Tag Archives: research

Keto Pancakes: Duck Eggs and Cream Cheese

4 Jun

Cream Cheese Eggs pancakes

Franken Foods and Supplements Anyone?

I told a friend last night that I was tired of Franken Vegan Foods and Supplements. My son would ask me at almost every meal to verify what was on his plate, “Mama, is this REAL or FAKE?” For some reason, I always felt a pang in my heart when I answered that I was serving Vegan butter, Vegan cheese, Gluten Hot Dogs, and Gluten meat. I didn’t want to admit that they were “FAKE.”

Yes, you can do Vegan without all that FAKE foods but we also had to take supplements for optimal health. B12 for one. ALL Vegans NEED to take that stuff because Vegan foods don’t supply this essential vitamin. And iron, zinc, vitamin D? Lacking in the Vegan diet too. And as I discovered from bloodwork through the years, lacking in complete protein too. Fuhget it! I want REAL foods to heal my body!

Duck Eggs

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One of our new favourite foods is DUCK EGGS. Did you know 4 eggs have 2100 IU Vitamin D and 1888 IU Vitamin A? I love it simply fried. But my boys love it in Keto Pancakes.

Duck Egg and Cream Cheese Pancakes

There are a lot of recipes out there for pancakes using eggs and cream cheese. The recipe is basically 1 chicken egg to 1 oz of cream cheese, but we have found that the best flavour is actually 2 duck eggs to 3 oz of cream cheese!

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Ingredients per serving:

  • 2 duck eggs
  • 3 oz cream cheese

Pureé together the eggs and cream cheese in a blender.  I grease my pan with bacon fat* and cook the pancakes as usual. Then, top with whipped cream and serve with a small handful of strawberries per person.

 

*If you use 2 Tbspns of tallow instead, you would be adding 500 IU Vitamin D to your meal.

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Turkey Breakfast “Quesadillas”

2 Jun

Here’s a fun test: Vegan vs Keto.

Which do you think is a healthier meal?

PicMonkey Collage

On the left, we have a Vegan meal: baked fries, gluten hot dogs on a whole wheat bun, and sweet coleslaw. On the right, we have a Keto meal: sardines, asparagus in lemon butter, olives, and tomatoes.

Now let’s compare a whole day’s meal:

On a Vegan diet:

On a Keto diet:

  • breakfast ~ Eggs, No Sugar Bacon, and Avocado;
  • lunch ~ Sardines, Asparagus in Lemon Butter, Olives, and Tomatoes; and,
  • dinner ~ Grilled Lamb and a Big Salad with a Mayonnaise Dressing.

Which is healthier? LOW FAT HIGH CARBS or LOW CARB HIGH FATS? Check out this video here for some answers. 

So we don’t need all that carbohydrates after all?

If you are like me, you are just beginning to figure out that of the three macro-nutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates), our bodies DO NOT require a lot of CARBOHYDRATES. Check out this video here for why that is.

Moderate Proteins and High Fats for Breakfast

We just discovered ourselves that our bodies were struggling after 8 solid years on a Low Fat High Carbohydrate Vegan diet. In search for a better diet for our family, we have switched to a Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein, and High Fat Keto diet. Our moods have changed, our cravings have changed, we don’t feel “hangry” pangs, there are less aches and pains, our skin is better, and the list goes on.

Turkey Quesadillas

So what did we have for breakfast today? These yummy “quesadillas” that my son just loves.

Turkey Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • no sugar turkey deli meat
  • your choice of cheese
  • salsa
  • green onions
  • avocado
  • eggs
  • sour cream

Place grated cheese and green onions inside the turkey slices, fold over, and bake at 350F for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese melts.

While the turkey quesadillas are cooking, fry some eggs and slice some avocados. Now it’s time to plate breakfast. Top the quesadillas with salsa and green onions. Serve with eggs, avocado, and sour cream (optional). ENJOY!

Turkey Quesadillas 2

For a Paleo option: instead of cheese, place scrambled eggs inside the turkey slices instead.

Just in case you see me at the grocery store…

29 Apr

We have made a decision to look into other sources of protein for our family’s health.

What have I been up to?

Raw Cultured Butter

Raw Cottage Cheese

Raw Greek Yoghurt and Whey

Sourdough Breads

Homemade Mayo with Raw Eggs

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Local Fish

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Bone Broths

And making bone meal to give back to the earth.

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Whole30

We are resetting our bodies this month. No sugar. No alcohol. No grains. No legumes. No dairy. No additives. No artificial anything. No junk.

After that…

Who knows? We have been researching extensively on different variations of the Paleo/Keto diet, but most specifically the work of Tim Noaks and The Banting Diet. Once we figure it out, then I can refocus on what Mama in the Kitchen will be all about. Till then… thank you for your kindness and patience as we figure it all out.

H20 at Home Review

30 May

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Aside from my own soaps, we use vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and other “green” cleaning products in our home. Admittedly, some of them do not clean as well as conventional ones so I was excited to try H20 at Home‘s products in return for a review.

Here is what came in the mail: Netepur Soap, Cleaning Clay, Dish Soap, Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and an Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette. While I will not review their bar soap as it would be a conflict of interest, I can review their other products.

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CLEANING CLAY with Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette

The one thing I do have in my cleaning closet is Windex because nothing cleans shower doors and mirrors like it does. However, I read that H20’s Cleaning Clay can be used on ceramic, pots, pans, granite, sinks, ovens, mildew, glass, shower doors, silverware, stainless steel, jewellery and grout. I decided to try its powers on my son’s shower doors, which have not been cleaned purposely (yeah right) in weeks.

This is what it looked like before using the Cleaning Clay on it: pretty cloudy and dirty.

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This is what it looked after I applied the Cleaning Clay over it: almost spotless except for the bottom bit that I missed. And I didn’t try that hard.

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Cleaning it was very simple, quick and didn’t require tireless scrubbing.

  1. Soak the small white sponge inside the container with water.
  2. Place on the white clay and slide it to create a foam.
  3. Apply this foamy substance all over the dirty glass door with the white sponge.
  4. Use the scrub side of the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge to lightly mix in and spread the Clay all over the glass door properly.
  5. Clean off the Clay by rinsing the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and wipe the door clean with the soft side of the sponge.
  6. Wipe off excess water with the Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette.

Notes on the Cleaning Clay: the results were much better than I was expecting. And it only took a few minutes. I really like this Cleaning Clay.

Notes on the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge: it worked well in bathroom cleaning but I wouldn’t use it to scrub pots and pans. The scrub side is a little too soft for kitchen purposes.

Notes on the Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette: I used it recently on my dirty computer screen and not a dust remained on the screen, although I saw some in the air as I cleaned. So, I’m not sure it works quite well in trapping all the dust.

DISH SOAP

I have both Seventh Generation and Dawn under my kitchen counter. I also use my own handmade coconut soap for pots, pans and dishes. I don’t make my own liquid dish detergent, so I feel this is not a conflict of interest to review their product.

Thoughts?

  1. The bottle is not the easiest to use. I use gloves when cleaning and when I squirt the bottle, half of the detergent goes on my gloves and not where I want it to go.
  2. That said, two small squirts are indeed enough to clean a whole pot.
  3. There isn’t a lot of lather, but it cleans well enough.
  4. Glass cleans and dries off amazingly clear without streaks and water marks. Same with stainless steel.
  5. The smell does not bother me like commercial products.
  6. I have not tried it with my gloves off to test for skin sensitivity issues.

Notes on the Dish Soap: the detergent works better than the bottle.

OVERALL RATING

I’d definitely buy the Cleaning Clay and the Double-Sided Microfiber Sponge!

Forget Statins for Kids: Lower LDL with a Vegan Diet

16 Jun

Over the past year, our family has changed how we eat… yet again.

After our 7 year old Vegan decided to become an Omnivore, we discovered he had extremely high LDL. Several doctors we consulted suggested statins if he was unable to lower his cholesterol. Our goal was to decrease his LDL dramatically.

A Largely Vegetarian Diet Did Not Work

My first response was for him to go back to a Vegan diet but he argued that he wanted to try a largely Vegetarian diet with meat a couple times a month. After 6 months, his LDL stayed basically the same around the high 180s mg/dL.

Vegan Diet Is The Answer

I suggested switching back to a strict Vegan diet. He agreed. After another 6 months, his LDL decreased by 80 mg/dL. Although barely in the normal range, we were all ecstatic. More importantly, my son saw for himself the results of the Vegan diet.

Going Forward

So, what is my son doing these days?

Here is his basic daily health plan which I modified from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s recommendations for adults.

Health Plan

My son and I need to make sure he gets to write a check mark beside at least 7 things on this list a day: daily exercise, fresh air/time outdoors, at least 3 cups of fruit, at least 2 tablespoons of nuts/seeds/avocado, at least 1/4 cup of whole grains, at least 1 cup of steamed vegetables, at least 1 cup of raw veggies, at least 1/2 bowl of beans/tofu, and a minimum of 1 tablespoon of any sugar (this one is a difficult one!). He is allowed desserts only on the weekend. He is allowed any food of his choice when we do not eat at home, which is only a few times a month.

Is it doable? YES! Is he totally on board? YES!

He has another blood test in a couple of months and I will be sure to update you! In the meantime, Vegan is our way at home!

Is Veganism Safe For Babies?

9 Jul

HuffPost Live

First of all, thank you Nancy Redd and HuffPost Live for having me for a much needed discussion. Watch the video here!

My thoughts to:

  • @chubbyveganmom – wish we were closer! I totally see our kids having fun in the kitchen together!
  • @FatGirlPosing – enjoy looking at your photos!  I thought you’d be interested in the new study out by National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey (NHANES) that states it is the lack of exercise, not food intake, that causes obesity.

Vegan Mamas out there: Are your Vegan Babies Healthy? Would love to hear from you!!!

NOTE: My Twitter is @MamaInDKtchn! Also, our family members are ranked rowers (NOT national rowers… wish we were though)! 🙂

 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Successfully Treat Plantar Warts?

26 Jun

Problem

My dear friend’s daughter suffered for over a year with big plantar warts on her feet. She couldn’t walk for months!

Freezing DID NOT help. The warts only grew bigger.

Oregano oil DID NOT help either.

What helped? Soaking with Apple Cider Vinegar!

 Results

 

These are the photos after soaking the foot, from Day 1 onwards.
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After 2 weeks, the warts fell off!Photo Jun 25, 18 36 11Photo Jun 25, 18 36 30Photo Jun 25, 18 36 21

The warts are gone. The pain is gone. The foot is BETTER!

It’s hard to believe ALL the hype about apple cider vinegar, but when a friend shows you photographed proof like this… I went right to Vitacost to order some bottles of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar!

 

What Now?

Now, my friend’s question is:  what can we do internally for our daughter so that the warts don’t come back?

Here’s some preliminary research:

– BOOST the IMMUNE SYSTEM

Boost Your Immune System to Fight HPV Naturally

How to Avoid Recurring Warts

Ayurvedic Nutrition suggests boosting immunity through a Vata diet, with nuts (especially almonds and cashews), seeds (flax and sesame) and whole grains, as well as Wheat Grass, spirulina, collards, garlic, jerusalem artichokes, and mushrooms.

– VISIT a NATURAPATH. My Naturapath, Dr. Jenkins of Nature Works, suggests many methods, including:

– treating HPV (the wart virus) through NAET (and NOT vaccinate with Gardasil)

– blue light therapy which helps kill the virus

tapping the thymus gland boosts the immune system

PLEASE COMMENT below and let us all know what worked for you!

An Omni Hubby Goes RAW Vegan for One Week

17 Jun

My Vegan Homeschool buddy, Bonnie, finally succeeded in getting her Omnivore Hubby, Crosby, to go on a Raw Vegan Diet for a week. Together, they lost almost 10 pounds. Bonnie discovered more energy and Crosby discovered he could actually enjoy Raw Vegan foods.

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Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

Q: Why did you and hubby decide to go raw? How did you convince your hubby to do it with you?  

B – I am Vegan. I want to drop a few pounds and thought I would with a raw diet. I also think it is the most healthy way to eat.

C- Just to see if it would make me feel better. I have ulcerative colitis and wondered if a raw diet would improve my condition.

 

Q: For how long did you eat just raw foods?

B- 100% for 7 days. Now probably 90%

C- 100% for 6 days. Now 10%

 

Q: How did you feel?  

B – I feel better after having lost a few pounds. I always have more energy when I am on a raw diet. I don’t get that afternoon slump and sleep better at night.

C – I was tired the first 4 days, then I felt the way I normally feel.

 

Q: What was the best day?

B – I didn’t really have a best day.

C – The best day was when I no longer felt hungry. Probably day 3.

 

Q: What was the worst day?

B – I didn’t have a worst day.

C – Day 2. I was hungry and tired.

 

Q: What did you crave that was raw during the whole process?

B – I really enjoyed bananas and dates.

C – Avocados and nuts.

 

Q: What did you crave that was not raw during the whole process?

B – I didn’t have any cravings.

C – Meat.

 

Q: What was the best meal? Worst?

B – Collard rolls with sunflower seed pate were great. A beet salad that I made with cumin was not so good.

C – Avocado, tomato and basil plate with Italian dressing. I liked them all.

 

Q: Any side effects of this raw week?

B – I lost 4 lbs and had more energy.

C – I lost 5 lbs.

 

Q: Would you do it again?

B – I would like to eat that way all the time. Its is just hard to find time to prepare both kinds of food (cooked and raw) every day.

C – Probably not 100% raw, but maybe more raw dishes during the week.

 

Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole week?

B – Some stir fried vegies and rice.

C – A Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A real hot-dog the next day.

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Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

B – Making a lot of different dished to keep Crosby from getting tired of the food.

C – I did not feel satiated. I never felt satisfied even if I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: What was the most surprising part of the process?

B – I was surprised that I had so much energy and that I was not hungry.

C – I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: How are you changed?

B – I think it will be easier to add more raw meals into our weeknow that Crosby has tried to eat this way.

C – I am more open to eating raw.

 

Q: What was the nastiest thing someone had said about your week?

B – Not really nasty, but it annoys me when people try to tell me I’m not getting enough protein.

C – No one was nasty, but I did get some razzing about not eating meat.

 

Q: How has this experience changed your relationship with food, your family, or everyday diet?

B – It made me realize that I enjoy eating simple salads and fruit more than more complicated dishes.

C – There are some really tasty raw dishes that are fun to eat. My brother encouraged me to change my diet if I thought there were benefits to my health. I appreciated his concern for my health.

 

Both Bonnie and Crosby’s efforts are inspiring: Bonnie, for preparing amazing Raw Vegan dishes for a whole week, and Crosby, who was open to eating RAW for a week. Kudos to both of them!

 

Vegan Son’s High Cholesterol After Switching to Omnivore Diet

30 May

The Art of Proper Eating

A few months ago after an allergy test cleared him for some animal proteins, my Vegan 7 year old son wanted to eat beef jerky, cheese and eggs, and drink goat’s milk. Although as a Vegan, I would naturally like my son to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, I allowed him to decide for himself. Besides, he would still be eating a whole lot of vegetables and fruits in my kitchen.

My son relished the flavors of foods he had not tasted in years. He drank raw goat’s milk everyday, ate eggs once or twice a week, and ate a few strips of beef jerky on the weekend. Still pretty healthy. Not bad, right?

Fruits on the Counter

Well… recently his Pediatric Well Visit showed that his cholesterol was just too high. The blood tests were re-done after a few days on a Vegetarian diet and results were a bit better. The overall cholesterol decreased from 290’s to 250’s, but his LDL cholesterol levels were at 188mg/dL. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,  “A total cholesterol level greater than 200 mg/dL and LDL-C greater than 130 mg/dL represent values above the 95th percentile for children and are designated as high.” Drug therapy is recommended when LDL cholesterol levels are at 190 mg/dL or higher.

How could this be? My son’s slim, we eat more fruit and vegetables than most, and he is an athlete. Unless, of course, his cholesterol problem is hereditary.

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The doctor suggested our son return to a Vegan Diet for 6 months. We can then figure out his base cholesterol levels, and go from there.

Here’s hoping that Vegan Food does its magic. I don’t want my young son on medication!

A Vegan Athlete Rows a Marathon and Finishes 4th in the World!

6 Jan

Proud of my husband who has accomplished so much for someone who has only been rowing for 2 years.

Proud of my husband who has trained for months – even during the few weeks when a bug visited our house and we all just wanted to be in bed.

Proud of my husband who decided to stick to his Vegan diet.  Having turned Vegan 2 years ago, he persevered the rigorous athletic training on a plant-based diet.

Here are some thoughts from my husband post his indoor rowing marathon today.

We are an indoor rowing family.  My son is dressed as Wolverine with a serious look on his face.  He wants to beat his record too!

My son, on the rowing machine, is dressed as Wolverine with a serious look on his face.  When he found out his dad came in 4th, he exclaimed: “What? Is that it? I wanted you to finish 1st!”

What is 42,195 meters?

It’s the same distance people run for a marathon – 26 miles and 385 yards.  To cover this distance on an indoor rower, it took me 2 hours 51 minutes and 36 seconds, which currently ranks me 4th in my age group and 7th overall in the world for lightweight male rowers of any age.  It took me close to four months of training to prepare.

What does it feels like?

” Marathon runners talk about hitting ‘the wall’ at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn’t a wall; it’s a hole – an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race. Large needles are being driven into your thigh muscles, while your forearms seem to be splitting. Then the pain becomes confused and disorganized, not like the winded-ness of the runner or the leg burn of the biker but an all-over, savage unpleasantness. ” — Ashleigh Teitel, rower

What energy is expended during this row?

About 2,800 calories which are more calories than the average American eats in 24 hours.

My weight dropped by 5.6 pounds (mostly water loss).

What effort did it take?

Heart rate averaged 80% of maximum.

Wattage output average was 193.

12 new blisters, one was big enough to pop with 1 hour of rowing remaining.

Leg muscles still twitching 3 hours after completing the row.

Why do it?

To overcome a fear of failure.

Finding Balance

29 Dec

I haven’t been posting on this blog for a few months because I end this year a little more tentative than I began. In the beginning of Autumn this year, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts”. This was followed by “no more raw smoothies”. Then “no more raw salads”. In other words, NO MORE RAW ANYTHING.

Gah, had I pushed them too far?

So, I started cooking more and more veggies: in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And, I discovered that my family actually have increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here and mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise – I even lost a few pounds without all the added fats from nuts.

Cooked to death Broccoli.  Boil till the broccoli breaks apart.  Dress with orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil.

Cooked to death Broccoli: boil till the broccoli breaks apart, dress with a mixture of orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. My son loves it!

But I’m still a firm believer in RAW, so I slowly but surely added back some old faves after a month or two. Without complaints, we are all enjoying raw fruit puddings for breakfast again, Japanese and Kale salads for pre-meals and lots of coconut smoothies. We are not quite as raw as I would like, but dare I say I have found a new kind of “balance”?

I don’t know how RAW families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My big guess is that they don’t… not really in the same capacity we do. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have – unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids, and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side”.

My husband recently bought some Maine root beer, a package of cereal and a carton of soy milk. My son’s hoarding some Vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum (it was hard finding one he isn’t allergic to).

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked?

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked from scratch? We discovered that Santa prefers homemade cookies to processed candy… and even left a small bit behind.

As a Mama, it is hard to let go of control – especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace and happiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries, prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our Vegan diet, they both said “NO”. Are you sure? “YES!” Both look forward to their fave homemade organic and Vegan cooked foods: Mulligatawny Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I notice they too have their fave raw foods. My son was sick recently and only wanted to eat fruit. He prefers to start each day with bananas and he asks for fresh raw coconut milk almost everyday. He will eat a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. My hubby can drink a quart of green smoothie during a meal and he will keep going back for more salad.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

Dispelling the Cow’s Milk Myth: Rethinking our Kids’ Fave ‘Health’ Drink

17 Jun

Unprocessed vegan milks instead?!

According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in every 400 children and adolescents have diabetes in the United States.  A majority of these children have type 1 diabetes, an insulin-dependent autoimmune disorder.  Diabetes Care, the American Diabetes Society peer reviewed scientific journal, has published studies that show the significant relationship between type 1 diabetes and cow’s milk consumption, and yet, cow’s milk is still seen as our children’s  favorite health drink both at home and at school.

In 1991, Dahl-Jorgensen K., Joner G. and Hanssen K.F. showed the “Relationship between cow’s milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood.” Many countries were included in the study.  Japan showed the lowest consumption of cow’s milk and the lowest incidence of type 1 diabetes, while Finland had the highest of both.  France, Israel, Canada, U.S.A., Netherlands, New Zealand, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden’s consumption of cow’s milk and incidence of type 1 diabetes were somewhere in between Japan and Finland.  In 1997, Hammond-McKibben D. and Dosch H. M. s calculated the risk of the consumption of cow’s milk on the development of type 1 diabetes in their study “Cow’s milk, bovine serum albumin, and IDDM: can we settle the controversies.”  What they found was that the relationship between cow’s milk and type 1 diabetes is 200% greater than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer and 900% more than high blood pressure and cholesterol and heart disease.  Both of these studies were published in Diabetes Care.

Many other studies have shown that dairy consumption is also related to the increase in other autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.  Just last week at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting, it was reported that children’s type 1 diabetes has increased by 23% from 2001 to 2009.  As guardians of future generations, we need dispel the myth that cow’s milk is our children’s healthiest drink.

How to Open a Green Coconut

15 Jun

A pure amateur opens a green coconut… I’m smiling my butt off because I’m so proud of all my hard work.

We had coconut trees around our house growing up.  We also had a helper who loved climbing the trees.  Eugenia would climb trees without making grooves on the trunk.  She would simply use her hands and feet to reach scary heights.  She also climbed the trees in a dress without exposing herself – how she did that, I do not know.  She also opened the coconuts.  Needless to say, our family has always loved coconuts.  I’m a little sad now that I never learned how to open green coconuts (or climb for them) though.

Yesterday, at my health food store, they were selling Florida grown organic coconuts from Glaser Farms.  I took a chance and bought one.  My husband’s jaw dropped because I paid around $6.50 for just one green coconut (but it’s organic, I exclaimed!)… not to mention, it required a lot of ‘work’ just to open it.  I’m pretty adept at opening those Thai Coconuts that come all white, ready and packaged in plastic… and that ‘only’ cost around $3.50… but, as Tristan the produce buyer reminded me, are sprayed to keep them ‘white’.  But I really wanted to try a local and organic coconut and I also wanted a kitchen adventure.  

Green coconut in hand, I imagined I was stuck on an island by myself with only a cleaver, my thirst and hunger.  Well… I think I would’ve almost died of thirst… it took me a LOOOOONG 15 minutes.  I should’ve researched on youtube first for inspiration, but there isn’t any youtube on deserted islands.  

Anyway, I awoke from my dream and now am prepared with more information.  Next time I buy a green coconut:

1. I’m going to bounce the green coconut on a rock outdoors first.  Not only does it look fun, but what a time saver… and oh yeah, you can compost at the same time.

2. I need to sharpen my machete and hire someone from Trinadad to teach me how they do it over there (watch end of the clip):

 

3. Please let me know how you compost your coconut shells because my 2 year old coconut shells in the compost still look kind of new… but here’s why I want to compost coconuts anyway.

Review: Ursa Major Natural Skin Care for Men

8 Jun

This is a Father’s Day idea for a guy that is more man than beautician. I asked my “I-don’t-even-own-a-hairbrush” husband to try some natural skin care products for men for my blog.  I didn’t think he would agree, but since his friend works at Ursa Major, I think it made any persuasion much easier.

Oliver Sweatman and his partner, Emily Doyle, started Ursa Major in Vermont in 2009 because he said, “I tried a LOT of so-called ‘natural’ products and couldn’t find anything that met all of my personal criteria for a great skincare solution:

 – no toxins/premium natural ingredients/as close to 100% natural as possible (and ideally, with as much organic content as possible too, although realizing that can affect price)

– great performance – the product does what it says it’s going to do on the label

– delightful experience – sublime natural aromas, delightful textures, smart packaging, copy, etc.

 In other words a spirited, sincere, natural alternative to all the bland, synthetic, mass-produced stuff out there…”   Their first product, the Stellar Shave Cream, was launched in December 2010.

Ursa Major: Natural Products for Men

The Products

My husband used the shaving creamwashtoner and balm for about a month.  We took before and after pictures and we don’t see any differences in the wrinkles department (a department he was not aware he had), but my husband’s very sensitive skin did not break out at all and his skin also seemed to be smoother to me.

Shaving cream usually gives hubby rashes or leaves his skin dry.  He has had a hard time finding product that doesn’t make his skin break out. In fact, he won’t shave unless an event dictates the need for a clean look. Nevertheless, the Ursa Major Men Shaving Cream worked wonderfully.

The Facial Wash also worked well.  For the first week, my husband’s skin was dry if he did not follow the wash by the moisturizer.  This was not the case after the first week in that his face felt hydrated all the time.

My husband also noticed that the toner and wash made his hands softer but not less durable – just simply through exposure after applying cleaner/toner/balm to his face.  My husband rows 5 to 6 times a week (an internationally ranked rower) and found that he was not getting any additional blisters.  In fact, his palms are more flexible and softer.

For my husband, these are significant improvements due to the use of products.

Overall, my husband says these products work as well as or more than processed products for sensitive skin.  They are easy enough to use for someone (a man who is) not really interested in a daily prep work for the face.  If you are interested, you can find Ursa Major in various retailers around the world.

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – Not much.  Very mild.

2. sensitivities –  None.

3. taste – I usually taste synthetic products when I put it on my face and drink water right after, but my husband’s response to this was: “How would I know, I didn’t eat the stuff!”

4. moisturize – Worked well with little dab.

5. everyday comfort – I asked my hubby if a real man would use these products everyday, his response: “Quick and Easy to use.”

6. lasting effect – yes, it lasts the whole day.

7. eco-friendly – these products do not contain any foaming agents, slip agents, surfactants, fragrances, coloring agents, preservatives, penetration enhancers, or other unnatural ingredients.

Animal Protein versus Plant Protein

29 May

Raw Avocado Corn Salad over Cooked Beans: 1 cup of cooked white beans contains 16g of protein, 1 cup of raw corn has 5g, 1 cup of avocado 5g and 1 cup of tomatoes 1g.  I only need 33g of protein a day, so just this meal alone would be 6g shy of my goal.

In my community of Holistic Mamas, there are, nutritionally speaking, basically 2 groups of families:

1. Those that believe in and eat organic animal based foods and

2. Those that eat organic plant based foods.

The former tend to follow the WAP Diet (Weston Price Diet:http://www.westonaprice.org/). The latter are those who are eating, or lean towards, an all organic vegetarian or vegan diet – especially after watching Forks Over Knives. Now within this latter group, there two further subsets:

a. those who eat a lot of processed and refined foods and

b. those who make most (if not all) their food from scratch.

Among Mamas, there are many discussions as to why their own diets are best. In my view, as you all know, an unprocessed, whole organic plant based diet is best.  Why?

FIRSTLY, BECAUSE ANIMAL BASED DIETS CAUSE DISEASE:

There have been so many studies done to raise awareness as to why (even organic) animal based foods are not health foods. Although animal products have the most similar nutrient composition to our bodies, consuming them promotes disease. I am currently taking Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Course and have learned (or rather relearned from his work in the China Study) that cancer can be turned on and off (from 20% to 5% of total calories) just be increasing and decreasing animal protein in the diet of rats. The same amounts of plant based protein (such as wheat and soy protein) had no such effect. Animal –based foods also contain saturated fats, which cause cholesterol and heart disease. Moreover, animal products cause an acid environment in our bodies, which causes calcium to leak from our bones in an effort for our bodies to neutralize the acids, causing osteoporosis.

SECONDLY, ONLY PLANT BASED FOODS CONTAIN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS THAT PREVENT DISEASE:

Plant based foods, on the other hand, contain essential nutrients not present in animal foods that we need in order to live healthily. Two of these are antioxidants and dietary fiber: antioxidants, like vitamin C, E and carotenoids, bind free radicals that promote cancer and speed up our body’s aging process, and dietary fiber binds to chemical carcinogens and helps the body excrete these potentially harmful products. They help maintain our health and prevent disease.

THIRDLY, NOT ALL PLANT BASED DIETS ARE EQUAL. ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS ARE DIFFERENT FROM PROCESSED VEGAN FOODS:

As I have said before, I understand why people are attracted to refined and processed vegan foods: they do not require much work or energy. We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put that much effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods. We want things EASY. Consider this though: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients. How about refined plant foods?

Refined plant foods have been so drastically altered from their natural state and are not consumed, in Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s words, “in their totality” and therefore in decreased natural plant material quanitites. Other refined foods are processed foods. They include simple carbohydrates (like, white flours and sugars), hydrogenated oils, genetically modified organisms, anything with fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives. Most are ready to eat (like junk food or white bread) or require little cooking (like frozen dinners). They are also anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged. There is a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made foods to vegans and vegetarians.

THEREFORE, A PLANT-BASED WHOLE FOODS DIET IS BEST.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything. Nutrition is no exception. Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. They are in their natural state and are not overly processed or altered. Most of the time, you can eat them fresh or they may require some time and attention (like, cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking). Dr. T. Colin Campbell states that when we consume foods that have decreased natural plant material, this poses problems for our bodies.

BUT, HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS ENOUGH?

For the average person, 8 – 10% of your total calorie intake is enough.  Surprisingly, professional athletes only need slightly more protein than that.  You can calculate what you need here.

HOW TO MEASURE HOW MUCH PROTEIN WE CONSUME?

According to my instructor at eCornell University, “As long as we’re eating whole, plant foods – no oils and minimal nuts/seeds.  On average, plant foods are 5-10% fat and about 10% protein.  And, if we’re eating whole foods, rather than processed, we’re getting plenty of complex carbohydrates [and enough protein].”

School Lunches versus Packing a Lunch: How to Keep Both Healthy

23 May

We homeschool, but we are out and about a lot.  Here’s an example of our packed lunch.

How do we keep our children’s lunches healthy?  According to the World Health Organization“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”   So, we can rephrase our question as: how can we ensure our children’s lunches contribute to their physical, mental and social well-being and, by consuming them, they will not be afflicted by disease or sickness?

I recently watched a short documentary called Lunch, a film based on interviews about ‘Green School’ lunch programs, instilling healthy habits in kids and organic gardening in a school setting.  It seems to me that most people talk about kid’s lunches from a single viewpoint: the food. They say: let’s improve food quality, organic is better, no more GMOs, add more fruits and vegetables, no more fried foods, add healthier options, grow a school garden, add nutrition to the curriculum…  While I think these are all wonderful and much needed, the most important thing we can do is to empower children themselves to make the right food choices.  

At the end of the day, the children are the only ones who can control what they eat, therefore it is not enough to simply create a healthy nutrition environment for them. Children need to be taught that any kind of food can keep us alive, but it is the nutritious food that helps maintain our body, mind and social capacities well. We need to teach children about a whole lifestyle that emphasizes not only nutritional choices, but also how the choices they make affect their own physical, mental and social well-being.   When children are educated, when they understand, when they are given proper role models and when they are given tools to help them choose health, then the responsibility for parents and guardians to create a healthy nutrition environment for them becomes easier – simply because children will WANT it for themselves.  

Proper Nutrition is integral to maintaining our physical, mental and social health and well-being.

We can teach children the value of eating to live, not living to eat. We can teach them the value of maintaining physical, mental and social well-being (these are a few examples):

    • show them what happens to their bodies when they consume junk versus nutritious foods, for example:
      • what happens to teeth when they eat processed sugar (place a tooth in Coca Cola and see what happens)
      • what happens to bones when people eat too much animal protein and cow’s milk (show rates of osteoporosis in different communities)
      • teach them to look at their own poop and explain what healthy poop should look like
      • teach them how different foods create different energy levels (discuss athletes and their diet)
      • watch Wall-E and discuss why the humans are obese (foods they eat, exercise)
      • show videos like Supersize Me and Forks over Knives to older children
    • show them what happens to their minds depending on the food consumed, for example:
      • discuss how mental performance suffers/improves due to diet (i.e. Food For the Brain study)
      • show them that learning challenges and problem behaviors may decrease/increase according to diet
      • discuss how exercising the brain is just as important as sports is for the body
      • discuss how quality foods help the nerves in the brain function properly (memory, problem solving, etc)
    • show them that their nutritional choices have social implications, for example
      • discuss what “social well-being” means vis-à-vis proper nutrition within the community, the nation and the world (according to the United States Institute of Peace: “Social well-being is an end state in which basic human needs are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement. This end state is characterized by equal access to and delivery of basic needs services (water, food, shelter, and health services), the provision of primary and secondary education, the return or resettlement of those displaced by violent conflict, and the restoration of social fabric and community life.)
      • discuss composting, recycling, reusing and reducing in the community and at home
      • discuss pollution and toxicity
      • discuss what stress does to us
      • discuss how the quality of food we eat affects our emotions and therefore our social well-being.
As we teach them to grow their own food and to prepare their own meals from scratch… we can sit back and see what happens.

Other ideas here too: Top 10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop! Click on the image for more links to Gifted/2E Health and Wellness Issues!

Review: Good Life Cafe

18 May

My first taste of Raw Vegan Cheesecake was during a private ‘un-cooking’ lesson with Sharon Wright. I was surprised at how the cashew, lemon and honey together tasted like pure cream and how it just melted in my mouth. It was her Cheesecake that got me HOOKED on RAW desserts!  I would order meals and juices from her once in a while too. Fast forward a few years later, Sharon now runs her own Raw Vegan Restaurant called Good Life Cafe in West Columbia, South Carolina.

For Mother’s Day, my dear husband and son treated me to Brunch at Good Life Cafe. I knew they were both making a big effort to go because

1. my husband is a cheapskate and I could hear his head figuring out how much that Raw Vegan meal would cost him even before we stepped into the restaurant, and
2. my son tends to get some kind of nut allergy at most raw vegan restaurants.  Sharon’s food has never given him problems before because she was always careful preparing his food… but one never knows how careful other chefs/cooks are in a bigger operation.

The minute we walked into the restaurant, we were amazed at how many people were dining there.  At around 1pm, the 3 of us were able to sit at the last free table.  Moments later, 2 groups of people came in and they had to wait at least 10 minutes to sit down.  The waitstaff were very busy, but after ordering, the food came out very quickly. Looking for fast food?  This is it!

Here’s what we ordered:

Banana Crepes filled with strawberries. Sharon made these without cashew cream for my son.  My husband found them a little too chewy, but my son enjoyed them immensely.

Eggplant Bacon Sandwich. My husband loved the eggplant bacon. He didn’t care for the bread, but he said the eggplant bacon alone or as a topping in salad would have been delicious.

Vegetable Cashew Quiche.  I really should have eaten half of the huge Southern sized portion and brought the rest home for later, but I indulged and finished the whole thing instead. It was wonderfully creamy!

Biscuits with Gravy: my husband ordered this, but I could’ve finished it and would’ve been happy to exchange. I thought this was the BEST of all the dishes we ordered. Delicious, wonderful texture, just the right amount of gravy.  Now I want to make some for myself!

Chocolate Coconut Balls: my son loved this, but we both really loved the Cinnamon Rolls. Very sweet but delicious, the Cinnamon Rolls were topped with a Macadamia Cream and filled with Sweet Pecans… No wonder I don’t have a photo… It was gone before I knew it.

Raw Drinks served at the Cafe

I had a great time at my own Mother’s Day brunch.  Besides my hubby cringing at the $93 bill for 3, we were satisfied overall with our meal and the service: I didn’t have to slave away to make our meal myself, the dishes were tasty, my boys were full, plus my son didn’t vomit everywhere (always a good sign that the chefs are clean and conscious about cross contamination).

What’s more, Sharon dreams of expanding nationwide! Watch out! You may see her Raw Vegan products at your own local health food store within a year!  Local peeps – she’ll be selling at Earth Fare soon and opening up another shop in downtown Columbia soon!

Good Life Cafe Granola

Review: Your Right To Be Beautiful

5 May

Your Right To Be Beautiful Volumizing Shampoo & Anti-Aging Facial Cream

Well, I tried the Anti-Aging Cream a few years ago and didn’t like it.  It just didn’t work for me then.  But my friend Cayce recently reminded me of Raw Food Advocate, Tonya Zavasta’s, Beautiful on Raw Products after she tried the Multi-Herbal Green Clay Mask.  Cayce said she absolutely loved it.

So, I decided to give it another try recently and was really surprised because it works!  Apparently, just this year, Tonya tripled the amount of sea buckthorn fruit extract in her cream… and it has made a big difference!  My skin feels wonderfully hydrated during the day and night.  In fact, in my vain search for Vegan cosmetics, I think among the moisturizers, Your Right to Be Beautiful Facial Cream has given me the best results so far in hydrating my skin and for lessening my wrinkles.  Yes, in my opinion, even better than Acure’s moisturizers!

Less wrinkles and more hydrated on Your Right To Be Beautiful Anti-Aging Cream… and no make-up in this photo too!!

I also decided to try the Volumizing Shampoo and was surprised again by Tonya’s products.  The shampoo lathers very well.  Although every time I use it I feel like the suds are stripping my hair of its natural oils as I rinse, but my hair is always easy to comb afterwards and as it dries, I find my hair just ‘falls’ well.  I’m wearing my hair down again without doing anything to it.  My son, who has had a fetish for his Mama’s hair since he was born, exclaimed as soon as he touched my dry hair after I used this shampoo, “Mama!  You’ve never had softer hair!  It’s like baby hair!”  And this is true, I haven’t had softer hair since using ‘healthier’ shampoos.

My son wanted to take this photo of me today while we were playing in the garden. It is rare for me to leave my hair down because it is so fine and thin.  I don’t have the time to fix it nor do I want to put product on my hair.  I only have time to wash, comb and let it air-dry.  My hair falls well naturally with Tonya Zavasta’s Volumizing Shampoo!

I am truly surprised by the quality of Tonya’s cream and shampoo!   To me, her website seems a little dull and old compared to the more updated websites of AcureSuki or even 100% Pure.  The packaging of the Your Right To Be Beautiful products also looks cheaper.  The woman I was e-mailing at her company didn’t know how to entertain the idea of sending me samples to review.  She didn’t.  And in fact, she stopped responding to me, so I had to buy the cream and the shampoo for this review from my health food store.  Judging from the website and my communication with its representative, this company does not seem like it would have quality products… but they do!  The cream and shampoo are definitely worth a try!

Now I want to get her facial brush and start dry brushing my face!

 

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – I love the smell of the cream. It smells luxurious.  I’m not crazy about the Lotus Flower smell of the shampoo, but it smells… ‘clean’.

2. sensitivities – none.  It says it is safe for very sensitive skin.

3. taste – no adverse taste when I drink water right after the application of the cream.

4. moisturize – Yes it does (cream and shampoo)!

5. everyday comfort – Yes.  An all-in-one cream that works is a wonderful product for a busy Mama who just wants results with minimal work.  As for the shampoo, it softens and at the same time adds volume to my thin and fine hair!

6. lasting effect – According to the website: “Your Right to Be Beautiful Facial Cream contains sea buckthorn oil, known for its amazing nourishing, regenerative and restorative actions. Coconut oil, aloe vera leaf extract and avocado oil add soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Mango seed butter helps to protect your skin from dryness.  The cream is suitable for every skin type, including sensitive skin and can be used as a daily moisturizer or as an enriching night cream. You can apply the cream under makeup foundation or as a soothing aftershave.”  As for the Volumizing Shampoo, “You’ll notice my shampoo and conditioner contain more ingredients than the average similar products. Why? Because I wanted these products to include everything known to deliver shine, volume, softness and manageability to hair while still being as pure and natural as humanly possible.”

7. eco-friendly – The ingredients are Vegan and a handful are Certified Organic.  Not exactly completely RAW like Bee Yummy’s products, but, as a Raw Foodie, Tonya says she keeps the quality of her beauty products as high as she can too. She sources the best ingredients that she can for the products that she personally uses and sells.

What is Vegan Mainstream’s Online Magazine?

29 Apr

Please allow me to flatter myself just for a wee moment. I was asked to contribute to Vegan Mainstream‘s new online magazine!  This Mama made it to VStream‘s first issue’s “Top 10 Vegan Bloggers” list!

Contributors to VStream's Spring/Summer 2012 Issue

So, what is VStream?

VStream is Vegan Mainstream‘s new online magazine full of articles from vegan bloggers, community leaders, chefs, and activists. Articles vary from kitchen issues to fashion ideas to recipes to facing vegan opposition and to making a difference in our own communities.  It’s only $2.99 to download the issue.  Take a sneak peek here or buy an issue here.

And if you’re wondering what Blogger Snippets look like, here’s mine:

My Blogger Snippet in VStream's Spring/Summer 2012 Issue

The Giving Tree: A Lesson on Earth Day

26 Apr

Our Giving Tree

I read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree to my son’s kindergarten homeschool class today. Then we created our own Giving Tree!

I read the story to them.

I asked them what the tree gave to the boy. They drew their answers on the leaves and apple paper cut outs I had made. Then, we attached it to the bare branches I had brought in. (I got a big branch from outdoors and set it in a tub with Plaster of Paris.)

An Apple

Apples to sell in order to make Money

Wood to make a Boat

I asked them what other things do trees give us?

Oxygen

I shared some quick facts with them:

1. Did you know an average tree can provide enough wood to make 170,000 pencils?

2. Did you know 2 mature trees can supply enough oxygen for a family of 4?

3. Did you know a mature tree removes almost 70x more pollution than a newly planted one?

And finally, I asked the children what could we give the tree in return? They cut paper and we hung their gifts up with ribbon on our Giving Tree.

Water

A Bird to keep the Tree company

Friendship

Love

Protection

Life

I left our class feeling how wise all these children already are.

How I Celebrated Earth Day This Week

22 Apr

My Grocery Shopping Cart this week.

I did it!

Thanks to my community of Mamas, my grocery cart is now ‘greener’!

I always brought my own grocery bags to pack my groceries in after paying at the cashier’s – but I used those thin plastic bags when segregating and putting produce and bulk foods in my cart.  I knew it wasn’t exactly ‘green’ but I rationalized that I would recycle them anyway.  This year, with the help of my readers, I was motivated and finally bought my reusable and earth-friendly muslin and mesh bags for my bulk and produce foods.

I have to tell you though – I was the only one in my health food store with reusable produce and bulk foods bags.  Everyone else around me was still using those thin plastic bags.  They were all looking at my muslin and mesh bags with wonder in their eyes.  Maybe I will, in turn, inspire them to stop using even more plastic too.

Thank you for motivating me to be a better person and HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!

Review and Give Away: Bee Yummy

16 Apr

Are you looking for RAW facial products?  I have tried Alkaitis day and night creams before.  Although I loved them, they left my face feeling greasy and sticky all the time.  The fragrance was also pretty overpowering.  Applying make-up, which I seldom do, was a little difficult on a sticky face too.

After asking around for Vegan product recommendations for my face, nobody recommended Bee Yummy.  Maybe because their products are not fully Vegan.  Although they are RAW FOOD products, honey, bee pollen, proplis and Royal Jelly are their primary ingredients.   Many Raw Vegans like me, who consume raw honey, would use them.  I stumbled upon them through my own research and I wondered how well they would work on my face.  live live organic accommodated my curiosity and sent me 2 sets of samples: 1 for me and 1 for one of my lucky readers!

Bee Yummy Face Products are made of RAW ingredients: Eye & Lip Cream, Face Lift and Skinfood. Feel free to eat some while applying on your face!

Bee Yummy Eye & Lip Cream is simply Olive Oil, Beeswax and Balsam Fir Needles.  It is a solid, but you can melt a little at a time when you apply it on your skin.  I had come back from a trip to Colorado, where it was dry and cold.  My lips were a little chapped – and after only a day of application, this made my lips feel soft and smooth.  I tried to use it on my eyes, but found it a little difficult (I am used to dabbing eye cream, not applying some with so much pressure that it stretches my skin) and time consuming to melt and apply around my eye area.

Bee Yummy Face Lift is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Kombucha Mushroom, Royal Jelly and Pure Water.  I used it twice in the past 2 weeks as a mask for 30 minutes (though they suggest using it throughout the night too) and I loved the feeling!   On my search for more products that work, I recently tried one mask that was so tight it felt like my skin was going to crack.   Bee Yummy Face Lift was not like this at all.  It made my skin feel moisturized and firm without being too tight at all. In fact, it will be the mask I use from now on! Although I still want to try some DIY Superfood Facemasks… when I have some extra ingredients and time on my hands that is!

Bee Yummy Skinfood is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, St. John’s Wort Flowers, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Balsam Fir Needles and Pure Water.  I haven’t had a chance to try this product myself at all because I gave my sample to my son.  He ate something he was allergic to 2 weeks ago and broke out with eczema on his face.  I usually use coconut oil or shea butter to help reduce it and more high-raw Vegan foods in his diet to help cleanse his system.  This time, I wanted to try Skinfood instead of the coconut or shea butters. Well… after seeing how fast my son’s eczema disappeared after using Bee Yummy Skinfood, I went ahead and bought my son a 2oz bottle to keep in his drawer.  I wish I had some photos but I frankly didn’t think his skin would be better so quickly and I lost the opportunity.  Another good thing about Skinfood is that a small amount goes a long way too.

Any of you want a sample?  Please simply comment here and the winner will be announced on Earth Day!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – who doesn’t love the smell of honey?

2. sensitivities – my son is allergic to so many sweeteners.  The only sweetener that his body is truly fine with is honey.  Needless to say, we don’t have honey allergies at our house.  We love raw honey.

3. taste – you can EAT all of Bee Yummy products.

4. moisturize – I love the Face Lift!  It is now my preferred face mask.

5. everyday comfort and 6. lasting effect – According to their website: “As a cosmetic cream Bee Yummy™ nourishes your skin with at least 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, 105 live enzymes & co-enzymes, hormones, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and pigments. Another amazing, if not the  main feature of  Bee Yummy™ is it’s healing effect. It is excellent to help heal wide range of skin conditions: burns, sunburns, open wounds & cuts, pimples, blemishes, bed sores, stretch marks, chapping etc. We have reports from our clients that it has been very helpful for psoriasis, eczema, rosatia, poison ivy, and other conditions.”

7. eco-friendly – Vegans won’t like that honey is their primary ingredient, of course.  According to their website, their “ingredients have been hand harvested in a small wilderness area with it’s own micro climate. Honey, Pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly are made by the same colony of bees from a small apiary, which accounts for energetic harmony and synergy of our cream. Honey is collected from the wildflowers, is unfiltered (just dripped from the comb), and contains the cappings of the hive with their precious, mysterious substances. Pollen, depending on season, is from a mixture of Wild Dandelion, Wild Roses, Raspberries, Asparagus, Goldenrod, Wild Apples, and Cherry Tree blossoms. Propolis is of the highest quality: only from Poplar and Fir trees. The flowers of St. Johnswort are picked by hand at noon, when the juices are drawn up from the roots, stems, and leaves into the flowers. Only select, young tips of Balsam Fir are used as a vitamin C source. No preservatives are needed because Honey, Propolis, and Balsam Fir are the nature’s  best preservatives and antibiotics. Honey is the only food on earth that will keep forever, and so will our cream.”

Want to try them? Just leave a comment below and the winner of the sample set will be announced on Earth Day!

Review: Acure Face

8 Apr

Acure Products

Besides 100%PureAcure was the most recommended Vegan cosmetics brand by my community of Mamas. I should have started out my vain quest for Vegan products that really work with Acure face creams  The Acure face products I recently purchased were amazing: Day Cream, Night Cream, Facial Serum and Line Eraser. I shouldn’t be surprised because I love their Lemongrass Argan Oil Shampoo (they gave me a bottle sample) and their Acure Oil (I bought this). During the last 2 weeks of using Acure face products, my face didn’t miss Clarins at all.  In fact, my skin felt absolutely moisturized and I didn’t get an extra amount of wrinkles as I did when experimenting with other Vegan non-synthetic brands.

The Proof is in the Pudding, here are the photos:

My face, on mainstream, plant-based products with synthetic fillers. For a mid-30's Mama, people tend to think I'm a decade younger than I really am. I used to think it was all in my diet... but moisturizers, I discovered, have a lot to do with it too!

My face, while experimenting with new plant-based, natural and non-synthetic products... dry... and, as my hubby says, with my wrinkles in full glory. Looking my real age here, I suspect!

2 weeks after Acure, my face is in love with the day cream, the night cream and the facial serum!!!! Moisturized, not wrinkly and without the synthetic chemicals!!! I'm back to feeling young again!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – wonderfully mild in fragrance.  They didn’t bother me at all.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with any of the products.  To me, they felt very mild.  My skin also did not feel dry and unprotected.

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards (something my mainstream products do!).

4. moisturize – with a lot of Vegan moisturizers, I usually missed the creaminess of my mainstream brand.  I also tend to miss how Clarins seemed to penetrate my skin.  I didn’t have to miss this feeling with the Acure products at all.  FYI, I loved the Serum over the Line Eraser, as the former seemed to do a better job reducing the wrinkles.

5. everyday comfort –  the creams are mild, light, non-greasy, not shiny, absorbed easily.  The serum is absorbed quickly too, although it is an oil and is a little greasy.  I applied only a little serum at night and for a wee bit of grease, the reduction of wrinkles come morning was all worth it.  Makeup was applied on easily after using the day cream.

6. lasting effect – yes!  I love these products!!!  I haven’t tried anything my face loves better than Acure face products so far. Note: the day and night creams contain Cholorella Growth Factor.  According to their website: “Clinical studies have shown CGF to increase collagen expression by 333% when used at 1% concentration*. Our anti-aging products use our CGF at an amazing 5% concentration.”  Hmmm… so that’s what my face needs!

7. eco-friendly – Acure says their decisions are based on green packaging, green products, social consciousness and a triple bottom line: “We use only the purest, most effective fair trade, natural and organic ingredients available. We travel the globe to find the highest quality ingredients to formulate our products. Each ingredient is selected with great care to ensure a sustainable and eco-friendly supply chain.” “We believe in pursuing a triple bottom line. People and planet are just as important as profit.”

The Scoop on Poop for Kids

29 Mar

My son and I created this video today in order to teach him about bowel movements as an indicator of his health.  We thought your young kids might learn something too!

Green Giftcard and Goody Giveway time!… sponsored by Alex+Von and Green Your Beauty Routine with Veronica

29 Mar

By Veronica Medrano

What is Alex+Von?

Alex+Von is an innovative new company that is creating a chic and practical way for women to make income, selling products from natural and organic boutique brands. Consultants have the flexibility to sell in person or online and every sale supports a local, small business. Alex+Von is a unique direct-selling company that stands out because of its sustainable mission and healthy, green and eco-friendly brands that are loved by many.

Alex+Von Current Brands:

100% Pure:

  • Ingredients: Exceptional quality and high concentrations of natural ingredients to deliver antioxidant and vitamin benefits. No synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, petrochemicals, chemical preservatives, water, cheap fillers, thickeners or any toxins. Uses organic and food-grade ingredients.
  • Cruelty Free & Vegan: Products are never tested on animals and it is the company’s mission to help and save animals.
  • Eco-Friendly Packaging: Made from recycled plastic, glass, aluminum and paper. Printing uses soy and vegetable ink. Formulas are 100% biodegradable. Shipping materials use recycled and biodegradable materials.
  • For: Everyone including women, men, teens, pregnant/nursing women, children
  • Product Lines: Fruit Pigmented Makeup, Skincare, Bath & Body, Hands, Hair, Children
  • Skin types: Dry, Oily, combination, acne, aging, extremely sensitive
  • Bestsellers: Brightening Face Scrub + Mask, Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer w/ SPF 20, Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream (as seen on Dr. Oz), Fruit Pigmented Black Tea Mascara
  • Motto: “Health food for your skin”
  • Press: 100 % Pure has been featured in over 1000 different magazines, newspapers and TV shows in the US and internationally.
  • Celebs using 100% Pure products: Dr. Oz, Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspooon, Tom Cruise, Madonna
  • Order 100% Pure: http://bit.ly/wQ1fMs

Suki:

  • Ingredients: Natural, organic or food grade high quality ingredients. Synthetic and chemical-free. Uses fair trade, organic and biodynamic ingredients from local companies whenever possible. No nanotechnology.
  • Proven Results: Spa grade, clinically-proven cosmeceutical products (marriage between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals or dermaceuticals). Cosmeceutical activity much show 70-80% efficacy in order to make a real difference on the skin.
  • Cruelty-free, vegetarian and Vegan (except a few products that contain responsibly harvested beeswax)
  • Eco-Friendly Packaging: Recycled materials, made with biodegradable, vegetable inks and is recyclable
  • For: Women, men, teens, pregnant/nursing women and babies
  • Product Lines: sukiface (exceptional antiaging line), sukibody, sukihair, sukitogo, sukispa, sukicolor makeup
  • Skin types: Dry, oily, combination, acne, rosacea, aging, eczema, extremely sensitive
  • Bestsellers: Exfoliating Foam Face Cleanser, Concentrated Face Toner, Balancing Day Face Lotion, Pure Facial Moisture
  • Motto: Clinically-proven natural solutions
  • Press: Suki has been featured in numerous magazines, in the U.S. and internationally and has received many recent Awards
  • Celebs using Suki products: Courtney Cox, Eva Longoria, Katherine Heigl, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
  • Suki info video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywllHVV0pg
  • Order Suki: http://bit.ly/FQi09s

WeeDecor:

  • Playful, personal Eco-Friendly Decals for kids’ rooms
  • Designer brands bringing modern style to kids’ rooms without having to use a drop of paint
  • Removable and Reusable
  • High-Quality Biodegradable Fabric
  • PVC free
  • Order WeeDecor: http://bit.ly/xwsvy0

Original Moxie (new a+v brand):

  • Natural, toxic free hair care made with essential oils
  • 3D Diagnostic system which eliminates guesswork by helping you identify the products that fit for your hair type (Analysis based on Density, Dryness or Degree of Curl* – see image)
  • Ingredients: Natural and organic, whenever possible.
  • Product types: curl enhancing, volume boost, frizz fighter, wave maker, get it straight
  • Order Original Moxie: http://bit.ly/GYGFFI

Upcoming Brand: high definition, natural makeup (name reveal coming in next few weeks)

Why I chose Alex+Von…

As a stay at home mother, this opportunity appealed very much to me, especially knowing that I could share my passion for green living and products that would help others achieve the same. Having been surprised with a micro-preemie baby, gave me lots to think about with regards to what I wanted to do secularly…continue at my big city job as a techie or stay at home with our fragile preemie? The answer was obvious, and to this day I have no regrets! Alex+Von has allowed me stay at home, work flexible hours and do just that…focus on her. Alex+Von supports women who want to work from home in any type of circumstance or stage in their life. Whether you want work part-time and add some income or focus on direct selling as a full-time career.

Why should you ‘Green Your Beauty Routine’?

Green your Beauty Routine with Veronica is my green mission to promote awareness about the importance of healthy, toxic-free and chemical free brands and products. My facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/GreenYourBeautyRoutine) is dedicated to inform, warn and help consumers educate themselves about what they put on their skin…very important, since 60% of topical products enter your body bloodstream! I also love helping others learn what products are best for their skin type and families and assist them in ‘Greening their Beauty Routine’ as much as possible. I enjoy posting many general green topics, tips, makeup how-to’s, alex+von specials and givewaway info—so, make sure you tune in often!

Green and Glam Prizes

There are two GIVEAWAYS, so read carefully… 🙂

Green Your Beauty Routine! Giftcard Giveaway

One very fortunate reader will win a $25 gift card to use towards any Alex+Von brands and products. There will be a few ways to accumulate entries (up to 3 are possible): 1) Like Green Your Beauty Routine with Veronica (http://www.facebook.com/GreenYourBeautyRoutine) on FB + Like Mama’s In the Kitchen and She Ain’t Cookin’ (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mama-in-the-Kitchen-and-she-aint-cookin/104174956286423) = 1 entry. 2) Follow @GreenUrRoutine+ Follow @MamaInDKtchn on Twitter (1 entry), and for a final entry 3) fill out my skincare questionnaire here: (http://bit.ly/FQ9vbj). Up to three entries total. Simply comment here stating your type of entry so that we can track all entries. Winners will be announced on Earth Day: 22nd April 2012.

Why You Should Join My Green team! Goodies Giveaway

Roll call!…Looking for some green-loving folks to share natural, organic, eco-friendly and high-quality boutique brands. Are you looking to make some extra money while showing your love for healthy living? I was never really a ds selling girl, but after realizing my passion for green beauty came so naturally, it was such a breeze to convey this to my audience and clients. Think about it… 1) not only do you get to share your green passion, but 2) you get to sell and make commission on stuff you love, 3) you get a discount on purchasing products you need for yourself, 4) you get to show love to mother earth, 5) you get to work online in your cozy faux bunny slippers or in-person at parties, shows or events, 6) you get to work as little or as much as you want and achieve the salary you desire and 7) you get to join an amazing young company where you can be heard as an independent consultant or a founding member (yes, founding member and more commission is still up for grabs!)

Alex+Von really has a tremendous team and the owners still interact with every consultant when there are questions. All members volunteer helpful information, tips and brands! Recommend a green brand, and it might get chosen as an a+v brand based on need and natural-ness. If you want to hear more about this opportunity, there are weekly no pressure calls for prospective consultants who’d like to just get more information. I’ll post this info on my FB Page.  Btw, March has a great opportunity for anyone joining, since any party host can join and purchase their starter kits for half off.  April will have another great opportunity as well…stay tuned on my FB page.

Now let’s talk more green goodies.. To help build my team, I’d love to award the following prizes to the next 3 consecutive sign-ups. FIRST consultant who signs up on my team will win a 100% Pure .50 oz organic coffee bean eye cream (bestseller and anti-wrinkle cream as featured on Dr. Oz ), a 100% Pure shimmery cocoa berry lip and cheek stain, and a 100% Pure real fruit-pigmented lip gloss, Retail value $33.00. SECOND and THIRD place sign up will also win a 100% Pure lip gloss, Retail value $13.00.

For more information on the alex+von opportunity and to join my green team:  http://bit.ly/HpIn3j

As well, please email me at colormegreen2@yahoo.com if you have any additional questions.  Thanks again for reading my post, look forward to hearing from you!  XOXO…Veronica

Review: Suki (clinically-proven natural solutions®)

28 Mar

In my search for earth and body friendly Vegan cosmetic products, one of my readers (who also happens to be very passionate about cosmetics and works as a consultant for Alex+Von) suggested I try Suki products.  Although I received a few samples from Veronica c/o Alex+Von,

Suki Samples I received from Alex+Von

I decided to go ahead and buy myself an affordable “To Go Complete Care for Youthful Skin” kit from Suki after taking their Skin Quiz.

Suki's To Go Complete Care For Youthful Skin Kit

I figured that a week’s worth of products is usually long enough for me to figure out if my skin likes the products and I had the flexibility to use the free samples to compare with the products I bought.

My Impressions

Suki products are light, mild, moisturizing, not overly fragranced and left my face feeling ‘clean’.  Maybe it was psychological that I didn’t miss my Clarins products at all because I read on their website that “suki® blends advanced, high performance clinically-proven actives with 100% synthetic-free & organic ingredients, innovating the first treatment formulas that bridge the gap between science & nature. our products have an exceptional level of bioavailability that outperforms synthetics without harsh side effects & functions in unison with the body’s natural biological processes.”  They also state that “suki® is the first skin care solution with visible results proven through consumer clinical trials.”

I did use up my “To Go” Kit and most of the samples in just over a week.  When I sat down to write down the products that I loved and the products that I felt were just OK, it didn’t really surprise me to discover that I preferred the Vegan products over the Vegetarian ones instinctively.

The Products I Loved

Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • an award winning product
  • I loved how massaging the product in between my hands immediately created an amazing amount of foam, which I then applied on my face.
  • this felt lovely on the skin
  • I preferred this to the creamy foaming cleanser (below).

Creamy Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • I preferred this over the Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion – perhaps because I prefer a foaming cleanser to a lotion.  The lotion is a Vegetarian product and I didn’t feel it did as a good a job in cleansing my face, particularly on days when I had makeup.
  • it left my face feeling soft and cleansed well without stripping it dry.

Transformative Cleansing Clay (vegan)

  • light and thin
  • you can use it as a cleanser or as a masque.  I used it as a masque and left it on my face for 10-15 minutes.  It dried nicely – not overly tight, just right.
  • it left my skin feeling soft.

Pure Facial Moisture, both balancing and nourishing (vegan)

  • for me these were the STAR products of Suki
  • light, thin oils that are easily absorbed
  • they do not leave a thick film of grease on the skin
  • these oils don’t get into the eyes at all (like other oils do)
  • the face feels like it can really breathe at night
  • my skin felt wonderfully moisturized with these oils and made my skin feel very soft in the morning!
  • I love them and after my samples were done, I wish I had more!
  • P.S. I used more than just 1 – 2 drops at a time…

Now For The Photos

A few days before trying Suki products, still on my mainstream Clarins products

The week while trying Suki Products. I do have a little make up on, but skin looks great from afar.

Without make up and an up-close photo taken the last day of testing Suki products.

To me, there seems to be just a little more wrinkles on Suki than when I am on Clarins.  But as their website says “suki® innovation lab™ utilizes the latest clinically-proven actives from natural resources instead of conventional synthetics that cause topical damage & long term disease.”  They also remind me that knowing my beauty “means accepting, nurturing & expressing our authentic selves… also means having honest & complete information… we can trust… knowing what we consume, both inside & out.”

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – wonderfully mild in fragrance.  It didn’t bother me at all.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with any of the products.  To me, they felt very mild.  They products are also gluten-free.  Many are Vegan.  Their website states that “suki® is committed to creating clinically-proven cosmeceutical solutions that remain 100% synthetic-free & formulated with advanced technology.”

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards (something my mainstream products do!).

4. moisturize – I loved the breathable evening oils the most.  The Intensive Nourishing Cream was ok.  It wasn’t bad at all, but I prefer creamier products.

5. everyday comfort –  mild, light, non-greasy, not shiny, absorbed easily.  Makeup was applied on easily after using the cream.

6. lasting effect – I love their breathable night oils!  If I don’t find anything better than the products I loved (outlined above), Suki will be my facial products of choice.

7. eco-friendly – The company, based in Massachusetts, states that it is eco-friendly from it’s ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and shipping, as well as it’s activities outside of the company.  Check out their environmental policy here.

Review: 100%Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum and Nourishing Cream

15 Mar

I have had a month long love-and-hate relationship with 100%Pure’s Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum and Nourishing CreamVeronica did warn me that to effectively find a product that works for my skin, it would be a trial and error process – a process I was/am not looking forward to.  Not only can such a process be tedious, but also expensive, wasteful and time consuming.

Although I knew I was going to get a sample of the nourishing cream from Alex+Von, I got my hands on both the serum and the cream in time for a 2 week holiday.  Having heard so many wonderful things about it, I couldn’t wait to try it.

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words.  Let’s let these photos tell you what happened:

My face before the trip: moisturized!

My face, while on holiday, 2 weeks after using the Red Wine Serum and Cream: dry, wrinkled and tired.

My face a week after the trip: I decided to give my face a break from cream experimentation and went back to my conventional moisturizer. Less dry, less wrinkled and less tired!

My face after my 2nd trial run: I decided to give the Red Wine products another try to see how they would do in my home environment without other factors (like traveling, eating differently, etc). After just 2 days, I couldn't stand it any longer. My face, especially around the nose area, felt crumbly and as dry, wrinkled and tired as it did after 2 weeks of using Red Wine products on my holiday.

My tried and tested conventional product, Clarins, though plant based, is rated 2 to 10 out of 10 (with 10 being the most hazardous and toxic to one’s health) by the Environmental Working Group.  My night and day creams alone are rated 6 and 7 out of 10, which means they are deemed as moderately to highly hazardous to one’s health.  According to Veronica, “Clarins and other conventional products, do have great ingredients but combined with other synthetic fillers may expand skin and temporarily fill in the gaps and give you the effect you are looking for (fill out wrinkles), but at same time you will be adding other chemicals to your body on a constant basis.  There ‘are’ natural products that can do the same but you have to keep the trial and error process going until you find what works best for ‘your’ skin.

Sigh.

My husband can’t believe I am still using Clarins.  “You call yourself a Raw Vegan? What’s wrong with looking more natural, with your wrinkles in all its glory?”  Well… I want to make the switch, I do!  But, I want to make sure I switch to a product that actually works best for my skin.  So, on with the search!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria? NO!

1. smell – it has a mild fragrance.  It isn’t strong.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with the serum or cream.  They just dried me out.

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards.

4. moisturize – although my face did feel hydrated the very first day I used it, any moisturizing effect just went downhill from there.  Although quite greasy, both the serum and cream left my face feeling dry, wrinkled and tired.

5. everyday comfort –  The serum is very greasy.  The cream is lightly greasy.  I found that they were not easily absorbed by the skin and I was left with a light shine all day long.  Applying make up afterwards was also not as easy as I am used to.

6. lasting effect – I cannot recommend this product at all.

7. eco-friendly – According to the company: “100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins… our formulas are never tested on animals (everything we use is food grade and does not require testing)… 100% Pure products are never diluted with water, alcohol, thickeners, emulsifiers or any other “fillers”.

Review: 100%Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

15 Mar

One of my readers, Veronica from Alex+Von (a green company that focuses on natural, organic and ecofriendly boutique brands), sent me a sample tube of 100%Pure’s most talked about and publicized Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream.  According to 100%Pure, a Clinical Four Week Study showed:

– 97% saw reduction of puffiness
– 87% saw reduction of dark circles
– 93% say it reduced the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
– 100% say it improved skin hydration & moisturization
– 93% say it improved skin firmness/elasticity

Kate Hudson uses it and it even made it to the Dr. Oz show (look at 1:50 on the video).  Who wouldn’t want to try this organic coffee bean caffeine eye cream?

My First Impressions

It was late, I was extremely tired and ready for bed when I decided to try some.  When I opened the tube and squeezed some onto my finger, the smell took me back to the first time I ever drank coffee, which was when I was 7 years old.  I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but I was enticed by the smell of a thermos full of coffee.  There wasn’t anyone around and I proceeded to pour myself 7 cups of the yummy smelling drink, mixing in some milk and lots of sugar… and drinking every last drop.  I was WIRED!  Now, as an adult, I haven’t drank coffee in 10 years.  But as soon as I applied some of the Caffeine Cream around my eyes, I was as wired as that time when I was 7. In an instant, my tired eyes were suddenly wide awake, bright eyed and ready to party.  My eyes have never felt that kind of jolt of energy before.  It was then that I first physically realized how true that:

“As much as 60% of topical skin-care products are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.

They should be consumed with the same prudence that we use to choose our breakfast cereal.”

Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D. an lowa-based physician in April 2006 issue of Women’s Health Magazine.

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – coffee!!!

2. sensitivities – It will wake up your eyes, so use it in the morning!  The company states that their product “does not contain harsh detergents, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin, they are perfect for sensitive skin.” Plus, 100% Pure is GLUTEN-FREE.  As with all natural products, do take note if you do have any allergies to their ingredients.

3. taste – I imagine it tastes like coffee!

4. moisturize – yes.  It is not drying.

5. everyday comfort –  This is a light cream, non-greasy and easily absorbable.

6. lasting effect – I felt the caffeine effect immediately the first time I applied it.  I didn’t feel quite the same way subsequently, but I imagine it is because I now use it in the morning.

7. eco-friendly – According to the company: “100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins… our formulas are never tested on animals (everything we use is food grade and does not require testing)… 100% Pure products are never diluted with water, alcohol, thickeners, emulsifiers or any other “fillers”.

More Info?

If you want to buy their products… Just wait!  One of you is eligible to win a $25 gift card from Alex+ Von after I review 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Face Serum and Cream and Suki products.

If you are thinking about signing up as a consultant at Alex+VonVeronica has a special surprise for you too!  You can contact her directly: colormegreen2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

A Raw Vegan Mama’s Weekly Grocery Cart

12 Mar

A lot of people ask me where I shop, how I shop and how much produce do I buy:

  • WHERE: for the most part, I shop at my local health food store because they source things as locally and as seasonally as they can. I also shop at www.vitacost.com for non-perishable items.
  • HOW: I buy organic produce when on sale: produce is 30% off on Thursdays and Sundays at our local store. I am astounded at how much money I save just by dropping by on these days! I typically only visit the organic produce, bulk and oil/vinegar sections.
  • HOW MUCH: take a look at the photos, below, of my typical shopping cart from different angles:

I am usually the person with the most produce in their cart every time I check out at the cash register. We rarely eat out as a family, so what you see in my cart, above, is everything we eat in a week. We don’t buy extras, like Starbucks coffee or a Krispy Kreme Doughnut or pop into a shop/restaurant midweek for more food.

Bringing the produce home. The top drawer is filled with nuts and dried fruit. The bottom drawer is filled with hardier veggies, like carrots, celery and mushrooms. This is not all the produce at home as we have fruit baskets on our counters too!

When this photo (above) was taken, I spent $200. $200 – $250/week for groceries is typical for us. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American consumer (single or families with dependents) spent $6,129 in 2010 on food ($3,624 at home and $2,505 away from home). That’s around $118 on food/week. Although we are a 3 person household, I want to say that I buy for a typical 4 person household because my athlete husband eats double a normal adult portion at any meal. Whichever way you look at it, as a high raw and organic vegan 3-person household, it seems we are spending a low $67 on food/person/week to a high of $83 on food/person/week – and the numbers decrease when you factor in how much we consume. That’s not bad at all!

Review: Girvins Vegan Soaps

12 Mar

Girvins Vegan Soap

They can custom make any of their soaps for the Vegan market.

A family friend, Stephanie Rohrer, owns and runs Fox Hollow Farm in Maryland with her family.  I almost visited once – but have never been.  I understand they have a farm market where you can buy vegetables and fruits  (along side their animal products) on their farm everyday, except for Mondays in the Winter.  Stephanie also happens to be a weaver of soaps and candles for her personal company, Girvins.  She uses ingredients from her farm to create candles, soaps and body creams.  My family was lucky enough to test her Moon Soap fragrance free and Vegan.  Stephanie makes it herself with distilled herbal water, coconut oil, palm oil , olive oil, vitamin E and lye. 

My family and I loved that her Moon Soap has no fragrance.  My son loved the fact that it did a great job washing away my young son’s smelly feet!  Where smell is concerned, it does a much better job than our everyday soap, Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar. The soap lathers lightly with small bubbles, but lathers up well nonetheless.  Stephanie said she sells a lot of her soaps to families with kids who have skin issues.  I wasn’t surprised then that her soap cleans very well without drying or stripping the skin.  Most importantly for busy Mamas, it doesn’t leave a greasy film on the bathroom (which olive oil soap does).

Did Girvin’s Moon Soap pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – no fragrance!  Loved that there was no fragrance.  My son thought it smelled like cheese, but that was probably the lye.

2. sensitivities – none.  This is very mild.

3. taste – not applicable.

4. moisturize – cleans very well without drying the skin or stripping skin of its natural oils.

5. everyday comfort –  yes.  My son’s feet especially smelled wonderfully neutral after using this soap!  And it doesn’t leave a greasy film on the bathroom floor!

6. lasting effect – yes!

7. eco-friendly – All of Girvin Soaps can be customized for Vegans.