I am not a big fresh fruit eater. I just don’t usually care to grab an apple or an orange, or any fruit really to snack on. Maybe occasionally I might grab a banana or a slice of watermelon (if I am cutting it for the kids) but that is about it. I prefer to eat my “fruit” in some kind of nut/fruit bar or in a green smoothie. Sometimes I have to consciously try to get some fruit into my diet and that is when some kind of snack bar is perfect. That way I can just toss one in my lunch bag or grab one on my way out the door for a quickie snack and I don’t have to feel quite so bad that I am not eating fruit. I also get the benefits of diversity when I eat fruits I would almost never grab for fresh…apples, pears, cherries, mango, etc.
This is why I have been enjoying OneBar. Each bar has a full serving of fruit and the ingredients list is minimal and simple, mostly just fruit and a bit of fruit juice. No added sugar, gluten, or wheat. The bars also contain Baobab, a super fruit new to the US, but well loved for centuries in Africa (especially among nursing mothers). It is fair-trade sourced and full of antioxidants and this fruit product is one of the few that you can get here with Baobab in it. It is said to have more nutrition packed inside it than any other super fruit. Baobab has nearly six times the amount of potassium found in bananas, lots of vitamin C and is a great source of fiber and magnesium.
I love that OneBar fruit works with a paleo diet and that they are small enough to take with me if I am going to be away from home for a spell. Having a snack bar on me means I am not going to cave and get something from a vending machine. Nothing good comes from a vending machine. Plus they are super tasty! The cherry is my fave.
We are all big Kombucha fans here. My husband and my three kids adore it and we used to spend a pretty penny buying it bottled from the store. The price is usually anywhere from $4-6 for a single serving bottle. It added up fast and ultimately became a rare treat for us and that was a big shame because Kombucha is so good for you. Imagine my delight that my kids want to drink fermented tea (with oodles of healthy bacteria) instead of drinking soda, milk, or juice. The only thing standing in the way was the price tag.
So what did we do? We decided to brew it ourselves at home and commence with sipping on Kombucha that tasted every bit as good but now only cost about $1.50 a gallon…at MOST. Now we all have all that delicious fizzy Kombucha and all the health benefits for pennies. Here are some of the benefits:
It tastes great!
Help for acid reflux
Low calorie drink for people drinking soda
Helps with weight loss (for the above reason)
Improves energy levels
Supports the immune system
Keeps bowels humming along
Cleanses the liver
Improves the health and appearance of your skin
So that is the WHY and it brings us to the HOW…
I wish I could say it was all smooth sailing but we did run into some problems with brewing initially. Part of it was just error as we learned and part of it was that we had to kind of piece the process together by perusing various websites. We put together our equipment using and reusing what we had on hand. We jerry-rigged a pretty good system in my opinion and the Kombucha was delicious. For anyone wishing to avoid the trial and error headaches we experienced though I would recommend a good Kombucha brewing kit and I think I found the perfect one.
Get Kombucha is an online store that sells a few different continuous brew kombucha kits. The have standard, silver, gold, and super deluxe kits and all have what you need to get started brewing at home from the time the package hits your doorstep. The company graciously sent me their silver kit and within hours I had it set and ready to brew. It also looks fantastic compared to my previous setup.
Everything came quite fast and with eco-friendly custom die cut packaging, which reduces waste (ie no extra packaging or peanuts). In the package was a certified lead free porcelain brewer and a hand crafted wood stand for it. Also provided was a whole leaf tea blend, reusable muslin tea bags, pH strips, gloves, spigots (in black and/or white), cloth covers, and the most important thing…the SCOBY.
The SCOBY or mother culture is the large mushroom looking thing that causes the tea to ferment and it was happily swimming in a just a bit of already fermented Kombucha tea. I love that anyone can get this kit and start brewing immediately. The instructions were easy to understand and the process was actually much faster than the one I developed. SCORE! I would say that within 20 minutes of setting everything up I was finished with the initial brewing phase. My Kombucha is now fermenting. In about 10-14 days we will give it a taste test and see if it is ready but about 14 days is usually our sweet spot.
Can I just say that I love the porcelain brewer. It is very attractive and something I will not mind having prominently displayed in my kitchen.
I think the silver kit has everything you need for a newbie brewer but if you need more help they also offer a collection of free Kombucha training videos. If you lose the instructions card with the recipe (mine is now on my fridge) you can also access it online. It just cannot get any easier. If you are wanting to try making Kombucha at home I hope you will check this out.
Where to Buy: Get Kombucha Continous Brew (Silver Kit)
Thank you to Get Kombucha for sponsoring this post. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of the Green Moms Network, and the content and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
There is an old saying that “you are what you eat”. We hear it often and maybe it has begin to become a bit watered down (by overuse) but really it is quite a truthful statement. Nutritionists like to repeat this quote over and over again to get across to people that food choices are directly linked to our health and to our quality of life. The food that we eat and all of the nutrients contained therein are what provide the building blocks for new cell growth. Cells die off daily and are replaced with new cells. Our bodies are always replenishing and regenerating and that process cannot happen efficiently without the best building materials. Empty calories or substandard food will only ensure that our foundation for health and wellness is weak.
The same applies to the animals that we consume. Many factory farm operations feed their animals foods designed to fatten them up quickly with empty calories so that they can be slaughtered at ever increasing rates. Their goal is not to turn out a healthy animal…just a fat and meaty one. They are fed genetically modified crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides and often they are fed foods that not appropriate for their digestive systems. Cows for instance are meant to eat grass and roughage but in factory farms they are forced to eat grains such as corn. The sugars in corn increase the fat content unnaturally and they cause illness and disease. Some cows have even been given candy when corn prices are too high! Chickens are shut away indoors and kept from the greens they love so much. We have also heard horror stories for years that diseased animals who die in factory farms are recycled as food for the remaining ones.
If you are what you eat, then what do we hope to become by eating animal products that come from factory farms?
This is a scary thought and it is one that paved the way for the rebirth of the grass fed and pastured foods movement. Many consumers are no longer comfortable eating factory farmed meat and eggs. Instead they are seeking out beef from cows who are allowed to graze freely and eat the healthy food that they were intended to eat. These same folks also buy farm fresh eggs from farms where the chickens are cage free and allowed to roam and eat grass, seeds, bugs, fruit, and other foods more natural to them.
People who want grassfed and pastured products aren’t being snobs or prescribing to some kind of elitism. We hear all the time that paleo (which centers around wild, grassfed, pastured foods) is elitist. But is it really being snobbish and elitist if you want to consume healthy animals?? No.
Grassfed meat is lean and has a fat content that more closely resembles chicken or wild game. This actually helps to improve your cholesterol levels instead of raise them. While it is low in the bad fats associated with high cholesterol, it is very high in the good fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. All of the nutrition from the pastures they graze translates into lean cuts of meat and delicious milk that are nutritionally superior and much healthier for your family.
Pastured eggs are said to have about 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids than their factory farmed counterparts. The moment you crack open a pastured egg you can tell from the dark orange yolk that you are eating something rich and full of nutrition. They also taste infinitely better than conventional store bought eggs. Once you try them you will be hard pressed to ever go without again.
We truly are what we eat and if we choose to eat animal products then would be wise to choose the healthiest and most nutritious animals… grass fed and pastured.
How to Find GrassFed, Pastured Foods:
Check out what you have locally available. The web site Eat Wild should be your first stop. It will tell you all the places in your area where you can get these products. Within seconds of checking my own locale I was linked to sources for chickens, eggs, rabbit, duck, cows, pigs, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, etc. All come from grassfed, pastured, or wild animals.
If you cannot find much locally there are places to buy online such as US Wellness Meats.
To your health!
When you think of gelatin you probably think of jello in all its crazy colors and think…tasty but not very good for me. Or maybe you think of Julia Child’s famous aspic recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking…mmmm meat flavored jello. Yeah, no thanks.
So it may surprise you to know that gelatin has health benefits that you should not overlook. Bone broth is all the rage right? Well gelatin should be too. In fact it is found in homemade bone broths, in small amounts. We just need more of it. What is gelatin? It is derived from collagen obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones of animals. It may sound kind of gross but it packs a punch.
Some of the major health benefits derived from eating gelatin are as follows:
Metabolism & Weight Loss: Gelatin contains arginine and Glycine and they both help support the body’s metabolism. They help us to build muscle (which means we are burning more calories) and they help us convert glucose to energy rather than fat. By eating gelatin you can make gains within a strength training program (and get stronger) and also lose weight if that is your goal.
Joint Conditions: Gelatin is a product which might be able to help people suffering from stiff or sore joints, especially before the condition worsens. Since it has a lot of amino acids it acts as an important component in the prevention of degenerating cartilage. If your parents or grandparents suffered from joint pain or arthritis than you need to take preventative measures.
Skin Health: Beauty products that have collagen in them are in high demand. Collagen helps to plump our skin up, make it more firm, and make it look and feel more youthful. These products are largely useless though because collagen is too large to be absorbed by the skin. We can however get benefits from dietary collagen…aka gelatin. Many people report that their skin looks and feels more youthful and healthy immediately after introducing more high quality gelatin into their diet. It is also supposed to help with loose skin and wrinkles.
Strong Hair & Nails: Keratin is the key structural component of our hair and nails. Gelatin is also a source of this important protein and it can vastly improve the appearance of your hair and nails as well as improve their strength. In short, gelatin is a powerful beauty tool.
Digestion: Gelatin can help with digestion by giving the foods we consume a smooth passage through our digestive tract.
Cellulite: Of course this cannot be proven but gelatin is gaining traction as a way to combat cellulite nonetheless. It makes sense because collagen helps to plump and firm our skin. If it can help with wrinkles than why not those unsightly skin dimples?
So now that you know why you need gelatin how do you get more of it the diet…short of aspic and jello? Easy. Try adding high quality gelatin to:
Warm cereals – oatmeal, cream of wheat
Soups and stews
I recommend Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin. It is much higher quality than the cheapy stuff you find at most local grocery stores. You want gelatin from pastured cows not from factory farmed, sickly animals.
To your health!
I am making chicken soup for my hubby on this fine day because he is sick. Poor guy.
I wanted to make it extra nourishing so I am adding lots of veggies and herbs and of course TONS of garlic. Peeling garlic on the other hand is one of my least favorite things to do. In fact I will usually settle for 2-3 cloves instead of the whole bulb (which is how much I love garlic) just because of my disdain for peeling it.
This morning I was determined to add that garlic though because it does wonders for the immune system with its ample supply of vitamin C and vitamin B6. It’d be good for my sick hubby and also the rest of the household, who don’t want to get his illness.
I recalled the video below of a chef who shows how to peel a whole head of garlic in seconds and I always wanted to try it. Today I did and was pleasantly surprised to see that it actually does work. It’s amazing! Happy Garlic Day!
The only downside is that I feel kind guilty dirtying two bowls because I want to get out of some grunt work but if it means I will cook with garlic more, I can live with that.