Sunday, September 16, 2012

Under the Weather (and a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup)

We've been feeling a little under the weather here lately so I thought this would be a good time to share my favorite cold and flu remedies. I wish I could say we never get sick bc I am such a baby about being sick, I just hate it it always feels like such a waste of time. I have to remind myself that times of illness are really just a time to strengthen and build my immune system and submit to the rest my body needs and unfortunately gets deprived of in everyday life. Here's my arsenal of remedies to help us feel better when we have "the crud":

-Broth broth and more broth!!! (I add a spoonful of coconut oil and a clove of 
 pressed garlic to each cup as well)
-Probiotics, in both pill and food form.
-Fermented Cod Liver oil
-My "should kill it all" tea which consists of organic ginger tea, a slice of 
 fresh ginger, a few drops of thieves oil, a spoon full of coconut oil, a splash 
 of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, a clove of crushed 
 garlic, and a touch of raw honey.
-Hot (as hot as you can stand) baths with Epsom salts, hydrogen peroxide, 
 crushed garlic and ginger essential oil (or fresh ginger pressed)
-Humidifier with essential oils (Raven, which is a blend by Young Living for a 
 dry cough or eucalyptus oil, and/or Thieves which you can also buy as a 
 blend from Young Living but its much cheaper to buy the individual oils from 
 another reputable company and make it yourself.)
-Chicken or turkey and veggie soup of course :) I like to add some coconut oil 
 and additional fresh pressed garlic to each bowl for added antiviral/antibiotic 
-Butternut squash soup (Recipe below)
-Homemade cough, congestion and sore throat syrup (honey, whiskey, dry 
 peppermint,  horehound, slippery elm, thyme, cinnamon and sage)
-Thieves Lozenges (bought from Young Living)
-Hot and cold showers
-Super tonic, which you can buy (Dr. Schultz brand) but also cheaper to make  
 yourself and super easy too.
-Yin Chao (Plum Flower brand) and Yin Chao Jr. (Health Concerns brand)
-Elderberry Tincture (also most affordable to make yourself)
-onion poultices, so soothing for coughs and helps to break up congestion
-garlic, as much you can stand both raw and cooked.
-SLEEP, as much as possible!! Which is always harder for mom than anyone 
 else but so crucial for our bodies to heal!
-Did I mention broth ? ;)

Just an note here regarding Young Living oils... In my opinion they are good oils and products for the most part. I do buy a couple of their blends (Raven and RC) and their Thieves lozenges regularly. My husband LOVES their toothpaste but my homemade works just as well (I think better but he disagrees) and theirs is VERY expensive. We do buy it for him just bc I love him ;). I also love their thieves mouth wash but as far as the oils go, they are expensive, even if you are a distributor, and in my experience of no better quality than several other reputable companies out there who's oils are much more affordable.

Butternut Squash Soup
-1 large Butternut squash cooked
-about 4-6 cups chicken or turkey broth (add as much as you like to achieve 
 the desired consistency for your soup, amount will vary of course depending 
 upon the size of the squash)
-5-6 large cloves garlic
-bit of honey to taste
-good slice of a sweet onion
- a couple good sized chucks of fresh ginger pressed through a garlic press or 
  a few drops of ginger essential oil
-good large table spoonful of coconut oil
-salt to taste (I prefer Himalayan but any good quality sea salt is fine too)

puree all with immersion blender and simmer (while stirring frequently) until flavors are nicely melded together

This soup is so simple (which is nice when your sick and don't have extra energy for cooking), has only a few ingredients, its super nourishing and so warm comforting when your not feeling well. It's a good way for me to get a good amount of garlic into my little ones who don't take the raw garlic as well as myself or my big kiddos.

Since having children (my eldest will be 13 soon) by Gods grace, there hasn't been any bug to hit us that these remedies and time have not been able to concur.  Bc there is evidence that even one round of your average antibiotics will irreparably destroy your gut flora for life, it is crucial to me that my kiddos (and my husband and I) avoid them at all costs. As a child and even as a young adult before having children I was on antibiotics regularly (My parents nor I, didn't know any better at the time) and I'm convinced that antibiotics are one of the main contributors to many of my health troubles today and also to the many many allergy and asthma troubles I struggled with as a child. I pray that by having been able to avoid antibiotic use my children will be blessed with better health throughout their lives.

What are your favorite natural tips and tricks for cold and flu season?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GAPS Gharam Crackers! (Gluten, dairy, grain and egg free)

After an exceptionally long hard summer this yr for all of us due to my husbands busy summer schedule we are all overflowing with excitement that we will soon get to take a family camping trip!!!! If feels like we've been waiting forever to have some family time together and can hardly count the days fast enough until we get to go :)

As I've been planning, making lists and thinking mostly about what food to bring I just could hardly imagine a camping trip without s'mores. I have a GAPS legal marshmallow recipe we've used for roasting and the chocolate is easy but had not yet played with any graham cracker recipes. I'm delighted to say that the following recipe is as close to perfect as I can imagine. I am so excited about it I can hardly wait to make a cheesecake with a real graham cracker crust!! That will have to wait until after camping though ;)

Here's what I did....

mix together:
 4 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bkng soda
1/2 cup coconut oil (I think butter would work if one were allergic to coconut oil but maybe decrease the 
     salt a bit if using butter)
1/3 ish cup honey (or to taste)
6 TBLS cinnimon

Press and/or roll dough onto a parchment paper covered, flat, baking sheet to about 1/8" thickness (if rolling you will want to cover dough with parchment paper on top before rolling or it will stick terribly to your rolling pin). Score into squares and prick with fork and bake at 350 until edges turn brown. Remove from oven and cut into squares, let cool, if any are still soft or chewy, dehydrate until all the moisture is gone and they are nice and crispy (if you don't own a dehydrator you could do this in your oven on its lowest setting). My poor baking sheets are pretty warped so my crackers weren't as evenly rolled as I would have liked and some of the thicker spots needed a bit of dehydrating. I'd imagine if you had nice flat bkng sheets and your dough was evenly spread the need for dehydrating would be eliminated.

They were super easy, the kiddos love them and we will have GAPS legal s'mores for our camping trip :)