30
Mar

TGIF – CrossFit, Calories, Books, and Diaper Free Babies

by Tiffany in Tidbits

What a week! TGIF!

A had a health hiccup recently that threw me for a loop but I was able to get things under control. Basically my thyroid went wacko and I slipped back into hypothyroid symptoms despite my medication. Once again my hair started falling out and my basal body temperature dipped to 96.2 on average. Panic started to set in and I began to doubt my diet since diet is what threw my thyroid into a tailspin in the first place. I was able to figure out though that my symptoms started right when I joined a CrossFit box. From there it was not hard to figure out that my calorie expenditure went way up and my calories going in, did not. It was accidental calorie restriction and that is well known for causing low body temperatures and thyroid problems due to bodily stress. I didn’t even think about it because I wasn’t losing any weight. In fact I gained some. But yet I know that I have gained an incredible amount of muscle since I started doing CrossFit. I am well on my way to Linda Hamilton’s Terminator arms and Tamilee Webb’s Buns of Steel. Booyah!

So I started eating 500+ calories more than usual each day and my temperatures are steadily going up. 98.3 as of yesterday! I also decided to try and vary my carbs to more greens, veggies, and fruit instead of Lara bars and yogurt. And despite eating way more, I lost a teeny bit of weight this week so I know I am not eating too much. My hair is loss is already slowing greatly too. Things are looking up!

Despite that snafu, I am so very much in love with CrossFit I can not even express it. This video kind of does it justice:

If not maybe this piece of sheer awesomeness does. I got a kettlebell necklace from Flashletics this week. Love, love, love!

I have been spending lots of time outside gardening and just sitting on my beloved Adirondack chair reading a book and earthing. I believe in the concept so much. Any time I have even the slightest ache or pain it is gone within minutes of digging my feels into the dirt. I also decided to visit a chiropractor to work on persistent back pain due to years of working at a desk and that is also improving. Once weekly I get a massage, chiro adjustment, and a session on a traction table. If only I could move my computer desk outside onto the grass I think all my problems would be solved. ;)

So far I have started radish, lettuce, and rainbow chard seeds inside my house in my little greenhouse. I also repotted a red raspberry bush into a bigger pot. It already has lots of leaves and new growth. I also have pink hydrangea starting to get growth and an indoor purple hydrangea blooming. Yay for spring! Can’t wait to get started planting inside our raised bed.

The kids and I also did some crafting outside but I probably won’t share info on that until Screen Free Week, which is from April 30th to May6th. But here is a preview:

 

Books I have read of late:

The 4-Hour Workweek – In general I really like the ideas and concepts presented here. It encourages you to forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan. It’s all about living your dreams now and not putting off things like world travel, especially in unpredictable economic times.

The Self Sufficient-ish Bible: An Eco-living Guide for the 21st Century – An awesome book to read on a warm spring day outside. It seeks to show you how you can live a more self sufficient, eco-concious lifestyle without drastically altering the way you live now.

Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected – Always good to have reminders and tips.

Fever (Chemical Garden) – The sequel to Wither, which I loved. Didn’t like this one as much but still excited for the third book.

The Goddess Test – Kinda liked this book and want to continue the series. Its about a young woman who gets an offer from Hades to marry him and help him run the Underworld if she can pass seven tests.

Other Cool Links: 

Enjoyed this post by Matt Monarch of Raw Food World about his diaper free baby daughter. Really wish I had tried EC with my babes!

These RSVP Herb Scissors are wonderful! I need these pronto!

This article on Getting Your Kids to Plug into Nature. I love how Diane recommends getting kids outside even if it is rainy. Just put on some boots, a raincoat, and get out there!

I plan on making a grain free carrot cake for either Easter or Earth Day or both. Maybe this one?

Have a great weekend all and feel free to share amazing links you have discovered recently in the comments. Don’t keep all the good stuff to yourself!

29
Mar

Flip & Tumble Reusable Produce Bags

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Deal now closed. 

The Deal of the Day at Reuseit is for these super practical produce bags. I have some bags like these myself (though I needed to get more!) because they are perfect for Farmer’s market season and shopping the bulk bins at natural grocery stores. Instead of your market vendor bagging those yummy green beans or cucumbers in a plastic bag you can just hand them one of these. You can also fill one up with bulk grains, nuts, or seeds from the bins at Whole Foods. These bags are polyester but I actually like them better than cotton bags because the latter tend to shrink and get holes. :(

I don’t know how many times these nifty bags have saved me from having to accept a plastic produce bag.  They are well worth the initial, small investment. Today only a five bag set is 30% off, making them $7.76. Use code FLIP30. Enjoy!

28
Mar

The Slow Movement: What Exactly Is It?

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

slow movement

To understand what the slow movement is and what it could mean in our lives, we first need to take a look at what life is currently like for most of us today. We have schedules that are generally jam-packed full of things to do ranging from work, to errands, to chauffeuring kids to after school activities. Often times our schedules are so full during the week that it is often hard for some of us to plan meals and cook a decent dinner… which of course can mean purchasing take-out foods several times a week. Proper nutrition and the connection we have with family at meal times should be one of our biggest priorities and yet we are so busy that they get sidelined for faster and easier.

The slow movement is a completely opposite lifestyle. Instead of cramming as much as can be crammed into the schedule, slow movement advocates are purposely slowing things down so they can pause and enjoy life. The slow movement is a cultural shift that touches on a number of areas in life, including:

• Food – As mentioned above, a lot of folks are eating fast-food several times throughout the week. I used to be one of them. The slow movement though emphasizes mindful eating, which is not compatible with the fast-food culture prevalent today. Advocates of slow food believe in eating the right foods, carefully picked, at a slower rate so they are thoroughly able to enjoy their food and relish in the nutrients that are bringing health and wellness to their bodies. This is why many slow food fans enjoy artisan fare, local markets, and foods celebrating various cultures and heritages.

• Travel – Even our vacations seem rushed and not relaxing enough. We try to pack in as much adventure as we can and end up feeling anything but refreshed and relaxed by the end of our “vacation”. Slow travel advocates focus on slowing down when they travel. Instead of rushing from location to location while on vacation, slow travelers often choose destinations where they are able to mingle with the local residents and connect with the community there in a meaningful way.

• City Life – Believe it or not, entire cities are considered “slow.” The concept of “slow cities” originated in Italy. These communities generally have no more than 50,000 people who all agree on meeting certain principles and “slow criteria.” Often, these cities have a slower feel to them as they have less noise and traffic. I actually love to read about living in countries that value this slower lifestyle so I can see how to incorporate some of that into my day to day life. Good books that come to mind are Go Slow Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, and The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France. I have an entire shelf in my bedroom of books like these.

• Education – Advocates of slow schooling place more emphasis on teaching children how to connect with the world than the information found in text books and test scores. Slow educational practices focus more on discovering how individual children learn best, finding out what they love, and combining these with real life experiences and adventures to enhance learning.

• Investing – Advocates of the slow movement believe in shopping local and investing their money in the communities where they live, work, and play. They believe that by investing in small enterprises and businesses within the local community, they will be able to better stimulate the local economy, which helps everyone. It also makes them more mindful of where their money goes and what it goes to support.

• Reading – Yes, believe it or not, the slow movement even touches literacy. Today, there are a number of reading aids available to people… tablets, e-books, e-readers, blogs, etc., which is making the traditional book rare. The world is becoming so wrapped up in the “do-it-now, do-it-fast” mentality that we are losing the simple pleasures in life… such as reading physical books. There is nothing wrong with reading e-books on your tablet or e-reader, but it is helpful to unplug and pick up a real book on a regular basis. Reading helps reduce stress, improve motivation, and start inspiration.

Even though I am always taking steps to go slower I frequently have moments where I know I could be doing more. This past weekend I went to see a new release movie and I ended up taking my seat 35 minutes before the start time. I brought a book but it was too dark to read so I played on my smart  phone until it went dead. The realization that I was uncomfortable to just sit and do nothing for 15 minutes without something to occupy me and entertain me, really bothered me. I made a conscious decision to embrace that time and be content with having nothing better to do than people watch and be with my own thoughts. It was refreshing. Why is it so hard to be mindful of this all the time?

Now it’s your turn. What steps have you taken to “go slow”? Do you struggle with it?

Recommended: In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

26
Mar

3 Eco Easter Egg Dying/Painting Options

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

When Easter rolls around the the eco conundrum that all green families face is what to use to dye or paint the Easter eggs. Actually the bigger dilemma for me is the fact that I buy nasty, factory farmed, bleached white eggs to make the dye job easier but we consider the paint/dye as well. Since my beautiful pastured brown and green eggs won’t dye well (we’ve tried) we buy the conventional white ones for this endeavor and we don’t eat them. Some day we may get around to trying to blow the yolks out so we can reuse the eggs but until that time we use one of three ways to get eggcellent color.

Dying Easter Eggs With Natural Homemade Food Dyes

Most people color their eggs with store bought egg kits that contain dyes made from petrochemicals, but in times past eggs were colored with plant materials found in nature. It’s fun to get back to the basics!

To dye eggs with natural coloring put raw, white-shelled eggs in a pan and cover with water and a teaspoon of white vinegar. Add your coloring agent and bring to a boil and then let the eggs simmer for 15 minutes. Rinse and allow to cool.

You can also hard boil them first and then fill glass jars with water and the coloring agent, putting the jars in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and then stirring. Then allow the eggs to sit in the jars overnight.

For pink and red colored eggs use cranberry juice, beets, or raspberries.

For yellow eggs use saffron or tumeric

For purple eggs use red wine.

For blue eggs use red cabbage leaves or blueberries.

For brown eggs use grape juice, rosehip tea, or coffee.

For orange eggs use yellow onion skins.

Dying Easter Eggs With Natural Store Bought Dyes

Our favorite natural egg dying kit is Eco Eggs (see above photo).  Gorgeous no?

The dyes are made using natural plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts. It includes three natural dyes (orange, blue and purple), a color chart for creating 6 colors, and instructions for coloring eggs.

Coloring Easter Eggs With Natural Plant Based Paints

This is the route we went this year and we turned to GLOB Natural Paints, which is an old favorite of ours. Specifically we used the Glob All Natural Paint Pigments Set. You can use them for egg painting as well as regular painting and even tinting natural play dough. The set has four colors.. basil, lemon verbena, pomegranate, and berry blue. The powders are all crafted from fruits, vegetables, flowers, and spices. Just add water and you have paint. They even smell like the yummy foods/plants used to make them!

The eggs in the top photo are what we ended up with. I think for more perfect photo worthy eggs the Eco Eggs dye is better but for kiddie fun the Glob paints are tops. My kids had a blast mixing the paints and then hand painting their eggs. We also like the marbled look.

How will you dye your eggs this year?

26
Mar

Creamy French Toast Pancakes Recipe

by Tiffany in Recipes

One of the issues I have with hitting the gym (or a CrossFit class) in the early mornings is that it kind of screws up normal mealtimes. I also cannot eat a big meal before exercising or I will get crampy so most days I grab a Lara bar and call it my morning meal. Then when I get home I debate whether or not to fix a meal for myself (everyone is still sleeping) or snack until we can eat a meal together. Either way I usually have a cravings for breakfast style foods whether it is actually breakfast time or lunch. Pancakes is one thing I LOVE to eat post workout.

Today was one of those days when I just grabbed a banana and waited until lunch time before I made my first big meal of the day. I wanted a change of pace from our usual coconut pancakes but my order from Tropical Traditions arrived just as a I got home with Organic Maple Syrup. Yum! This is my fave maple syrup ever! So, to mix it up I made cheesy french toast pancakes. Okay the name is lame but they taste like french toast without the toast and in a pancake form with just a hint of fried cheesecake in the middle. Seriously good and they are grain free and lacto-paleo.

Creamy French Toast Pancakes Recipe

4 pastured eggs
8 ounces (one package) organic full fat cream cheese
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cap full pure vanilla
Coconut oil for cooking (we use Tropical Traditions coconut oil)
Pure maple syrup

Mix up in a good blender (I am partial to the Vita-Mix) and pour on to your cast iron skillet or griddle, aiming for pancakes about six inches in diameter. Use cooking oil to grease your pan/griddle if need be. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side. They will be a glorious golden brown. Top with pure maple syrup and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 15 thin pancakes and three of us gobbled them all up today so if you have a big family you may want to double this recipe.

Added to Traditional Tuesdays