Mmmm…comfort food. This is what I made for dinner a couple nights ago and it was delicious. I am no food photographer though so if my pictures fail to convey how yummy it was just take my word for it…or make it yourself. ;) It’s easy and quick (about 20 minutes).
The Chops/Loin: I used pork loin because that is what I had on hand. Typically I would use pork chops. To make I just dredged the pork in coconut flour and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence from Mountain Rose Herbs. I cooked them on a cast iron skillet along with a healthy amount of coconut oil AND grass fed butter. I had to cover mine because the pork was so thick but if you use thinner cuts and an open skillet you will get a great sear.
For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes I just peeled, chopped, and boiled for about 10 minutes (until soft) in a Dutch Oven. After straining the water I returned them to the oven and added cinnamon, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup, and a Tablespoon organic raw honey, mixing thoroughly with a hand mixer. It was so tasty that my hubby made the exact same meal for breakfast the next morning, using leftover sweet potatoes. It’s not fancy but it is oh so comforting…
What are you making for dinner?
Tea tree oil has many practical, therapeutic, and medicinal benefits that make it a must have in any green/natural household. Since you can get high quality tea tree oil for an affordable price it is bought and used consistently in our home for all sorts of things. Here are just some of the things you may find it useful for:
- Household cleaning – Tea tree oil is antibacterial so use it to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces where bacteria can linger. Your house will be clean and it will smell great too.
- Removing mildew from clothing and bath towels – In humid areas clothing and bath towels left to lay around damp will often take on a the rank smell of mildew and it can linger even after regular washings in hot water. Tea tree oil is a great additive to kill the mildew and get rid of the smell.
- Get rid of lice – These little critters cannot stand tea tree oil so if your kiddos get it, use tea tree oil in their shampoo and/or in a oil/water spray bottle for daily spray treatments. It is also detested by leeches and ticks I hear.
- Mouth wash – 2-3 drops of the oil in a cup of warm water can be a very effective mouth rinse/wash if you have issues with plaque, oral thrush, canker sores, or gum disease.
- Congestion – Using this essential oil in a diffuser, a pot of boiling water, or in a hot shower can really help open your sinuses.
- Acne – Often times folks with acne have a habit of touching their faces or picking at pimples. All of this causes bacteria to hang out on your face and exacerbate the problem. Spot treat acne with tea oil on a cotton ball or washcloth to clean and help reduce inflammation. You can also mix with some coconut oil for larger areas, like the back/neck.
- Athletes foot and toenail fungus – Tea tree oil gets rid of fungus and fungal infections so why not try this instead of a harsh over the counter product?
- Soothe cuts, wounds, and burns – It is helpful in treating knee scrapes, cooking burns, bee stings, and other bumps and boo-boos.
- Diaper rash – Mix a few drops with a carrier oil to soothe and heal.
- Ear aches – Many moms have had great success treating these aches at home. Dilute in warm olive, almond, or coconut oil and use a few drops in the ear. Hold head to the side for one minute and then let the ear drain, using a cotton ball or washcloth to collect excess oil.
- Eczema and Psoriasis - Put a few drops in a warm bath and have a good soak. This soothes and disinfects problem skin.
- Sunburns – A few drops tea tree diluted inside coconut oil makes a great sunburn lotion that will help with any soreness that may prevent you from sleeping and moving about well and will reduce blistering or peeling.
So tell me? What do YOU use tea tree oil for in your home?
Related: 5 Uses for Peppermint Oil
The beauty/makeup/skincare industry is a major multi-billion dollar industry. These companies rake in so much money that they can afford so spend many millions of dollars bombarding us with ads in magazines and on TV that tell us beauty comes neatly packaged in a bottle. They make moula hand over fist selling products to us that are “supposed” to make us look ten years younger, give us soft, glowing skin, and hide all our imperfections. The ads want us to believe that if only we buy their products we too can look like a supermodel. But they are not nearly so forthright in telling us that their products are full of nasty chemical ingredients that can do more harm to us than good. When you do your homework you may come to realize that looking younger in the moment is just not worth the price. For beautiful skin and good health on the inside as well we need to rediscover natural skincare ingredients and products. Your skin is your biggest organ and it needs to be treated with tender loving care.
We moms often go to great lengths to make sure everything we put on our baby’s skin is safe and natural but often times we forget this wisdom when it comes to products for ourselves. Why is that? If you really care about your health then you must make a resolve to get rid of most conventional products and start using organic and natural ingredients in your beauty routines. Here are some easy ways to help you go more natural:
1. Healthy skin starts on the inside and it stems from a healthy, well balanced diet and plenty of fluids to flush out toxins. They say rockin abs are made in the kitchen right? Well, so is beautiful skin.
2. Use natural oils and natural moisturizers that won’t clog pores like olive oil or coconut oil. You usually only need a small bit around the nose and under their eyes. The stuff that hides out in the pantry for cooking can serve as double agents in the bathroom.
3. Use coconut oil as a moisturizer for your driest spots like lips, heels and elbows. My fave is the Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisturizing Cream from Tropical Traditions. Use tip #8 first for best results.
4. Skip washing your hair everyday as the soap can dry your skin (and your hair). When you do wash your hair use a shampoo bar with natural ingredients and healthy oils. Try these Coconut Bar Soaps and Shampoo Bars, both can be used as shampoo.
5. To wash make-up off just rub some olive oil onto your face and wipe off with a soft, dry rag that will exfoliate your face as well. Microfiber cloths are particularly nice for cleansing the face.
6. If beauty does come in a bottle it is more likely to be a in a bottle of fish oil pills or Vitamin D3 rather than an anti-aging miracle cream. Supplementation can help us get nutrients that our food is lacking.
7. Not sure what is in conventional beauty products? Well take matters into your own hands! Make your own skin care products with every day ingredients like salt, almond meal, oatmeal, milk, honey, coconut oil, or avocado oil. They are cost effective and you know exactly what you are putting on your skin. You don’t need a chemistry degree to create beauty products of your own.
8. Dry brush your body to exfoliate your skin and slough off dead skin cells. This is an ages old practice and it really helps with the appearance of your skin to get those dead cells off and showcase the new.
9. When purchasing new products read the ingredient listings carefully and only buy products with recognizable ingredients, organic if possible, without parabens or fragrance. Check the Skin Deep Database to find out how each product/ingredient rates for safety.
10. Get some sun every day but not too much. Your skin needs sunlight for optimum health but staying out too long and damaging your skin isn’t good either so strike a balance and wear protective clothes and a big sun hat if you can instead of using chemical sunscreens. See also: Natural Sunburn Remedies.
How you keep your skincare routine natural and safe?
I just got home from a vigorous CrossFit workout. When I walked in the door my hubby was just about to take off for the golf course but he always asks how my workout was. Today I think he was a little taken aback by my enthusiastic “Awesome!” It was a really tough workout and we had four mini WODs today (WOD=workout of the day). I did squats, pushups, mountain climbers, rope climbing, medball presses, medball wall touches, 100 meter sprints, calf jumps, supermen, bicycles, rowing, sprinters, hip extensions, db floor press, and deadlifts. Most of it AMRAP or as many rounds as possible. Two months ago if I had done this workout I probably would have collapsed in exhaustion. Today though I just marveled at what I can do and how good I felt doing it. Building endurance and muscle has a lot to do with it but I think most of it is due to some other factors, which spurred me to make this top ten list.
Feel free to add your comments about daily health practices in the comments below. I would love to hear how you are staying healthy!
1. Eat Real Food – Everything you eat becomes part of your body because you are constantly rebuilding and replenishing your cells. Every single day your body is rebuilding itself and it is using the “tools” you give it. Those tools are the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you eat. If you are not getting the proper nutrition then your house is being built by a framer who was never given nails, hammer, or wood that has not been infested. Scary thought. Ask yourself, am I made of PopTarts and pizza or healthy whole, real foods? For optimum health we need ample amounts of fresh fruits and veggies/greens, high quality protein, and lots of dietary fat. The ratio that works best for me is 50% fat, 30% protein, and 20% carbs and I get that from grass fed meats, coconut oil, nuts, dairy, fruits, greens, and veggies. I have simply never felt better in my life then I have after going paleo/primal.
2. Get the Bowels Moving – Many people overlook this important aspect of health but I think bowel and gut health is indicative of what your health is like throughout your whole body. If you have a leaky gut then you will likely have food allergies and immunity problems. If you have bowel issues then you also likely have nutrient absorption issues which means your body is not accessing the nutrition it needs for rebuilding effectively. Unhealthy bowels can also set you up for larger problems, like colon cancer. I can attest that you never, ever want to go through that so make sure your bowel health is a daily consideration even if you ARE 28 and think that colon cancer can’t touch you. You should be moving your bowels at least once per day but after each large meal is also a good thing to shoot for. A good book to read is What’s Your Poo Telling You?
My secret weapon of late for colon health is greek yogurt with Spectrum Essentials Ground Flax with Berries. This keeps me regular!
3. Take High Quality Supplements – I am now a big believer that we cannot get everything we need from food, at least not in this modern day. Our soil conditions have fallen so far that it is impossible to expect that our food will have all the vitamins and minerals we need. Also many farms feed animals subpar foods like grains and soy, which means you eat meat from unhealthy animals. You are what you eat and you are what your food eats. We can do better by eating the best quality foods we can but we also need to supplement. I will not do without my magnesium, vitamin D3, fermented fish oils, High Vitamin Butter Oil, coconut oil, milk thistle capsules, chlorella tablets, and greens powders.
4. Break a Sweat – Exercise keeps you healthy, energetic, and happy. Weight training and other strength exercises help you build and maintain bone health as well as good balance to prevent injuries and falls. These same exercises also help you to retain your youthful flexibility. Exercise stimulates your lymph system and brings oxygenated blood to all your cells and it helps to regulate your weight.
5. Get Enough Sleep – Regeneration and healing occurs at night when you are sleeping. This time is very important and must never be shortchanged in favor of a busy lifestyle. Getting sufficient sleep (ala 8-10 hours a night) reduces stress, helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves brain function and clarity, improves physical performance, reduces depression, regulates hormones, reduces inflammation, and generally reduces your risk of disease and illness.
6. Spend Time in Nature – We need to get outside regularly and soak up Vitamin D. It is essential. We should also be spending time outside barefoot or Earthing so that we regulate the electric currents in our body and ground ourselves to the healing power of Mother Nature. Spending time outdoors makes us calmer, less stressed, happier, and it provides a cleaner source of air.
7. Spend Some Time on You – We need to spend time doing things we enjoy. No, it’s not selfish to pursue those things that bring you happiness. In fact it is vital to good mental and physical health. Give yourself frequent time outs from stressful situations and make the time to do the things you love.
8. Get a Mental Workout – Just as we need to exert ourselves physically we also need to break a mental sweat daily. This can mean reading, writing, doing a puzzle or some other activity but you need exercises like this to keep you sharp and active mentally.
9. Take Care of Your Skin – Our cells rebuild us a new meat suit regularly and it is a reflection of our health. Dry brush daily to brush away dead skin cells and encourage new growth as well as get the lymphatic system moving along. Use nontoxic, organic skincare products that will nourish your skin and not poison it. Hydrating with water and green smoothies also bathes our skin cells and plumps them up. Eat foods that protect your skin from exposure and avoid sunburns.
10. Breathe Clean Air – I am a big believer in air purifiers because indoor air can be toxic. Think about all the products that may be off gassing in the home (in a concentrated area) and you will see why you should be cleaning your indoor air and/or opening windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate inside. Clean, fresh air will also help you keep illness at bay.
What do you do every day for YOUR health?
A few months back now my family had its first ever bout with the big bad…head lice. I managed to go through my entire life without ever having had lice or even having it in my house. Luckily, I can still say I have never personally had lice but one of my kids did get a visit from these little guys and I was at a loss about what to do since I have zero experience with this issue. As the digital mom that I am, I sought advice from Facebook about natural – pesticide free – ways to get rid of these scary goobers. I say scary because they managed to reduce my child’s head to a bloody mass of scabs from biting and my child’s scratching. To make matters worse, we actually got the lice from a neighbor kid who had them, spent the night at our house (in my child’s bed), and never bothered to inform us. Ugh!
Anyway, from Facebook I was able to figure out that tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and vinegar would be my go-to resources for this adventure. The oils are hated by lice and they are also helpful in killing them. Vinegar would help dissolve the glue that the lice use to “stick” their nits on your hair shafts. I ended up making a list of all the stuff I found helpful…
Natural Ways to Remedy Head Lice
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea tree Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Coconut oil, another vegetable oil, or mayo – smothers lice – apply to hair and wrap with plastic wrap
- Flat Iron – To melt the nits “glue”
- A nit comb – or as I prefer, a metal flea comb from the pet store
We wanted to avoid conventional lice treatments for obvious reasons. They are pesticide based and if we work so hard to eat foods without pesticides and wear clothing grown from cotton without pesticides then it only goes to follow that putting it on our children’s heads will just not do. We also found that the tiny plastic combs sold as lice combs were nearly useless. The metal flea combs found online or at pet stores are more durable, the spaces between slats are smaller, and the one we chose actually has a double row of teeth. We compared it to the plastic lice comb from the drugstore and it was so much more effective with pulling lice and nits from the hair.
Once armed with our flea comb I made my own lice shampoo and guessed on the proportions.
All Natural Head Lice Shampoo Treatment
- 1 Quart size ball jar
- 1 Tablespoon (1 squirt) Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap
- 8-10 Drops tea tree oil (we use Trader Joe’s brand)
- Fill jar to top with water, shake before each use.
- Rinse with vinegar and let sit in hair for 5 minutes. Plastic wrap is optional (we didn’t use it)
- Comb hair with flea comb or lice comb
We spent 1-2 hours each night doing this whole process and we did it every night for about 2 weeks. Getting that pesticide lice treatment would have been a whole lot easier, I will grant you that. It is not necessary though. Suzanne at Mommy Footprint shared on Facebook a theory that perhaps kids whose hair was washed less frequently and with non-conventional shampoos (no poo) were better safe guarded from lice. Smart Mama kind of confirmed by saying that lice cannot stick as well to hair that is “dirty” or containing the natural oils it is meant to be coated with. Very interesting! Perhaps my kiddo’s no poo hair may have helped us avoid lice until now but when the infestation is on your pillow (thanks to the aforementioned sleepover) I think the deck is stacked against you.
For bedding and stuffed toys we simply washed in hot water with a few drops of tea oil thrown in. We also dried everything on hot. We could have also dried them with a washcloth containing a few drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil but I did not think of it at the time. If there is a next time though, we will be set!
** A reader also recommended Lice Shield Leave in Spray. It is supposedly made up of natural essential oils but I cannot find a full ingredients list so you may or may not want to check that out. LiceMD is also highly recommended and it is pesticide free.
Have you experienced head lice? Do you have any tips to share?