Monthly Archives: November 2012

Robbing The Hole.

I’ve been there, trying to stretch your money to make food last the longest. This often means going to a big cheap store and loading up on two dollar boxes of crackers, breads, cereals, granola bars and pasta. When you look at the entire picture, this is actually a very expensive way to eat. I know, I’ve been there, trying to fill the hole so the children don’t go hungry; So they always have snacks. But really, by filling up on cheap, processed foods you are really robbing the hole, not filling it. These foods deplete your body and force it to work overtime to deal with such inappropriate foods for humans. It takes energy, vitamins and minerals for it to pass through you. They also contribute to every known ailment ask Dr.Oz or Dr.Mercola. Hah!
Now, if you’ve been robbing the hole, let’s set aside guilt, it is of no use to us. You were doing your best and now you’re going to do better. What can you do? A lot, even on a tight budget. Think about Grandma or Great Grandma, what did they eat during extremely hard times?
You can watch your health and the health of your family increase dramatically as you replace processed foods with real foods. You all will get use to it, even your tastes will change. Here are some cheap nutrient dense foods to start adding in, you can get them for cheap or often free:

1. Eat eggs! They are good for you again (hehe). Even the little contradictory pamphlets at the doctors office tell me to eat eggs now. Egg yolks are full of Vitamins and good fats and when eaten slightly cooked or raw, your body barely has to digest it to get energy. They contain almost every nutrient we require, as an egg has all that it needs to create a baby chick.
2. Make lard. There’s an abundance of pig fat due to lard being given a bad name and rendering is not hard. But it’s actually a very high quality fat that your body needs; think about the animal fats that your ancestors survived and evolved on. Their brains grew larger on it. Try googling lard is bad for you and all it comes up with is “lard is no longer bad for you” and “lard is the new health food.” This is based on ancient wisdom combined with research. Please eat lard, it’s WAY cheaper than butter and margarine is evil. Evil!
3. Make bone broth now. Have soup once a day, or more. Source bones for free or cheap. Research all the good info on bone broth and ask my kids (or my poops) how Amazing it is. You can do it.
4. Buy lots of organic apples on sale they last and can be made into stuff. Apples are now what my kids (and children visiting us) go for when they want a sweet treat. Your children (or partner) will get use to it and love it eventually as they no longer feel like crap all the time. You can even fancy up your apples with cinnamon and vanilla!
5. Ok, now we are going to get a little more complicated, but we are still staying very inexpensive. Start Fermenting Foods. I can’t stress enough how Important it is to repopulate your gut with good bacteria everyday. E. Coli and Salmonella and Clostridia Dificile are all kept in check in your body by the good microbes, unless you don’t have enough… Good microbes inhabit space and use up available nutrients (prebiotics) before pathogens can, thus crowding them out. Fermenting (or culturing) foods can feel daunting at first, but it’s not hard and there’s a lot of hard working people out there (me included) who can guide you through it. You can start with something easy (and super cheap to make) like kombucha. You need to source a kombucha mother or SCOBY. You can pretty much ferment any real food. I love to make sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented vegetables like cortido. There’s also dairy ferments like yogurt and kefir and cheese and sour cream and on and on. My family and I have come to crave these foods as has many people who have converted to real foods.
6. Eat organ meats!?!? Yes. Animals store vitamins (not toxins) in their organs especially the liver. Vitamin D ad A specifically, and in high amounts. If you don’t like organs, you can add small amounts into sauces and soups. I blend chicken liver from organic, grass fed chickens into beef stroganoff and it’s amazing. Use very small amounts to start, an ounce or less so you don’t ruin your meal. I cut up the liver and freeze on a cookie sheet to have small pieces to use at a time. We’ve been very fortunate lately and have been getting free liver from Deer. Sound scary? When my mother brought it to me, it was the most amazing and Healthy looking liver I had ever seen. Actually, the entire deer is that way. I stare in awe at feet that are never gnarly, broken or raw. Their hides are so full and thick and their flesh smells so clean that my mom can’t resist eating it raw. O.o

These foods I have mentioned are all inexpensive and will leave you feeling full longer. They are all nourishing and healing. They will also eliminate the cravings for bad foods when eaten for long enough. An apple a day…
By adding in good, nutrient dense foods you are protecting and strengthening generations to come! Hiya!

So, my last words: A box of something processed can buy a dozen eggs or maybe 5 or 10 lbs of pig fat or a head of cabbage to make a fermented, probiotic rich drink (called cabbage rejuvelac) or a whack load Of bones or a bag of apples. Stop robbing the hole and start nourishing it. You deserve it!

For more info on fermenting contact me or join my partner and I on fb at “Nadine and Keirsten’s Fermentation Station.”
Another great resource is Donna Schwenk’s site
http://www.culturedfoodlife.com

Mouth watering goodness. A meal complete with ferments (the jalapeños were fermented).

20121129-084351.jpg

Liver on a cookie sheet.

20121129-085112.jpg

20121129-085510.jpg

Soaked Oatmeal.

Me.

20121129-085634.jpg

20131230-232415.jpg
Our newest investment… A new baby! Little Aayla Olive.

Vaccinations: the deeper, less dark side.

This post has been a long time coming. Everyone must be dying to know. What’s my opinion on vaccinations? Are they a medical gift to humanity? Or are they an evil chemical burden to our bodies?
I have spent a lot of time reading about vaccinations and talking to people on both sides about it; years and years. This will not be an article giving you vaccine statistics, there is enough of that already if you’re interested.
I would like to explore the deeper sides of vaccinations and the reasons why we do or don’t. I want to delve into the reasons above numbers and charts and horrifying images of children burdened by disease.
I’ve spent a great deal of time agonizing in thought over what is the correct choice? Which course of action will leave me superior and right? I want to be right.
The more I learned, the more complicated it got… The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears, suggested what they call an “Alternative Vaccine Schedule”. Meaning that you weigh the risks of the disease at the time during the risks of the vaccine. It also means that you delay some vaccines until your children are older and have a more developed immune system. The problem I found with this is that Public Health is not really designed for this. The vaccines offered are combined and so if you want tetanus, you also get the standard five (for children under seven) diphtheria, pertussis, polio and rubella and on occasion (according to our public health nurse here) you get the influenza vaccine in it as well. Even for adults you cannot just get a tetanus shot. It still has tetanus and diphtheria.
This certainly doesn’t make things easy when being selective with vaccines. I wonder why this is?
So I dug deeper and listened to all the arguments, and came up with many of my own. I could not identify with most people’s positions on the issue, on both sides. One side, I would hear them declare emphatically how necessary it is to vaccinate children for their health and how stupid it is not to do so. Many implied that not doing so was downright neglectful to their well-being while containing to feed their children processed foods, large amount of sugar and other things known to cause and contribute to every known ailment. It was as if they didn’t believe trans fats contribute to cancer but vaccines prevent illness. I was baffled.
People on the other side that I came across were so adamant in being right with their approach against vaccines that it seemed to be ingrained in their identity. It is a dangerous thing to build your identity on opinions because it makes it difficult to shift and grow with new information. Anyways, I was no longer in it for a fight, but most were still there. Both sides considered the other to be dangerous and harmful and were extremely passionate in this.
As I reflected on what I thought my opinions may be, I realized that many of my arguments could be used to support either side of the debate. They were common, and weak: “I want my children to be healthy.” And “I couldn’t live with myself if anything bad happened.” and “There is so much we don’t know.” and ” I’d rather be safe than sorry.”. None of these statements demonstrated a holistic (all encompassing) understanding to health and safety. They were simple, blanket statements intended to justify one’s actions. But were they right? I figured something life changing out…
That in order to see the whole picture I needed to make a decision that wasn’t based out of fear. My first child was not vaccinated due to fear instilled by my father (thanks, Dad). He lectured us on the toxic ingredients like aluminum, mercury, animal blood and formaldehyde. He stated lawsuits due to vaccine damage, and it was high. He protested against my school’s principal insistence to vaccinate me with playful yet serious threats “I’ll cut off your head!”. And so I stayed away from vaccines and felt confident enough in that, I was 18.
When my second son was born I was faced with the same decisions again and my arguments against vaccination felt weak. I became bothered by doctors and nurses description of dead babies with whooping cough and deformed children due to polio. Horrible posters of complications due to measles and mumps hung in nurses offices where it is custom to get your baby weighed. It became obvious that with age I had matured. My instincts kicked in with a deep desire to breastfeed and never let my new baby cry it out. I had to know more about vaccines. I chose not to vaccinate him due to all the fears I had read about Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Dr.Wakefield’s accusations of them contributing or even causing Autism, not really a decision based on instinct. The fear on both sides is intense. I have felt them both. There was fear of debilitating illness from the diseases which vaccines can prevent and then there’s fear of rare adverse reactions to the vaccine and death on both sides. In the darkness of our room with a sick child coughing and hot, I would become wide-eyed and wondering… have I made a terrible mistake? I asked myself if this would be the rare time a child dies needlessly. I could see the sorry looks of “I told you so. You should of vaccinated.”.
I needed to sit with myself in a still place and really let it all sink in. With my third child, I had more information yet and was still comfortable not vaccinating her. We spent hours with the public health nurse, drilling her with question after question. Her words lingered in my head for a long time. We then came face to face with a vaccine-preventable illness. It was the time that the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) was going around claiming to be life-threatening to pregnant women, infants and the elderly and it was everywhere. It was a huge deal. People wore masks and news stories inciting fear spread like wild fire. I was pregnant with my fourth child and test results confirmed what most people feared at that time; I had contracted the H1N1 virus. They called me into the office and handed me a mask that I was to wear everywhere I went. A masked person is a frightening thing to see (or be) in a grocery store. So I had the swine flu and my symptoms included a mild cough, heart palpitations (I think) and being tired. I had experienced MUCH worse flus in my life. I understand that people did die from it, but as a common person, it was no big deal to me. Why all the hype? We lived through it and for it acquired natural immunity to it. Had I gotten the vaccination, it would have turned out to be an over reaction to media induced fear. Not getting vaccinated in that instance proved to be right for us at that time. But how can we know before hand? We can’t. We didn’t. Things could have turned out much different. I lived the risk and was fine for it, but life doesn’t always go that way. I can imagine what an insult refusing vaccinations is to someone who has lost an infant to whooping cough or has seen someone through polio.
I see the extreme situations like that and I notice how it gets out of hand. But where does it end? Can we vaccinate against everything? Is the chicken pox vaccination really necessary when it is a harmless childhood disease? When I got shingles I started researching it. Many people were suggesting that the rise in shingles is due to children not getting chicken pox. This is because older people were no longer being exposed to it and getting natures “booster shot”. Could this be true? What else works in this way? Our bodies truly are amazing and want to survive, but they need the right tools. Could one of those tools be vaccinations which work with your immune system?
Let’s go deeper and challenge it further: We could also consider vaccinating healthy adults to limit exposure to the elderly, infants, pregnant women and those with auto-immune disorders. People with healthy gut flora, those who drink adequate water and nourishing foods like bone broth and fermented drinks will will be able to flush out a lot of the toxic ingredients in vaccines.
It may be apparent by now that I have not chosen stance on either side even though my actions indicate I am anti-vaccine. Yet I can not be anti for something where it is clear that it has prevented many deaths and debilitation. That is another one of those statements that could be used for the opposite position to support not vaccinating… Wink, wink. Is it really possible to support the opposite of what you do? I’m going down the rabbit hole here and I don’t imagine it ends… We can philosophize and meditate on it forever, but one wants to make a choice.
Ultimately, it resonates with me to allow nature to do its work with building strong immune systems naturally. I feel passionate about building and maintaing amazing health with increased immunity through bone broth, organ meats, eggs and fermented foods. That’s the path I have chosen; it speaks to me. I can sit with that choice and feel secure. I am comfortable with allowing natures way of always trying to gain strength over what could harm it; evolving and gaining one up on the other with my help by providing nourishment for it. I’m focusing on more than just food to prevent severe illness. It’s also important to practice proper and frequent hand washing, breastfeeding from age two and beyond, diet (this is HUGE) and limited exposure to pathogens. These vaccine preventable illnesses are most risky to children under two and some even just children under six months. It’s possible that my child has even had pertussis. A blood test could confirm their already existent immunity to it, there’s another route you could go. Because of all this and because my children are not in school they are not in the high risk group for infection. Besides, exposure to germs is what builds strong immune systems. Lab rats born to sterile mothers in sterile environments proved to be sick and weakly.
I also know that I could deal with whatever nature has to give me. For me, it is what is and therefore always “right”. I know we are strong and our diet is rich in deeply nourishing foods that are alive and nutrient dense. I’ve also made peace with the fact that there are no guarantees in life. Even if I attempt to control every aspect of life, things can go wrong, people can die. I accept it.
The final answer is this: make your choice from your quiet and still place unburdened by fears. We’ve chosen not to vaccinate for now but I support anyone who does. Both can stem from ones sacred path. I see that both our choices come from that same place.

20121114-134029.jpg

What we ate today: nothing goes to waste.

Today I’m feeling especially motivated and passionate about these nutrient dense foods. And so I must make bay while the sun shines. When I’m like this I make “convenience” foods for later on so I can rest well-fed. Not only are these convenience foods nourishing, but so many of the most nutrient dense foods are very cheap or free! I froze small pieces of deer liver on a cookie sheet and then put it in a bag so I can take out a little a time to add to foods. My husband is not picky but does not like liver, yet can’t tell when small amounts are added to soups, stews and sauces. Liver has been free for us from many sources; my freezer is about a quarter full of liver and I’m so grateful. Chicken feet are another thing that can be obtained free and made into convenience foods. I pressure can broth. It makes a good breakfast or lunch with some added miso and egg yolk or veggies. Many farmers actually throw them chicken feet away. Chicken feet make the most rich stock you’ll ever taste! When refrigerated it is solid gelatin. Broth is extremely nourishing and healing, I add it to everything.
Other than adding liver to leftover soup, Today, I’m rendering lard and straining my vinegar of the fruit where it will continue to ferment another few weeks. You can make delicious, sweet smelling vinegar from fruit scraps and overripe bananas. I’m doing banana and pineapple, from pineapple skins which would normally be composted or thrown away. I’m also preparing to make a crock of kimchi tonight, so I’m glad to have the leftovers. Kimchi can be a convenience food as Kimchi and rice make a great snack or Meal. I find myself salivating when I think about it to the point that my mouth drips saliva. My neighbor Keirsten and I have been simultaneously enjoying our super spicy combined effort kimchi. Late at night we feast on kimchi with rice and organic butter. My husband and two year old son love it as well.

Morning: Eggs (2 minutes- the children made their own.)
-Rendering lard. This will take all day of watching the temp and then straining out “crispins” when it is done hours later. This will give me about six months worth of high quality, inexpensive, versatile fat. I’ll use it in everything with combination of organic butter and coconut oil. Lard helps even out the cost of fats as it is SO cheap. The fat cost me $15, which is actually more than I usually pay. You can even acquire it for free if you look around.
-Fruit vinegars. (5 minutes prep time)

Lunch: leftover beef barley (sprouted) soup with egg yolk and sauerkraut. (3 minutes prep time)
-Water kefir to drink

Afternoon: Coconut flour/Arrowroot flour muffins. I’m using sour cherries from Grandma and Grandpa’s.
-Strain, feed and second ferment milk kefir (5 minutes prep time, the microbes work 24 hrs a day!)

Supper: Leftover chicken that we butchered this summer with
vegetables And sprouted rice. (5 minutes prep time)

Evening Snack: Muffins that I made in the afternoon and sour cherry kefir smoothies (5 minute prep time)

20121117-000725.jpg

What they watched today.

My children have complete freedom to watch tv whenever they want and whatever they want. We have two tv’s and two portable tv/DVD players. If children have access to it all the time, won’t they always want to be on it? Let’s look at what they did today:

Emmett (2.5 years)- a Bigfoot movie held his attention for TWO MINUTES because Nova and her babies were much more interesting. We had some great opportunities to work out some stuff. Emmett kept stealing her baby and we had to find a way to meet both their needs. Need for a baby of his own, and Nova needed to play with hers peacefully. We did it!

Nova (4 yrs) -She didn’t watch any tv in the morning. She played with her babies. In the afternoon, She played outside, played LEGO, happily went to karate and then went to her grandmas house, cane home and crashed.

Chaz (6 yrs)- he didn’t watch any tv in the morning but I’m not really sure what he did do. 😀 at lunch he brought the tv/DVD to the table while he ate and watched that Big Foot Movie, TWENTY MINUTES. He spent the rest of the afternoon pursuing his other interests with Nova (LEGO, snow fort building and karate). Chaz went to karate. In the evening he went with his grandma to help cut up deer with the hunters.

Michael (11 3/4 yrs) -he didn’t watch any tv in the morning. He did however attempt to wake up early again by setting clock for 7 am. He has expressed interest in self-regulating his sleep and schedule. After his alarm went off, He stumbled out to the living room and slept on the couch for most of the morning. I’m guessing he didn’t want to miss anything. Michael spent the afternoon outside in the snow building forts, or maybe it was one giant snow fort. He made rooms for his siblings and they helped on and off. Just before supper Michael used my smart phone, so I’ll count that towards tv time, SIXTY-FIVE MINUTES. He watched a show before bed, I’m guessing SIXTY MINUTES.

Total times spent on tv (or other screens) in one day:

Emmett- 2.5 minutes (or less!)
Nova- no TV at all, but she did play on her dads phone around supper time.
Chaz – 20 minutes
Michael- 2 hours ( part of that was time spent on my phone)

With that being said, I want to say that I am not against them using the tv. Sometimes they watch a lot and other days they don’t watch any. The point is to use our technology responsibly. I think excessive and mindless tv consumption only happens when children are not engaged in the world around them. So rather than tv being the problem, it is really a symptom to be dealt with at the source: Disconnection to others. I still think we can watch tv and be connected though (nothings black and white for me). My son, Chaz who Is six, we connect over watching documentaries on dinosaurs. He loves telling me about what he sees or is learning. I live sharing this passion with him.
Back to too much Tv being a symptom, I’ve noticed that when I am busy, or not feeling well (depressed, sad, angry, etc) I become disengaged with the children and they tend to watch more tv. I’m learning to connect with them even through these emotions. I am seeing how I can be sad or tired and still be available for them.

20121115-145954.jpg

20121115-150003.jpg

To Busy Parents and People:

There are so many amazing people out there that are dedicating their time to research and development in nourishing foods. There are books and blogs but what I’m hearing parents say is that they don’t have time to read all the information. They know that health impacts their entire life, but don’t know where to start. They would like to improve their diet and they have stacks of books or pages of articles that they mean to read but never get to. Does this sound like you? Well, I have time. I would like to make this a place that brings together all the best recipes with the wisdom of the ages and the most recent research. I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel instead I would like to honour those that have already done it. And by wheel I mean cheese from a grass-fed cow.
I am committed to helping busy parents (and non-parents) improve the health of their entire family.
You can make that change and I want to help! It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming either. You can fit it into your schedule. Let me do the leg work and report my findings. Over the next few months I’ll be summarizing important books for parents; books on health and deep nutrition. I’ll also be exploring ways that parents can make their own convenience foods to replace the typical boxed cereals, crackers and other snacks. I’ll be highlighting the most important foods and the ones to avoid. Who would like to borrow some of my time?

20121115-142216.jpg

What We Ate Today: Comfort and Warmth.

Morning, a chicken stew for breakfast, why not? Before even coffee I put on onions and carrots to sautée in Butter for an hour on low while I stumble around drinking my room temperature mineral water, kefir then coffee. The children ate some soaked steel cut oats leftover from the last “What we ate today.”. After the vegetables were soft I added two quart sized jars of homemade bone broth, a few spoons of arrowroot to thicken, garlic, dried celery leaves, real salt and dried parsley. The children each had two or three bowls of soup. I’m really noticing it now how easily they accept and take to real food. It wasn’t always that way. Now the oldest wakes up with a hunger for sauerkraut. The others ask for miso in their soup and the baby devours bowls of spicy kimchi. Chaz had a stomach ache today and blamed it on not having eaten anything fermented. They feel it in their bodies now and when they eat something like candy or white bread, they feel how it hurts them.
For supper I’ve started the chicken recipe boiling in a sauce that promises to be sticky, thick and delicious. Children swoon around it as it boils. The two older children visiting asked if they could stay for supper. I was thrilled but not sure how they would take to my real food, ferments and all. So supper… It goes great, they eat it up even the rice with lard (I ran out of butter). They ask for seconds of the fermented cherry “soda”. And we talked about food. The oldest child said that she didn’t know what was good for her… I even got to talk about microbes.

Morning:
-Leftover soaked steel cut oats (1 min prep)
-chicken stew (10 minutes or less prep.)

Afternoon:
-Almond milk and skinned almonds for almond flour and tamari almonds (1/2 hour prep time) Documented in this blog.
-more chicken stew from the morning (the time it takes to scoop out stew and put in a bowl).
-Canned Pears (canning and fermenting like mad during the summer abundance pays off)
-nourishing carrot cake with coconut Whipped topping (20 min. Prep)

Evening: this glaze chicken with something I made mindlessly: Rice soaked in second fermented kefir that was made with coconut and coffee beans. (20 min. Prep)
-Sauerkraut
-Leftover Hamburger and peas with curry
-Cherry almond and peach spice water kefir soothed the soda cravings of many. (bottling time 10 minutes)

Wow. Documenting what we eat has been powerful for me. It gives me a complete picture, helps me plan for the next days and makes me more aware. Thank you for being a part of it.

20121112-112045.jpg