Mommypotamus 2017-11-20T01:52:39Z https://www.mommypotamus.com/feed/atom/ WordPress https://www.mommypotamus.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-MP-logo-purple-32x32.png Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Natural Remedies For Growing Pains]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=29724 2017-11-17T02:36:58Z 2014-10-10T16:54:32Z If the problem disappears like a bad dream in the morning, it could be growing pains. About 25-40% of children will suffer from growing pains at one point or another, usually between the ages of three and twelve. (source) And obviously parents suffer, too, because, um, sleep deprivation! So what are growing pains, exactly? According to Dr […]

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Natural Remedies For Growing Pains


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

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

What Causes Growing Pains?

Though several studies have been conducted, there is not one agreed upon cause of growing pains. It’s possible like a sore throat – which might be caused by too much cheering at a football game, a viral/bacterial infection, or irritated mucous membranes due to dry air – there may be more than one cause of growing pains.

Natural Remedies For Growing Pains

Below are some of the top theories about what causes growing pains, plus natural remedies supported by research.

Natural Remedies For Growing Pains - Vitamin D

Vitamin D

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

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

I am not an expert on this, but I think growing pains are probably most often related to nutritional deficiencies. Though it is not quite the same, I used to experience severe restless leg syndrome due to nutritional deficiencies. Nighttime is often when the body chooses to “build,” so it makes sense that it’s scrounging around for building materials at night – if it doesn’t find what it needs easily it will sometimes “steal” from other areas. For me, this was what caused the discomfort, and when I supplemented with magnesium and a few other nutrients, I found that my legs were no longer restless. Read more about natural remedies for restless leg syndrome here.

How much vitamin D should children receive? Opinions vary, but you can find the Vitamin D Council’s recommendations here. Because vitamin D supplements – especially isolated ones- may not have the same effect as sunshine, I prefer to obtain vitamin D through wise sun exposure (when possible) and whole food sources like cod liver oil and pastured lard rather than isolated supplements.

bone-broth-natural-remedies-for-growing-pains

Bone Broth

Bone broth is rich in collagen, and something “many people forget about the structure of bones is that around 25-30% of the dry weight of bone is made of collagen proteins.” (Schoenfeld) As mentioned above, providing our little ones with the essential building blocks needed to grow.

On that note, in one 1944 study (yes, 1944!), supplementing bone meal along with vitamins A and D was able to produce a “complete remission of symptoms” in all 112 children participating in the study.  (source 1, source 2) Both vitamins A and D improve the body’s ability to absorb the minerals needed to build healthy bones, so it makes sense that they be taken alongside mineral rich foods. I have seen a pastured bone meal supplement from one source, it is not currently available.

Fortunately, bone broth can help with this, too! Although it is not naturally rich in minerals (according to this source), adding veggie scraps to the broth significantly increases its mineral content.

If my child were experiencing growing pains, I’d make up lots of bone broth and serve it in a steaming mug every morning for breakfast, plus make sure he/she eats high quality fats including lard (which contains Vitamin D) to maximize absorption. If you’re new to bone broth, here’s a quick video tutorial for making it easily in a crock pot.

Magnesium Body Butter Recipe For Relaxation and Sleep

Magnesium

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

Second, magnesium is an essential nutrient for building bones, and many of us don’t get enough of it. Here are a few of the easiest ways to increase our levels (parents love it too because it helps with stress!)

Natural Remedies For Growing Pains - Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Care

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

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

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

Massage And Heat

Though it doesn’t necessarily address the root cause of growing pains, massage can be a wonderful comfort measure. I found it helpful for my restless leg syndrome, which is somewhat similar, after I gave up tranquilizers and began searching for a natural solution.

According to Lawrence Rosen, M.D., “Gently massaging the calves or other areas of leg pain can ease discomfort from growing pains. You can use a few drops of lavender essential oil mixed with a tablespoon of massage oil to help relax your child. Warmth, either from a heating pad or hot water bottle, can help sooth leg aches.” (Treatment Alternatives For Children)

I’ve only found one low-EMF heating pad and it doesn’t have any rave reviews, so we use a hot water bottle as needed.

Natural Remedies For Growing Pains - Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, growing pains may sometimes be a result of vitamin B6 deficiency. (source) This may be because vitamin B6 helps move magnesium into cells. (Suki et. al.)

Foods rich in B6 include chicken, turkey, beef, pork, salmon, tuna, bell peppers, spinach, green peas, yams, broccoli, asparagus, turnip greens, and properly prepared peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, and lentils.

Tip: When cooking, adding something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice to B6-rich foods helps to keep more of the vitamin intact.

There are also B6 supplements that contain the bioavailable, active form: Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate (P5P). This is a brand I use often for targeted supplementation.

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

Other Dietary Changes

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

When To See A Doctor

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

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

What natural remedies for growing pains have you tried?

Please share what has worked for you in the comments!

Want more research-backed natural remedies?

No problem, I’ve created a free ebook for you – Kitchen Apothecary: 25+ Natural Remedies Using Ingredients From Your Pantry – as a gift for signing up for my newsletter. You’ll also get updates when I post about safe essential oils for pregnant/breastfeeding mamas, 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.

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Homemade Cherry Pie Energy Bar Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=16692 2017-11-15T20:44:01Z 2017-11-15T06:02:38Z So, you’ve heard that focusing on experiences rather than things creates more lasting happiness, and you decided to plan a road trip, or camp in your backyard . . . or have a sleepover in your living room in a blanket fort. High five! Fast forward a bit, and you’ve been in the car too […]

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So, you’ve heard that focusing on experiences rather than things creates more lasting happiness, and you decided to plan a road trip, or camp in your backyard . . . or have a sleepover in your living room in a blanket fort. High five!

Fast forward a bit, and you’ve been in the car too long, or the littlest has requested eleventy billion potty breaks, or your flight runs late and you don’t have time to grab something healthy before heading to your destination – I’ve been there. Hangry is a thing, y’all, and it can definitely be avoided with a little planning.

In addition to these grass-fed beef sticks and this salmon jerky, I like to pack these energy bars for errands, road trips, hiking adventures, etc. This updated recipe is more chewy than the original but still tastes very similar to Cherry Pie Larabars. They always give us just the boost we need to get past a hangry moment and make good memories. I hope you love them as much as we do!

The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.”

These homemade cherry pie "Larabar" energy bars are sweet, chewy and perfect for snacking on the go!

Homemade Cherry Pie Energy Bars

Makes 8 bars

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place dates, cherries and cinnamon in a food processor and process into a paste.
  2. Add almonds and pulse until almonds are well ground
  3. Remove the paste from a food processor and use your hands to form into 8 bars. I sometimes form mine into little hearts because . . . wait, I don’t really need a reason do I? They’re cute. 🙂
  4. Wrap tightly in wax paper and place in a sealed container. Can be kept at room temp for several days or in the fridge for several weeks.

Yum

Looking for more snack ideas?

I’ve put together a list of 21+ snack ideas kids love with simple recipes for things like homemade gummy snacks, paleo maple granola, maca energy bars along with some store-bought options as well.

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If you’re not familiar with them, Thrive Market is basically Whole Foods meets Costco, delivered directly to your door. They’re on a mission to make healthy living affordable by offering wholesome food and non-toxic products for less than you’d pay in traditional retail stores. Fill out the form below to claim your free groceries!

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Homemade Honey Face Wash]]> https://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=68226 2017-11-14T15:04:35Z 2017-11-14T14:58:08Z Do you ever feel like your skin just can’t make up it’s mind? One day it’s gorgeous and clear, the next dry, and the next oily and breakout prone. If that sounds familiar, I think you’ll love one of my favorite skincare secrets for healthy, glowing skin – raw honey. I’ve shared before how I […]

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Do you ever feel like your skin just can’t make up it’s mind? One day it’s gorgeous and clear, the next dry, and the next oily and breakout prone. If that sounds familiar, I think you’ll love one of my favorite skincare secrets for healthy, glowing skin – raw honey. I’ve shared before how I use it in my homemade face scrub, but today I’m going to explain why it also makes an amazing cleanser.

Why Wash With Honey?

When massaged into moist skin, honey gently breaks down excess oil and debris while soothing and moisturizing. Although you might expect it to leave skin sticky, it doesn’t. Honey rinses away clean, leaving behind only soft, happy skin.

Perfect For All Skin Types

Raw honey is prized for it’s ability to clarify and nourish skin. Unlike many cleansers which are too harsh for sensitive skin or too mild for oily or acne-prone skin, honey has qualities which make it suitable for all skin types.

Here’s what makes it so special:

Probiotics & Enzymes

Honey contains beneficial bacteria which compete with unwanted bacteria when used topically – that’s one reason it’s a favorite of those with acne-prone skin.  (Lund UniversityMandal et. al.) It also contains enzymes which break the bonds of dead skin cells so they can easily be rinsed away.

Cell Renewal and Hydration

As I mentioned in my honey and salt scrub recipe, honey promotes skin renewal and possibly the formation of hyaluronic acid, a polysaccharide that draws moisture to the skin, making it plump and dewy. (Babies are born with very high levels of hyaluronic acid – it’s one of the reasons their skin is so beautiful.)

Bright, Even Skin Tone

Honey also contains gluconic acid, a mild alpha-hydroxy acid that helps brighten and even out skin tone, plus antioxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals.

Balanced pH

As I mentioned in this apple cider vinegar toner recipe, our skin needs acid even if it isn’t oily. Unlike soap cleansers which are alkaline and break down our skin’s acid mantle – the protective barrier that keeps moisture in and pollutants/bacteria out –  honey supports our body’s built-in defense system.

What Type of Honey Should I Use?

Pretty much any kind of raw honey will work. I’ve used this one and it works really well – just be aware that it’s very thick, so you need to gently warm it up a bit by stirring so that it’s easier to spoon into your container.

In the recipe pictured I used manuka honey, which is renowned for it’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Do I Need Essential Oils?

You don’t need them, but tea tree is a great addition for acne-prone skin, and lavender essential oil is beneficial for all skin types. I’ve included them in the recipe below, but you can leave them out if you prefer.

Can I Use This Recipe To Make A Honey Face Mask?

Yep. This recipe works beautifully as a mask – just apply to moist skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.

What Else Is Honey Good For?

Because of its unique properties, honey has been clinically studied for it’s ability to support burn healing,  help children with a cough get more sleep, and even diminish dandruff.

Homemade Honey Face Wash

Ingredients

To Make

In a small bowl, combine honey and essential oil. Use a teaspoon to spoon into a squeeze tube – I used this one, which is also perfect for storing homemade toothpaste.

To Use

Apply 1/2 – 1 teaspoon to moist skin and massage into skin. If you have time, allow the honey to sit for 1-2 minutes before rinsing.

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[10 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=49375 2017-11-14T01:30:38Z 2017-11-09T14:56:51Z Update: I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether or not I still love sauna therapy and use mine regularly, or if it’s like an abandoned piece of exercise equipment gathering dust. The answer is I absolutely love my sauna, and I’ve updated this post with more research that explains why. Remember that […]

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Sauna BenefitsUpdate: I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether or not I still love sauna therapy and use mine regularly, or if it’s like an abandoned piece of exercise equipment gathering dust. The answer is I absolutely love my sauna, and I’ve updated this post with more research that explains why.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-47-21-am-pngRemember that time I shared a silly pic of my head popping out of an infrared sauna? I’ve since upgraded to my favorite sauna ever, and I’ll share a link to it at the bottom of the post (Go ahead and take a peek if you can’t help it. I’ll wait…), but first I want to share with you the reason that I decided to put one in my bedroom and use it nearly every day.

The short version: I am able to burn 500 calories, read a chapter to my littles (they like to visit), take my stress levels down 10 notches, support detoxification, activate heat-shock proteins associated with longevity, and think more clearly in just 30 minutes a day . . . all while sitting down. I feel AMAZING when I get out, and can’t wait to do it all over again.

The long version: There’s a lot of science supporting the physiological benefits of saunas, and that’s what we’re about to dive into. But first, you might be wondering . . .

What is an infrared sauna?

Infrared light, which we experience as heat, is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum. Although we can’t see it, we can feel it in the warmth of sunshine on our skin. The far infrared wavelength – which is what I’ll be focusing on in this post – is highly beneficial, penetrating deeply into tissues to induce a detoxifying sweat.

It’s so safe it’s used to keep babies warm in the NICU, and our bodies radiate it naturally. (source) The warmth of a hug? Infrared heat. The gooey feeling you get when you hold hands? Not necessarily caused by infrared heat, but your hands do in fact emit about 8-10 microns of infrared.

Traditional wet and dry saunas use heated air to warm the body, which means they typically have to be uncomfortably hot to reach therapeutic levels. Infrared saunas, on the other hand, penetrate into tissues directly, causing the body to sweat at a more comfortable ambient temperature.

Sauna Benefits

Sauna Benefits

But why is it so important to sweat? Here are nine reasons:

1. Increases Metabolism

Sauna therapy is sometimes called passive cardio because it raises your heart rate in a way that is similar to exercise, or as this Harvard article puts it, “the high temperatures can drive heart rates to levels often achieved by moderate-intensity physical exercise.”

A 30 minute session burns about 600 calories, says this article in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  while this study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes found that patients receiving far-infrared sauna therapy showed “a trend toward decreased waist circumference.”

Does the time of day a sauna is used affect metabolism? A two-phase study conducted at Binghamton University says yes. When participants used an infrared sauna (the same kind I have) an average of three times a week, they lost up to 4% body fat in sixteen weeks. One unexpected result was that participants who used the sauna later in the day lost more weight, so they set up a second study to learn more.

In the follow up study, they found that people who used the sauna after 3pm lost the same amount as those in the first study, but in half the time.

They attribute the difference in results to lowered evening cortisol (which is how things should be if our hormones are balanced), and slightly increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH).

2. Detoxifies Heavy Metals, BPA, PCB’s and other toxins

Some people say that detoxing is silly because are bodies are perfectly capable of detoxing without help. While I agree that our bodies are amazing and we have powerful innate detox capabilities, the reality is that:

  • The average person carries about 700 pollutants in their bodies at any given moment. Even babies are affected – a recent study found more than 200 chemicals in newborn cord blood alone. (source 1source 2)
  • Companies are not required to study the long-term health effects of the majority of chemicals they produce, so most don’t. (source)
  • An estimated  30-50% of the American population (myself included) has the MTHFR genetic mutation, which may impair detoxification

Expecting our bodies to manage those factors in addition to naturally occurring heavy metals like lead and mercury leaves is like expecting a housekeeper to keep things spotless with a band of uninvited monkeys living in the house.

Our detoxification systems need support, and there are many ways to go about that. Dry brushing is one of my favorites, and the other is infrared therapy because it requires very little effort on my part. All I need to do is take 20-40 minutes of time to sit and relax  – one of my kids often joins me for about 15 minutes so that we can read a chapter from their current book, then the next one hops in to read their book, etc. while the other kids play just outside the sauna window.

So what does all this have to do with sweating in a sauna?

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who holds a PhD in biomedical science, the fact that sweat contains both hydrophyllic (water soluble) and lipophilic (fat soluble) components makes it an elimination pathway for a variety of toxins, including:

  • xenobiotics such as BPA (often absorbed through store receipts), PCB’s, and phthalates
  • Arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury

(Source: Sauna Use And Building Resilience to Stress – Also, here are some studies you can check out if you want to learn more : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

One important note: Sweating also eliminates electrolytes, so you’ll need to replace calcium, magnesium and potassium. I use my Coconut Lime Electrolyte Drink Recipe or just water with a generous pinch of sea salt. According to Dr. Patrick, kale is also a concentrated form of electrolytes, so you can put some in a smoothie after you sauna to replenish electrolytes as well.

3. Gorgeous, Youthful Skin

One of the most unexpected – and welcome – changes I noticed when I began using a sauna regularly is how much more refreshed and “glowy” I looked after a few months of use.

Far infrared wavelengths increase the production of collagen (which makes skin supple) and elastin (which makes it elastic), and also improves the delivery of nutrients to the skin via increased blood flow.

(source)

4. Optimizes Your Biological Age

We have two ages: Our chronological age (the actual time we’ve been alive) and our biological age, or the rate at which we’re aging on a cellular level.

Most of us have all had the experience of being surprised to find out that someone is far younger than we had imagined — for instance, when an individual we thought was in their late 50s turns out to actually be in their mid-40s,” Dr. Terry Grossman, founder and medical director of the Grossman Wellness Center in Denver, explained for Everyday Health. “And, by the same token, we will occasionally discover that someone is considerably older than we had guessed. The reason for these discrepancies is often because their biological ages are different than their chronological ages.” (source)

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick,  “Almost all the primary causes of aging have stress at their root. Inflammation is a prime example and in fact it’s been identified as one of the key drivers of the aging process . . . . However somewhat paradoxically, stress isn’t always bad. Short term stress can result in a reduction in long term chronic stress – in other words we can build resilience. This is because short-term exposure to stress can strengthen the cellular response mechanisms in the body to stress. This is called hormetic stress.”(Source: Sauna Use And Building Resilience to Stress)

Exercise is a type of hormetic stress, as is cold stress and – you guessed it – heat stress. Sitting in a sauna creates heat stress, which causes the body to increase it’s production of heat shock proteins, which help repair damaged proteins and protect DNA.

Normally we produce fewer heat shock proteins as we age. However, some people have genetic mutations that cause them to maintain higher production. Specifically:

Centenarians, or people who live to be at least 100, tend to have an increased expression of heat shock proteins – the same proteins that are produced in a sauna. (source)

In another study, researchers found that exposing C. elegans worms to sauna-like conditions – thus producing heat shock proteins – extended their lifespan by about 30%. (source)

Also, the “longevity gene” – FOX03 – is also activated by heat. (source) Just like with heat shock proteins, people with a higher expression of FOX03 genes are more likely to live to 100. (source)

5. Relaxation & Stress Reduction

Our lives are typically full of chronic stress and very little running away from tigers. Unfortunately, unlike short-term stressful experiences, which produce a rise in cortisol and a physical response (such as running away) followed by a reduction in cortisol after the event, our bodies stay in “high alert” stage for hours, days and even sometimes months without a reset.

Our bodies often can’t distinguish life-threatening situations from non-critical situations, and therefore react to everything just in case. That’s a problem because:

When you repeatedly experience the mobilization or fight-or-flight stress response in your daily life, it can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can shut down your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and leave you vulnerable to many mental and physical health problems.” (source)

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to renounce civilization and move into a yurt to reclaim relaxation – you can manually reset your stress response. Exercise is one way to do it – sauna therapy is another.

When you expose your body to heat stress, your cortisol levels (an indication of stress) will typically stay the same or even rise. However, when you remove the stress by stepping out of the sauna, they’ll drop almost immediately and set a new baseline that is lower than before. Your body thinks the “tiger” is gone and has reset, leaving you feeling relaxed.

In addition to helping with stress, sauna therapy stimulates the release of “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which is why I feel AMAZING when I finish a session. (source 1, source 2)

Incorporating sauna therapy into my life is one of the BEST things I have ever done for my health. I can increase my metabolism, activate collagen production, read a chapter to my littles (they like to visit), lower stress levels, support detoxification and think more clearly in just 20-30 minutes a day - all while sitting down. If you're curious about sauna therapy, here are ten science-backed benefits worth checking out.

6. Soothes Sore Muscles

This is my husbands favorite benefit. Soothing infrared heat penetrates into sore muscles and joints, increasing the flow of nutrients (glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and oxygen) to the area while removing lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts.

7. Benefits Cognitive Function

Heat stress:

  • Creates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which stimulates neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells) and protects existing neurons from damage (source)
  • Significantly increases norepinephrine levels, a hormone that supports focus and attention. (source)
  • Increases “prolactin, a hormone which encourages the growth of myelin (the insulation around the nerve fibres in your brain), which determines how fast your brain works.” (source)

8. Supports Cardiovascular Health

As I mentioned earlier, infrared sauna therapy is sometimes called “passive cardio” because, as this Harvard article puts it, “the high temperatures can drive heart rates to levels often achieved by moderate-intensity physical exercise.”

“The cardiovascular effects of sauna have been well documented in the past. It lowers blood pressure, and there is every reason to believe that its effects are good for blood vessels,” says Dr. Lee of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (source)

9. Supports Immune Function

According to Mark Timmerman, M.D. of the North American Sauna Society, “During a sauna session, white blood cells increase in the bloodstream, suggesting an elevation of the body’s natural defense against illness.”

10. Increases Slow Wave Sleep

According to the American Sleep Association, sauna use increases slow wave sleep, which is commonly referred to as deep sleep.

Warming up in my sauna. I recommend wearing a towel usually, but if you are going to post a photo on the internet cotton clothes are a good option, too 🙂

Want to see the sauna I put in my bedroom?

Remember that silly sauna pic I mentioned at the beginning? That was my first go at in-home sauna bathing. It served a purpose, but had some limitations.

Here’s the sauna I use now

Find out why I chose it in this post along with how to get hundreds of dollars off if you order before December 15th, plus a free ergonomic backrest and aromatherapy cup.

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[How To Make Sore Throat Soother Tea]]> https://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=69228 2017-11-08T17:23:53Z 2017-11-08T15:42:46Z ‘Tis the season for comfy wool socks, homestyle stuffing, and caroling off-key at the top of your lungs while putting away the laundry . . . at least, that’s how it goes in my house. 🙂 Whether it’s from too much singing, running around outside in the crisp air or some other reason, this is […]

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Tea For Sore Throat

‘Tis the season for comfy wool socks, homestyle stuffing, and caroling off-key at the top of your lungs while putting away the laundry . . . at least, that’s how it goes in my house. 🙂

Whether it’s from too much singing, running around outside in the crisp air or some other reason, this is also the season for the occasional sore throat. If you’re like me and you keep marshmallow root on hand for making hair detangler and soothing tummy aches, you can easily make a comforting tea that’s similar to Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals.

Why make your own?

Throat Coat Tea is good stuff, and I highly recommend it if you don’t want to DIY. However, I like the marshmallow root/slippery elm bark (the herbs that coat the throat) component of my tea to be a bit stronger, and I also enjoy playing with the flavor. Sometimes I add fennel for a licorice flavor, or refreshing peppermint, or ginger and mint when I want comforting warmth.

About The Ingredients

Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark – When mixed with water, these herbs transform into a mucilaginous (gel-like) consistency that coats and soothes irritated throat mucosa. They work magic in this recipe, and also in my homemade sore throat spray. One important thing to note is that slippery elm bark is considered an at-risk species, so it’s important to buy it from sources that use sustainable harvesting practices to ensure it will be available for generations to come – here’s one option. Only a small amount is needed per batch, so a bag that size lasts a long time.

Licorice Root – This herb has long been used in folk medicine to ease sore throat discomfort, and current research suggests there is wisdom in that approach. For example, this recent study found that using licorice water as a gargle soothed patients throats after surgery.

Flavoring Options

  • Peppermint Leaf– Contains menthol, a compound that may help ease inflamed mucous membranes. Peppermint also supports digestion and is often consumed to help with an upset stomach.
  • Fennel Seeds – My main reason for including fennel is that it tastes like licorice, but it is also thought to help with sore throats, support digestion and ease flatulence as well. It contains a constituent called alpha-pinene, which is thought to make coughs more productive.
  • Lemon And Ginger – This classic combination is renowned for it’s warming and immune supporting properties. Of course, it’s yummy, too!

Wondering which tea is best for a sore throat? This recipe incorporates herbs that coat and soothe the throat, and it's very simple to make.

Soothing Sore Throat Tea

Ingredients

Optional flavorings – Either 1.5 teaspoon peppermint leaf, 2 teaspoons fennel seeds that have been crushed with a mortar and pestle, or 1 teaspoon dried ginger root and 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a small pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer on low (covered) for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs and serve. The tea will be naturally sweet due to the licorice, but you can add honey if desired.

 

Continue Reading...How To Make Sore Throat Soother Tea

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[7 Marshmallow Root Uses (And How To Prepare It)]]> https://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=69234 2017-11-07T15:39:25Z 2017-11-07T15:35:41Z Marshmallow root is not exactly the kind of thing you buy on impulse, like fair-trade chocolate or a “Because Kids” wine glass. It’s the kind of herb that’s picked up for something specific, like homemade hair detangler or a sore throat spray. Once you have it in your pantry, though, you might be wondering what else […]

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Marshmallow Root Benefits And Uses

Marshmallow root is not exactly the kind of thing you buy on impulse, like fair-trade chocolate or a “Because Kids” wine glass. It’s the kind of herb that’s picked up for something specific, like homemade hair detangler or a sore throat spray. Once you have it in your pantry, though, you might be wondering what else it’s good for.

The answer? A LOT.

So, what is marshmallow root?

Before they were campfire treats, marshmallows were made by boiling marshmallow root with honey to soothe sore throats and upset stomachs. That’s because marshmallow root – whose Greek name althea literally means “to heal” – contains a polysaccharide which “provides a protective, soothing coating to mucosa.” (Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health, Dr. Aviva Romm)

What can you do with marshmallow root?

This herb is available both as a powder and finely chopped root pieces. When mixed with water, it forms a mucilaginous (gel-like) consistency that soothes throat, digestive tract, and urinary tract irritation, and is also traditionally used externally as a poultice for minor burns and wounds. When taken internally, it’s usually consumed as a cold infusion or hot tea. Externally, the whole ground herb can be applied as a poultice, or just the gel can be used.

Below we’ll discuss more ways it can benefit specific situations, plus safety considerations and how to make a cold infusion, tea, and poultice.

Marshmallow Root Uses And Benefits

1. Heartburn (Even Pregnancy Heartburn)

According to renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, “The best herbs to use for treating heartburn are those that calm the nervous system and are good digestive nervines, such as chamomile, hops and lemon balm. Mucilaginous herbs, such as marshmallow, licorice, and slippery elm, will soothe the irritated stomach lining.” (Herbal Recipe For Vibrant Health)

Although a similar herb that can help with indigestion – slippery elm – is available in pre-made lozenge form, marshmallow root is typically “prepared as an infusion, and sipped on as needed throughout the day or during an acute period of heartburn.” (Romm, 364) You’ll find instructions for making a marshmallow root infusion below.

Also, since chamomile is mentioned, I wanted to mention that Urban Moonshine has created a version of Swedish Bitters that is safe to use during pregnancy. Their Chamomile Bitters formula is helpful for easing occasional heartburn and morning sickness, and it’s free of the herbs you need to avoid during pregnancy. You can find it here.

Click here to read more about what causes heartburn, and find one of my other favorite natural remedies for heartburn here.

2. Sore Throat And Stomach Ache

Because of it’s ability to coat irritated mucous membranes, marshmallow root is often used to soothe sore throats and upset stomachs. It can be consumed as a hot tea or cold infusion – instructions for making both are listed below.

3. Improve Gut Health

Along with bone broth, gelatin and fermented foods, mucilaginous herbs such as marshmallow root are sometimes consumed as a tea or cold infusion to improve gut lining integrity. (Cole)

4. UTI Support

In this article, Dr. Aviva Romm – who is also a midwife and herbalist – recommends marshmallow root as part of a natural approach to bladder infections.

5. Marshmallow Root As A Galactogogue

As stated so eloquently by Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tipper Gallagher here, it’s always important to seek to address underlying issues if breast milk supply is a concern. However, as Gallagher discuesses there are circumstances in which galactogogues can be very helpful, and marshmallow root tea (or infusion) is a good one to consider.

Mucilaginous herbs have long been used for their nutritive properties and to increase breast milk supply. Oats and barley are foods traditionally given to new mothers both as porridge and barley in stew. They are safe for daily consumption in food quantities. Marshmallow root is considered a safe herb when used as recommended. It is typically included in galactogogue infusions. There are no known contraindications to the use of marshmallow root; however, the absorption of other medications taken simultaneously might be inhibited by marshmallow root.” (Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health, Dr. Aviva Romm, 454)

6. Skincare

Marshmallow root is an emollient, or herb that heals and softens dry, inflamed skin. (Shenefelt) It is often used in skincare products like this body butter.

7. Minor Burns, Wounds, And Insect Bites

According to dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Howe, “Traditionally, MRE has been used to treat skin burns and insect bites.” (Barrionuevo) That’s because when applied topically, the mucilage from marshmallow root “dries as a mild adhesive and can be used as an herbal bandage for minor wounds.” (Shenefelt)

How To Make A Marshmallow Root Infusion

How To Make A Cold Marshmallow Root Infusion

Marshmallow root is rich in both polysaccharides and starch. When made using the cold infusion method, the healing polysaccharides are the primary component that gets extracted. A decoction (hot water extraction) extracts both.

To make a cold water infusion, fill a jar 1/4 of the way full with cut and sifted marshmallow root, then fill the rest of the jar with warm purified water and allow infusion to sit for 4-12 hours. Strain and serve.

Marshmallow Root Tea Recipe

I’ll be sharing my favorite recipe for marshmallow root tea and other herbs later this week, but for now here’s a super simple recipe:

Instructions: Bring water and marshmallow to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain with a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and sweeten if desired before serving.

How To Make A Marshmallow Root Poultice

Make a paste using powdered marshmallow root and very hot water. Apply to the area once it has cooled a little and cover with a cloth or bandage.

Is Marshmallow Root Safe During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding?

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, 2nd edition, marshmallow is a Safety Class 1A herb – the safest rating possible. It is described as:

“Herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.

  • History of safe traditional use
  • No case reports of significant adverse events with high probability of causality
  • No significant adverse events in clinical trials
  • No identified concerns for use during pregnancy or lactation
  • No innately toxic constituents
  • Toxicity associated with excessive use is not a basis for exclusion from this class
  • Minor or self-limiting side effects are not bases for exclusion from this class”
    Always check with your doctor before adding herbs to your diet, and listen to your intuition to help you make the best choice for yourself.

Marshmallow Root Contraindications

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, 2nd edition, medications “should be taken 1 hour prior to consumption of marshmallow or several hours after consumption, as marshmallow may slow the absorption of orally administered drugs.”

What’s your favorite use for marshmallow root?

Please tell me in the comment section below!

Marshmallow root creates a gel-like protective coating that soothes sore throats, heartburn, stomach aches, & more. It's also used to moisturize & heal skin irritations. Here's how prepare it.

Continue Reading...7 Marshmallow Root Uses (And How To Prepare It)

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Love Lavender? Here Are 20 Ways To Use It]]> https://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=68112 2017-11-02T14:19:07Z 2017-11-02T14:13:33Z We may not sprinkle lavender buds between our sheets as was common in the 16th century, but this fresh, sweet-smelling herb is still used for bathing, laundry, natural remedies and more – and for good reason. More than just a pretty scent, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)) is the source of one of the most gentle, versatile […]

Continue Reading...Love Lavender? Here Are 20 Ways To Use It

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We may not sprinkle lavender buds between our sheets as was common in the 16th century, but this fresh, sweet-smelling herb is still used for bathing, laundry, natural remedies and more – and for good reason. More than just a pretty scent, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)) is the source of one of the most gentle, versatile essential oils we know of.

It’s often called the “Swiss Army Knife of Oils” because it’s so widely used in skincare and natural remedies, for emotional balance, and for immune support. If you’ve ever purchased a bottle and wondered what to do with it, here are some ideas I think you’ll love:

1. Sea Salt Lavender Scrub

Rejuvenate tired, dry skin with a blend of 1/2 cup sea salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/4 teaspoon lavender. Scoop a tablespoon of the scrub into damp hands and rub them together. Apply to body and scrub in a circular motion until most of the crystals dissolve, focusing on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and heels. Rinse and repeat if desired. Follow with moisturizer.

2. Vapor Rub

Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are often used in vapor rubs because they contain a high percentage of monoterpenes – a component believed to support respiratory function. Unfortunately, they also contain 1.8 cineole, which can causing breathing difficulties in young children.

Although it’s not well known, lavender is another essential that contains a high percentage of monoterpenes, making it a great alternative for use with children in homemade vapor rub.

3. Muscle Tightness

Put lavender essential oil in a lotion or massage blend to relax muscles. A 2% dilution is recommended for general soreness. Click here for a guide to diluting essential oils.

4. Soothing Lavender Salt Sock For Earaches

According to the lead author of the new AAP guidelines for diagnosing ear infections, the medical community has contributed to the over-diagnosis of ear infections. Since even a true ear infection is more likely to be viral in nature than bacterial, research suggests that the common use of antibiotics may actually increase a child’s risk of recurrent ear infections.

The AAP now recommends a “wait and see” approach for uncomplicated earaches along with comfort measures. I tried this salt sock remedy recommended by Lillian Beard, M.D. with one of my littles a few months ago and it was very helpful. As mentioned in the post, you can add a few drops of lavender to the sock if desired.

5. Soothe A Sunburn

For minor sunburns, add 6-12 drops of lavender essential oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil and apply to area. Another option is to add 25 -30 drops to 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and stir well, then add 1/4 cup water and spritz on skin. When you don’t have lavender on hand, here are some more sunburn remedies I’ve collected from doctors and respected herbalists. Most use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

6. Linen Spray

Make drifting off to sleep so much sweeter with a relaxing linen spray. Mix 30 drops lavender oil with 3 tablespoons vodka and stir. Add 3 tablespoons water and pour mixture into a 4 ounce spray bottle. Children love to spray their own pillows. If you want a scent with a little more complexity, try this “fresh laundry” scented air freshener and linen spray.

7. Create A Calming Environment

Diffuse about 10 drops for half an hour to calm body and mind.

8. Hand Cleansing Gel

When soap and water are not an option, I use this super easy hand cleansing gel instead of conventional sanitizer. It’s adapted from a recipe found in Treatment Alternatives For Children, which was written by holistic pediatrician Lawrence Rosen, MD.

9. Make Massage Oil

Grapeseed oil absorbs quickly, making it perfect for this use.

  • Ingredients
    1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 48 drops lavender essential oil

To Make: Combine ingredients in a container.

Storage: Store in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight.

10. Deodorant

Summer-tested, husband approved. Lavender and tea tree are the oils I use most often in this homemade deodorant, which  is easy to make and WORKS! My husband calls it “Man Stink Killing Deodorant.”

11. Bee Sting And Insect Bites

Put one drop on a bee sting or insect bite to calm itching and support healing. Dilution is generally recommended, but occasional neat application to very small areas can be helpful.  See this guide to diluting essential oils for more information.

12. Relaxation In A Jar (Bath Salts)

This easy homemade bath salt recipe is made with lavender and a few other ingredients like magnesium, the “Magic Mineral” that helps with stress, detoxification & maintaining healthy energy levels.

13. Scented Birthday Invitations, Cards & Letters

Add a drop to stationary to create a joyful, multi-sensory experience for your recipient.

14. Tallow Skin Balm

Tallow balm is uniquely compatible with our skin?s biology, leaving it supple and nourished after use. It’s perfect as a daily face and body moisturizer, or as a soothing balm for dry/chapped skin, diaper rash, sunburns, and eczema. Click here for my tallow balm recipe.

15. Minor Burns

As I mentioned in what to put on a burn, lavender essential oil “contains Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalol (25-38%) which have local analgesic and anesthetic effects.” (source)

Mix 3-6 drops of lavender with one tablespoon aloe vera gel or lotion and apply to a minor burn after the skin has cooled.

Lotion Bar Recipe

16. Lotion Bars

Luxurious and silky smooth, this blend of cocoa butter, coconut oil, beeswax and essential oil is my favorite lotion bar recipe. Lavender is one of my favorite oils to use, along with peppermint and orange with vanilla.

You’ll love the way it feels, and you’ll feel good about knowing what you’re putting on your skin. (Makes a great holiday gift, too!)

17. Aromatherapy Inhaler

According to renowned expert Robert Tisserand, breathing in essential oils is a highly efficient way to absorb them into our bloodstream. Here’s how to use them to make an inhaler that supports healthy respiratory function.

What you’ll need:

–  An inhaler 
–  About 15 drops lavender for an adult or 6-10 drops for children.

To Make

Place the desired number of essential oil drops on the cotton pad, then place pad in the base and pop the cap for the base into place. Breathe in essential oils through the holes at the top of the tube, and place cap on the tube when not in use.

18. Scented Play Dough

Add a few drops of lavender to homemade play dough for a multi-sensory experience.

19. DIY All-Purpose Cleaner With Lemon and Lavender

I love the bright, fresh scent of this DIY all-purpose cleaner. It’s so inexpensive and easy to make, too!

20. Magnesium Body Butter For Relaxation And Sleep

Magnesium is often called the “magic mineral” due to it’s ability to relax muscles, help with stress, support restful sleep, and ease growing pains for littles

Unfortunately for some people, magnesium oil can cause an itchy or uncomfortable sensation when applied in undiluted form. In this recipe, I’ve blended it with coconut oil and beeswax to ensure that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin. To make it even more soothing, you can also add lavender essential oil – details in this magnesium body butter recipe.

Continue Reading...Love Lavender? Here Are 20 Ways To Use It

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[“Cornbread” Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)]]> https://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=69169 2017-11-19T03:33:11Z 2017-10-31T16:33:38Z When I was growing up in Texas, cornbread was served hot out of the oven, with a giant blob of margarine and a drizzle of honey on top. In this “cornbread” I’ve switched things up, replacing the fake butter with the real deal, but leaving out the corn. Although my family does occasionally eat some […]

Continue Reading...“Cornbread” Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

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When I was growing up in Texas, cornbread was served hot out of the oven, with a giant blob of margarine and a drizzle of honey on top. In this “cornbread” I’ve switched things up, replacing the fake butter with the real deal, but leaving out the corn.

Although my family does occasionally eat some grains, this grain-free version is so satisfying that I that I don’t even miss regular cornbread. Actually, I think I like this recipe better because it’s pretty much mistake-proof. When making regular cornbread you have to be careful not to overmix, or the texture will be come dry and crumbly. This recipe turns out light and moist even when I make it on a busy night when I’m only halfway paying attention. (As you know, the best time for a child to ask how electricity works is while you’re making dinner!)

I’ll be serving this cornbrea alongside my gluten-free homestyle stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, broccoli slaw and pastured turkey this holiday season – or I’ll be adapting it into a stuffing recipe. Either way, bring on the holidays!

“Cornbread” Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
½ rounded teaspoon baking soda
½ flat teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons melted butter (can substitute coconut oil if dairy-free)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Place almond flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add eggs, honey, apple cider vinegar and butter and blend until well combined. Spread batter evenly in a well-greased 8-9 inch pie plate. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

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If you’re not familiar with them, Thrive Market is basically Whole Foods meets Costco, delivered directly to your door. They’re on a mission to make healthy living affordable by offering wholesome food and non-toxic products for less than you’d pay in traditional retail stores. Fill out the form below to claim your free groceries!

Continue Reading...“Cornbread” Recipe (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

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Jenni Hulet http://urbanposer.blogspot.com/ <![CDATA[Homemade Marshmallow Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=14054 2017-11-03T14:02:19Z 2017-10-28T12:31:14Z Note from Heather: Today’s recipe for fluffy homemade marshmallows comes from my friend Jenni, founder of The Urban Poser and author of My Paleo Patisserie. They’re absolutely delicious on their own or served with homemade hot chocolate. As The Sun Goes Down Earlier These Days . . . I find my mind drifting with anticipation […]

Continue Reading...Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

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Healthy Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

Note from Heather: Today’s recipe for fluffy homemade marshmallows comes from my friend Jenni, founder of The Urban Poser and author of My Paleo Patisserie. They’re absolutely delicious on their own or served with homemade hot chocolate.

As The Sun Goes Down Earlier These Days . . .

I find my mind drifting with anticipation to the the smells of chimney smoke in the cool winter air. I can almost taste the warm chai on my tongue along with some chewy gingerbread men and and a few spicy peppermint sticks. But more than all of this, I anticipate one of our longest running family traditions. Making homemade MARSHMALLOWS!

In addition to the classic recipe you’ll find below – a definite favorite – we make chocolate, raspberry, neopolitan, earl gray tea and even gingerbread ones. You can find all of those recipes in My Paleo Patisserie.

Can I roast these marshmallows?

Yes! Not only do we love to eat them…we love to give them away. Marshmallows make great gifts and if you pair them up with some grain-free graham crackers and a few roasting sticks, you can make some amazing ‘Smore’ packages. If you plan to roast them, it’s best to let them dry out a little first. I like to put them in a paper bag for 2 days or so. They do best under very hot heat rather than a slow roast Right to the flame and not for very long.

The marshmallow recipe below uses grass-fed gelatin and organic honey instead of corn syrup, making these marshmallows a great option for paleo, GAPS and SCD style diets.

Perhaps you’ll make these tasty marshmallow treats one of your holiday family traditions, just like we did.

Video: How To Make Homemade Marshmallows

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Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

For this recipe you will need: Pan, 8×8 or larger, unbleached parchment paper, stand mixer or hand mixer, candy thermometer, mixing bowl

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Grease an 8×8(or larger) pan and line with unbleached parchment paper in both directions. Leave some length to use as handles when removing your finished marshmallows. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder.
  2. In your mixer bowl, add the gelatin with 1/2 cup of water
  3. While the gelatin is softening, pour the other 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan along with the honey, vanilla and the salt. Turn the burner to a medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Place a candy thermometer in the sauce pan and continue to boil the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees (the soft ball stage). This will take approx. 7-8 min. Immediately remove from the sauce pan from the heat.
  4. Turn your standing mixer to low/med. Slowly pour the honey mixture into the bowl combining it with the softened gelatin. Turn the mixer to high and continue beating the mixtures until it becomes thick like marshmallow creme (about 10 min).
  5. Turn off the mixer and transfer the marshmallow creme to the prepared pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle on the remaining 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder. Pat to smooth again.
  6. If you would prefer not to use the arrowroot, lightly grease your hands with oil and pat smooth. This will keep it from sticking to your fingers. Alternatively you can press it down with parchment paper, leaving it there till the marshmallows are completely set.
  7. When set, remove the marshmallows by lifting from the parchment paper flaps. Cut to desired size and enjoy!

Yum

Could you use $60 in FREE organic groceries?

I love sharing new recipes and exclusive deals with you, so let’s stay in touch! To thank you for signing up for my newsletter, I’ve partnered with Thrive Market to give you a total of $60 off your first three purchases – i.e. $20 off each order.

If you’re not familiar with them, Thrive Market is basically Whole Foods meets Costco, delivered directly to your door. They’re on a mission to make healthy living affordable by offering wholesome food and non-toxic products for less than you’d pay in traditional retail stores. Fill out the form below to claim your free groceries!

Continue Reading...Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

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Heather https://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Magnesium Body Butter Recipe For Relaxation and Sleep]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=47788 2017-10-27T15:41:58Z 2017-10-27T15:24:12Z So this thing is happening, and it aches and fills me with joy and makes me wish for a pause button at the same time. One minute I’m standing in a grocery store aisle nodding my head to a “those were the days” comment  – while mentally calculating how much longer I can shop before a […]

Continue Reading...Magnesium Body Butter Recipe For Relaxation and Sleep

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Magnesium Body Butter Recipe For Relaxation and Sleep

So this thing is happening, and it aches and fills me with joy and makes me wish for a pause button at the same time. One minute I’m standing in a grocery store aisle nodding my head to a “those were the days” comment  – while mentally calculating how much longer I can shop before a toddlerpocalypse, of course – and the next I’m standing behind my daughter as she zooms in to take this photo . . .

ks-no-bake-cookies

. . . for a project she’s working on. And my boys? I’m savoring snuggles with them while trying not to sustain Lego-induced foot trauma. (This is real life after all.)

So yeah, they’re growing up, and with that comes some not so fun territory. I’ve written about natural remedies for growing pains before, but today I wanted to share something that we’ve recently found helpful in addition to those suggestions. It’s a magnesium oil rub with essential oils that support muscle relaxation.

Magnesium – both in supplement form and topically applied – transformed my sleep years ago when I discovered it eliminated my restless leg symptoms. It’s also been very helpful when my littles have achy legs at night.

While there is no agreed upon cause of growing pains, one common theory is that it’s often due to the inability of ligaments and muscles to keep up with rapid bone growth.

As children are growing fairly rapidly, their muscles, tendons, and ligaments are growing as well,” says Jason Homme, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Those body parts “may not be growing at the same pace, which can cause protesting a little bit.” (source)

My children’s pediatrician shares this view, and suggested magnesium as one of the things that may be helpful.This recipe makes a wonderful bedtime rub for achy or restless legs, and it’s incredibly easy to make. Here’s a breakdown of what I used (and why):

Magnesium

There’s a reason magnesium is often called the magic mineral. As I mentioned in this post on science-backed tips for deeper, more restful sleep, it fuels about 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some of those reactions help to relax achy muscles, mitigate the effects of stress, and calm the mind by supporting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Magnesium deficiency is very common, and unfortunately not all oral magnesium supplements are well-absorbed via the digestive tract. (source 1source 2) There are some that are, which I’ve covered in this post on magnesium supplements, but another way to improve levels is through dermal (skin) absorption.

One way is through epsom salt or magnesium chloride baths. Another option is magnesium oil– which is not actually an oil but a mixture of magnesium chloride and water that feels oily to the touch. Magnesium oil is well-absorbed and dries without any greasiness. If you do as much laundry as I do, I’m guessing the last thing you want to deal with are oily sheets after the application of an essential oil rub diluted in a carrier oil. (Magnesium oil makes a great deodorant too, but that’s another post.)

A quick note on absorption: Because Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and a little calcium are essential for magnesium absorption, you’ll want to make sure your little one is getting adequate amounts of those as well. According to Kristen Michaelis’ book, Beautiful Babies, magnesium levels show more improvement when Vitamin D is obtained through sun exposure rather than oral supplements.

Essential Oils

Several essential oils are helpful for relaxation, and Plant Therapy (one of the essential oil companies I purchase from) even makes a Growing Pains blend. I’ve already shared with you a list of essential oils that are considered safe for children and general dilution guidelines, however for this recipe Clinical Aromatherapist Lea Harris recommends a higher than normal dilution ratio.

Lea, who is the founder of Using Essential Oils Safely and the Using Essential Oils Safely community on Facebook, suggests a 2% dilution for under 5 (or at least 1%) and then 3-5% for the over age 6 crowd.

In terms of specific essential oils, here are the ones I think are best for this recipe:

One more thing before we get to the recipe. While growing pains are a normal (though hopefully occasional) part of childhood, there are other possible causes of leg discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should consult “your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s leg pain or the pain is:

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

Coconut Oil and Beeswax

For some people, magnesium oil can cause an itchy or uncomfortable sensation when applied in undiluted form. For that reason, I’ve blended it with coconut oil and beeswax to ensure that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.

This 3-ingredient recipe has been very helpful for my kids when they have growing pains. It's a magnesium oil rub with essential oils that support muscle relaxation. The dilution ratios - which are a bit higher than normal, were recommended to me by Clinical Aromatherapist Lea Harris, who is the founder of the Using Essential Oils Safely community.

How To Make Magnesium Body Butter

For this recipe, you will need an immersion blender and a pint-sized (16 ounce) mason jar.

Ingredients

To Make

Place magnesium oil, coconut oil and beeswax pearls in a pan and melt over low heat. Pour mixture into a mason jar and allow to separate (this should take about 30-45 seconds). Place your immersion blender at the very bottom of the jar, then slowly pull it up after about 30 seconds. Starting at the bottom helps to create an emulsion, which is a way of suspending oil in water so that they mix together. If you’re new to this process and want to see it – it’s the exact same technique demonstrated in my video about making lotion.

Once you’ve blended the body butter, add the essential oils and blend again. Set your timer for 7 minutes and blend one more time before transferring the body butter to a small jar for storage.

To Use

Massage a small amount into skin. I aim for daily application, although it doesn’t always happen due to busy schedules, etc.

Shelf Life

In general when you mix water and oil, you reduce the shelf life of a personal care product. However, in this case the water is mixed with a very high concentration of magnesium, which has natural antimicrobial properties. (source) One well-known example of this is the Dead Sea. (source) I personally try to use mine within 3-4 months, which is pretty easy to do with a batch this size.

Storage

Store in a cool, dark cabinet to prevent premature oxidation of the essential oils.

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Continue Reading...Magnesium Body Butter Recipe For Relaxation and Sleep

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