional burger. Oh sure, you’ll find fancier recipes out there: a dash of Worcestershire with a smidge of smoked French salt, subtly flavored by oak barrels once used to age chardonnay. But here’s the thing: I have KIDS. If a cookout is going to happen at all this sauce needs to be made from scratch in ten minutes flat.
I must say, though, that for a super simple recipe this one has just the right amount of smokiness, sweetness, tang and heat. It definitely tastes better on the back porch with a cold glass of mint-infused water, so run that cabbage through the food processor real quick and mix up the slaw outside!