24
Apr

Love Tuna? Make Sure It is Ethical and Sustainable

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

wild selections tuna

I grew up eating tuna. My mom’s tuna and egg salad is now a comfort food for me and I feel like I am channeling her whenever I make it for my own kids. Of course back then we didn’t think much, or at all, about where the tuna in the cans came from. We didn’t think about overfishing and responsible fishery that did not result in the deaths of other marine animals, like dolphins. We did not think about mercury content or fish farms where the fish are given genetically modified feed. In many ways I envy my mom that she did not have to analyze  and agonize over simple consumer decisions like which can of tuna to buy.

On the other hand though, I am happy that I can choose to educate myself about my consumer purchases and make better choices. I can make choices that will better protect my health and better protect the health of our planet…all by being selective about what I put in my shopping cart. It can actually feel empowering to know that you are voting for the world you want with your shopping dollars. You can choose to support sustainability. My mom’s generation was blissfully blind in many ways but we have more information at at our fingertips. We can take charge and make better decisions because we are armed with knowledge. That is pretty powerful.

These days when I want to purchase tuna I can make sure that it is from a brand that has ethics more in line with my own. With all the health concerns and planetary concerns surrounding seafood I admit it is not something that I purchase with as much frequency as my mom did, but the seafood (and tuna) I do buy, is purchased with more intentionality and care.

ethical tuna

One of those better brand is  Wild Selections® Solid White Albacore Tuna. It is on my approved list because they want to ensure a fish-full future like I do. They seem to be one of the few brands that sees this as good business, which is amazing to me. Wild Selections gives back to the oceans by donating 13 cents from every can sold—a total of $1 million by 2018—to World Wildlife Fund marine conservation and fishery improvement projects. They are the only full line of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable seafood.  The blue MSC eco-label tells you the fish in your can comes from well managed fisheries and healthy fish stocks. And this is pretty nifty… their sustainably sourced fish is 100% traceable; visit WildSelections.com to learn where the fish in your can was caught.

I love the infographic below that outlines why choices such as this are so important in the grand scheme of things. I enjoy seafood and want to enjoy it for years to come. I am sure future generations also want seafood to be available. That requires making better decisions NOW. 25% of the world’s fish stocks are exploited and depleted. 50% of fisheries at at their sustainable limit. Yet Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries are seeing an average of 46% increase over ten years when it comes to fish abundance. Their efforts are making a difference.

sustainable tuna

And of course the tuna is premium quality, tasty, and Non-GMO Project verified for moms who are trying to avoid GMO ingredients and GMO fed meat products. My mom’s tuna egg salad has been on the menu a couple times in recent weeks, much to everyone’s delight. And when I am in the mood for bread nothing beats a tuna sandwich with mayo and tomato. Simple, easy, delicious, and it screams summertime. I love eating it straight out of the can too. But I digress, if you want to find a store near you that carries this line visit the store locator. I have used it myself so that I avoid making pointless trips.

If you enjoy eating tuna then I suggest Wild Selections as a more sustainable choice. Enjoy!

wild_selections_infographic

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

28
Oct

Making Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

making herbal infusions

There are a variety of ways that we can tap into the ancient practices of using natural remedies to heal and stay healthy. Some of the techniques involved in leveraging herbal remedies include compresses, decoction, ointments, infusions, poultices, syrups, tinctures, and tonics. This article will discuss two in particular and perhaps the easiest ways to use herbal remedies…infusions and decoctions.

Quite simply and infusion is a hot or cold drink made from the leaves and flowers of herbs. A decoction is a hot or cold drink made by boiling the roots, bark, or seeds of herbs. Both methods have a variety of medicinal uses such as the alleviation of common cold symptoms, relief from headaches, and much more. Even if you think you are far from calling yourself any kind of herbalist you can get started with infusions and decoction pretty easily, with a little knowledge of what the different herbs can do for you.

Making Herbal Infusions

Infusions can be made by steeping fresh herbs, the leaves and/or flowers, in hot water. They are so beneficial because they bring out the vitamins, enzymes, and aromatic oils in the herbs. Two popular choices for infusions are peppermint leaves and chamomile flowers. After steeping you strain the herbs out and add some honey to sweeten and make your infusion more palatable. You can store any unused portion in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Herbal Nightcap Infusion

1T dried chamomile
1T dried lemon balm
1T dried linden flowers

Infuse in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes, strain, and enjoy the sedative effects of these calming herbs.

Making Herbal Decoctions

Decoctions make use of herbs that are a bit tougher to utilize. You boil the roots, twigs, dried berries, bark, or seeds of the herbs and soften the woody parts so that the minerals and alkaloids from within can be accessed. In a decoction you might boil ginger or ginseng root, cinnamon bark, or fennel seeds. You can store any unused portion in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Respiratory Rescue Decoction

2-3 sticks of cinnamon (broken into pieces)
1 inch of ginger root (peeled and sliced)
1 T honey

Simmer the cinnamon and ginger in a pint of water for 15 minutes. Strain, add honey, and drink every day when experiencing a cold or other respiratory issues.

Beneficial Herbs for Infusions and Decoctions

  • Nettle
  • Clove
  • Ginseng
  • Feverfew
  • Burdock
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Elderflower
  • Comfrey Leaf
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Skullcap

Enjoy!

Making Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

13
Jan

Celebrate Renewal With a Pine Bath

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

Celebrate Renewal With a Pine Bath - naturemoms.com

The pine tree is a popular symbol of the new year around the globe. It signifies renewal, power, and longevity. Many cultures believed that it made one youthful and it helped to ward off illness and disease. I can certainly see the association when I see the tall, strong, evergreen pines among the winter landscape when all it’s comrades look like puny shadows of their former glory. When the days are dark and the going is tough, pine trees stand out majestically…as if to say “Nothing keeps me down!”

Turns out that the the qualities of pine go far beyond looks however and those ancient cultures were quite wise. Pine is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiviral, and stimulant. Booyah!

To celebrate the renewing power of a new year why not try a pine bath? They are spectacular all winter long but in the first few weeks of the new year they seem particularly fitting. Renew your personal goals, renew your health, and stimulate your senses to achieve everything you desire. Pine revitalizes the mind and the body and its protective qualities help keep you well when everyone around you is getting sick.

How to Use Pine in the Bath:

Tie some pine branch tips together with hemp cord or muslin. Put it in your bath water while it heats or tie it underneath the spout while the tub is filling. Add 4-6 drops of pine essential oil to a 1/2 cup of epsom salts, pour into the bath water (this helps dilute the oil). Light a pine scented beeswax candle or diffuse some pine oil in your diffuser. Diffuse alone or with some complimentary oils such as lavender, lemon, clary sage, or grapefruit.

Divine! Here is to a great new year!

celebrate renewal with pine essential oil

14
Mar

Kombucha on Tap With a Continuous Brew Kombucha Kit

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Continuous Brew Kombucha Kit

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!
Improved digestion
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.

get Kombucha Kit

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.

porcelain kombucha brewer

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)

Continuous Brew Kombucha Kit long

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.

10
Mar

Detox Box – The Homegrown Collective

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

homegrown collective detox box

A couple months back I was introduced to The Homegrown Collective and I fell in love. No seriously…in love. Every month you get a new box with various DIY, homesteading projects and recipes. Everything you need and detailed instructions come in the box so you are learning new recipes and skills each month.

You not only get to TRY new things you get to LEARN new things. I have a bit of an obsession with homesteading and homemaking skills long since forgotten in this day of modern convenience and these boxes manage to capture all of it perfectly. A box of new skills hand delivered to your door….skills that will make you more self sufficient, reduce your environmental impact, and save you money. This is an ingenious product concept and I simply adore it.

Last month the theme was detox and this comes at a great time because after a long hard winter, being stuck indoors, and a general tendency to let eating and fitness habits get lax… a detox or cleanse is probably in order. Spring is around the corner and we have that nagging feeling we need to clean and clear out he cobwebs. Well, that applies to our bodies as well. Sometimes we need help expelling toxins and sloughing off the remnants of winter.

The first item in the box I dove into was the tea. It is dandelion organic herbal leaf tea and honestly I was intimidated. I have heard of all the yummy things you can make with these weeds but I had only tried them (the flowers and the leaves) in salads and they are not my favorites by any means. I was kind of weary of the tea. Turns out though that my anxiety was misplaced because this is some seriously delicious tea. I can easily suck down a cup or two or three a day…it is that good. Upon drinking up what came in the box I immediately contacted Homegrown Collective about getting some more.

The box came with an infuser to use when brewing but I decided to use my husband’s Keurig and a reusable K cup. I fill the cup with the loose tea and then I run it through the Keurig 2 or 3 times. It tastes wonderful every time and then the remnants get composted.

dandelion tea

But back to the tea itself… dandelion. According to the The Herb Book it is supposed to be one of the best blood purifiers and liver cleaners we have access to. It also helps us to reduce acidity in the body, replace important vitamins and minerals, and increase activity in our pancreas and spleen. I love drinking it and I LOVE that drinking it is so good for me.

Next up was the detox bath DIY project. The box came with dead sea salts, baking soda, 100% cotton muslin bags, and dried organic lavender buds. This is everything you need to make fizzing bath soaks that will help you detox while you relax in the tub. The dead sea salts have 21 essential minerals including magnesium, calcium, iodine, zinc, and potassium. They all detoxify, treat, and cleanse our bodies. Two thousands years ago Flavius wrote about their ability to heal the body so this is not a new concept.

The lavender buds make the bath soothing and aromatic and I adored this project because it was easy and enjoyable. I don’t often take the time for baths and this provided me with the encouragement to take some time for me and relax. I will be making these fizzy bath soaks often!

detox bath diy

Last up was a bentonite clay and rosewater facial mask. Again this is something I rarely take the time for. In fact I don’t think I have used a facial mask in years but they are incredibly helpful for the skin. Healing clays in general are another ancient remedy that has gone by the wayside in modern times. They are rich in nutrients (bentonite clay is made from aged volcanic ash) and they help draw out and absorb toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.

The mask was soothing…as was the rosewater. For a few days after the mask I kept feeling my skin and being impressed with how silky and smooth it felt. I will definitely be using up my remaining supply and then buying some more to make this a monthly practice. I will also be keeping the clay on hand for making healing poultices for stings, bug bites, and bouts with poison ivy.

I can’t wait to see what next month brings me! Check out The Homegrown Collective to try it yourself.

detox mask