Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simply Christmas

Well, sorry I haven't been around much this month. Our trip to the mainland for Christmas has kept me quite busy. We did not get to visit family last year at this time, and we have truly enjoyed being with them this holiday season.

This time of year can be so hectic. People scurrying all around, the traffic, the last-minute shopping frenzies. It is easy to lose sight of what is most important. There were lots of things I intended to post this month and never got around to...I've been too busy doing what really matters-spending time with loved ones.

Like anyone else, I've shopped. I've wrapped. I've attended parties. But we have made a real effort in our home lately, to just look at Christmas... and be amazed. Amazed at the wonder and the simplicity. The reason we celebrate. An act of love. A lowly birth. An innocent baby. A Savior is born.

When you celebrate Christmas this week, I pray that in the midst of the surrounding frenzy, you will slow down, take a deep breath, and simply worship the King.

These tips are coming a bit late, but here are a few ideas for keeping it simple this year:

1. Help your kids make homemade goodies to give as gifts. An easy, healthier option are these Candied Pecans.

2. Incorporate traditions like reading the nativity story or singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

3. Get bundled up and go Christmas Caroling! Remember that??

4. If you haven't already...don't break the bank! Draw names from a hat and do a gift exchange. Or get together with other moms and dads and have a toy exchange. Gather gently used toys that your kids have outgrown and swap them out with other families. Toys don't have to always be brand new.

5. Forgo expensive gifts and do a White Elephant exchange instead. Those gifts are always the most memorable!

6. Save on wrapping paper and gift-tags...reuse bags from last year or get creative by using newspaper, magazines, or grocery bags to wrap with. Or my personal favorite, give gifts a personal touch by wrapping them up in one of your child's many masterpieces.

7. Okay, this may be controversial, but here goes...re-gift! I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking something that, let's say, isn't you...and passing it along to someone who would truly enjoy it. And if it's just hideous? Well, then, recycle it!

8. Give. Give to a needy family, or the Red Cross, or the Salvation Army...or any number of other causes. You will be the one who receives the gift.


9. Enjoy one another. Love one another.

10. Worship.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Okay, if you have had any doubt in your mind about what you have read here, or heard elsewhere, concerning EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) and your health...

Check out this trailer for a new documentary that is sure to blow you away. We cannot ignore the threat any longer.

For more information on how to protect yourself, go to www.mybiopro.com/protectednoggin. BioPro is the only company offering this type of technology. Protect yourself today!

Here's to your health!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green Polka Dot Box

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been around in a bit. Things are getting a little busy around here. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends. Hope you were all blessed by your day as well. We will be heading off to the mainland on the 12th of December to be with family for Christmas, so you may not hear from me as much...but stick around. I will be posting when I can and will be sure to post more when we return.

For now I want to tell you about a site that a friend forwarded to me. I have not had time to look at it in detail, but I always want to keep you updated on the latest. Here is a new health food website you can check out and compare prices to what you are currently paying. It's called Green Polka Dot Box.

Check it out at

Here's to your health!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Thanks!

I love Thanksgiving. There's just something about the turkey and all the fixins...and the tryptophan! Gratitude is so good for our hearts, our souls, and yes, our bodies. There is compelling research about attitudes and health. We are all struggling right now, but we still have oh so much to be thankful for. We have our freedom. We have one another. We have love and joy and faith. So give thanks!

This year we will celebrate Thanksgiving with some friends in our neighborhood. They are preparing quite a feast. I am bringing a simple salad that has become a favorite around here. It's not my original recipe. I guess it's kind of a classic. Here is a quick and easy salad that is sure to be a hit.

Blue Cheese & Granny Smith Salad

organic mixed baby greens
Granny Smith apple
crumbled blue cheese
candied pecans
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Use desired amount of ingredients listed. We like our salads hearty, and I often say that we added a little lettuce to our salad :) Make it how you like!

1. Cut desired amount of apple into small chuncks
2. Add blue cheese and pecans
3. Toss all ingredients with baby greens, balsamic, and olive oil
4. Add just a bit of black pepper and cinnamon for extra flare (optional)

I often make this salad with raw pecans, or with Trader Joe's lightly sweetened pecans. (I stock up on these when we visit the mainland). But if you want to make them yourself, here is a nice recipe for candied pecans from my favorite gluten-free blog, Elana's Pantry. I made them tonight. I was out of yacon syrup so I used agave nectar. These nuts offer just a hint of sweetness to your salad or enjoy them all by themselves.

Candied Pecans

2 cups pecans
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons yacon syrup
½ tsp celtic sea salt

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl
Place in a pyrex baking dish
Bake at 350° for 15 minutes
Cool and serve

Here's to great food. Here's to gratitude. Here's to your health!

God bless you this Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


And the winner of the EnviroBLOX giveaway is:

Jennifer, who follows To Your Health via Google Connect.

Congratulations Jennifer!! Unfortunately, you did not leave an email address, so please contact me by leaving a comment for this post with your email address included. If I do not hear from you within 72 hours, I will have to choose another winner.

A big thank you to all who entered. I would like to also offer special thanks to Cadaco for sponsoring this very generous giveaway!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just Another Every Day Toxin

We should all be outraged at even the thought of toxic waste being called "organic fertilizer". Sadly, the reality is that this is happening all over the country. This is no doubt, a problem that will trickle down and effect us all. Here is an excerpt from the Organic Consumers Association concerning this every day toxin.

With toxic municipal sewage sludge being spread over tens of thousands of non-organic farms and ranches across the U.S., and sold in garden supply stores - often falsely labeled as "organic" fertilizer - OCA is about to launch a major campaign against the sewage sludge industry. But before we launch this campaign we need to respond to the current outrage in the so-called "Green City" of San Francisco, where the city is giving away toxic sewage sludge to backyard gardeners, farmers, and schools, under the guise of it being "organic fertilizer."


Use the following Action Alert and tell San Francisco to stop endangering schoolchildren and backyard gardeners!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Only two more days left to enter the Enviro BLOX giveaway! Click here to find out how to enter.

Have a great and healthy day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tune in Tuesday!!

Most of you have heard of Dr. Oz. And if you haven't, now is the time to check out his show. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 17th of November, Dr. Oz investigates the link between cell phones and brain cancer. This is a show you do not want to miss! Check your local listings for the Dr. Oz show and tell your friends to watch this important show as well. To find out more about how cell phone use is linked to cancer, and how you can protect yourself, visit www.mybiopro.com/protectednoggin.

Here's to your health!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Have a Happy Tiffin!

I am glad to know there are so many great new food storage options. I just learned about a product line from a reader who commented on my post, More Reusable Options. If you are looking for style and function, Happy Tiffin is a fabulous, chic way to go! Their three-layer stainless steel containers and gorgeous, insulated bags would make a great gift for anyone on your list.

Check out all of their items at www.happytiffin.com. A big thank you to the reader who posted this comment, and to all my readers who share their latest tips.

Have a great and healthy day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Okay to Fib!

Okay, how cute are these? Want a great novelty gift option for a friend who has a baby? Or for your little cutie? I read about these adorable costume bibs on a friend's blog and just had to share them here. These fun little bibs are handmade by moms and sold on Etsy. They are double-sided, so you can flip the costume side over and use the other side for feeding time. To check out more, go to http://www.fibbibs.com/.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Massive Maclaren Recall!

Attention Parents! If you own Maclaren stroller, you need to read this. Several children have been seriously hurt. If you own a Maclaren umbrella stroller, stop using it immediately. That’s the advice of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after it announced a voluntary recall Monday of an estimated 1 million strollers made by Maclaren.

Stop using any single- or double-umbrella stroller with Maclaren written on it, says the CPSC. The problem: Maclaren received reports that 12 children had their fingertips amputated after they placed their fingers in the hinge where the stroller folds. "This is a very serious hazard," says Scott Wilson, spokesman for the CPSC. "We know child behavior, we know kids like to explore and sometimes put their fingers in places where they shouldn't be. But finger amputations that result from using a product that parents expect to be safe is unacceptable."

Read more here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Reusable Options!

With the overwhelming number of reports about BPA leaching, I am making an extra effort to have a plastic-free kitchen. Of course, many food items we buy come in plastic packaging. It is impossible to avoid it completely.

I prefer glass for drinking and for food storage. But we are a busy family on the go and glass is not always the most practical option. I have previously shared some of my favorite reusables. Here are a few more.

I bought some stainless steel containers that are quite handy for packing lunch items or snacks. They are lightweight, reusable, and provide natural insulation, which helps keep food cool longer. We have been using Lunch Bots for sandwiches and other snacks. My husband takes them to work in his lunch bag, and we also use them for food storage in the fridge. Lunch Bots have a rectangular shape, and a tight seal lid. I got a great price for these on Amazon.

We also really like Kids Konserve Nesting Trio. These three round containers are great for veggie slices, crackers, hummus, whatever. They "nest" inside one another for easy storage, and have rubber, leak-proof lids that seal tight and keep food contained, so there is no need to worry about spills. You can find these on The Soft Landing.

We have traded our Sigg Bottles, due to possible BPA leaching, for great new stainless steel sippers. I ordered three different brands to try out. For my husband, I got Nathan's 240z with a flip straw. My daughter now has a pretty CamelBak butterfly bottle with a flip straw. And I love my gorgeous new bottle by Thermos. It has a one-touch button release for a straw, which makes it super convenient and easy to sip from during workouts or when driving. I really like how liquids stay a consistent temperature for hours in these stainless steel bottles.

All of these choices are stainless steel, but remember, there are also many safe BPA-free plastic choices as well. It may not seem cost-effective to switch out your containers, but it actually is. These are durable, safe containers that do not leach harmful chemicals. They are not microwaveable...sorry. But they are reusable and will last a long, long time. Resuable containers conserve resources, reduce waste, and ultimately, keep more money in your pocket. Now that, I like.
Here' s to your health!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get Creative With Clementine Art!

I've always got my eye out for the safest products for kids. As promised, here is another great option for the kiddos on your Christmas list. Today we received a highly-anticipated package of products to review from Clementine Art. I first noticed Clementine Art products in Whole Foods. I checked out the website and was so impressed with the company's products and the story behind them. What a fabulous company!

Clementine Art is a natural children's art company. The products are all natural, truly non-toxic, free of synthetic preservatives, animal by-products, and petroleum. They are the first art product company to list all ingredients on its packages. The company uses renewable resources, even down to the beautiful packaging, which is made from mostly recycled materials and is printed with soy-based inks in a wind-powered facility. AND the products are made in the USA.

We received a pack of natural soy crayons and natural modeling dough to review. Of course, my little one wanted to dive right in, ripping the package open and getting down to some serious art business. It is always amazing to see a child's creativity and imagination at work-it's magical. And that is what Clementine Art is all about.

Clementine Art was started by Diana Mercer, a former teacher with over 20 years experience in education, arts education, and child development. She wanted to "create products that not only engaged children in an open-ended creative process, but that could also become an everyday part of healthy and creative lifestyle."

So what did we think of the products? Well, I had a hard time getting my little one to put them away and wash up for dinner. First, we opened the modeling dough, which comes in three colors-yellow, green, and red. This all natural dough is soft and pliable, tons of fun, and smells delicious.

When I opened the box of crayons, I wasn't sure what my daughter would think, but she really liked them. These soy crayons have a totally unique shape, that I absolutely love. My daughter tends to push hard when writing or drawing and she often breaks her crayons, even the larger triangular-shaped ones. These crayons are thick and durable, and are just the right shape to encourage writing. They don't have that "crayon" smell, and they don't come with paper wrapping, so you need not fuss about your kids peeling it away and leaving little pieces all over the house! Also, my daughter accidentally wrote on the carpet, so I got the opportunity to test and see that they wash fairly easily as well.

I would definitely recommend Clementine Art products. What I really love about Clementine Art is that the products are high quality and absolutely safe. We can't wait to try the other items in their line. I only wish that they had been available sooner.

I would love to see Clementine Art expands their product line to include a larger variety of colors. That would be the only slight downside for me right now. Still, we are looking forward to lots of safe playtime with Clementine Art. Kids love to explore, and often that means their little hands AND mouths coming into contact with paint, glue, crayons, whatever they are creating with. Why not choose the safest products available?

Be sure to check out www.clementineart.com to read more about all of their naturally fabulous products!

Here's to happy, healthy, budding little artists!

Btw Cleliac friends, these products are not all gluten-free, but I plan to blog about wheat-free products soon :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pretty Little Piggy!

It's that time of year. Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere, stores are stocking up their toy supplies, and parents will soon begin to scramble! So I thought I would post a few more of my favorite safe picks for kids. I'll start with this great stocking stuffer for girls!

Since we have a little princess in our midst, we have lots of fun with all the girly stuff. Like most little girls, our daughter loves to paint her nails, just like her mommy. Oh what fun! We have been using the more natural polishes for years now, but our newest find is the Best. We love
Piggy Paint!

I first discovered Piggy Paint in a magazine, and have since read review after review from fellow mommy bloggers. So I decided to order some a while back to see if it was truly as wonderful as I had heard...AND it is!

So what is so great about
Piggy Paint? Well, for starters, my little one loves anything "piggy". But in addition to that, this awesome nail polish is made from a water-based formula, and is totally free of all the harsh chemicals found in most other brands. The Piggy Paint site boasts that "Piggy Paint is specially formulated from God’s natural ingredients and dries to a hard, durable finish. There are no toxic chemicals; it’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone."

Piggy Paint truly is as natural as mud. It doesn't even have a hint of harsh odor...it actually smells a little like dirt. I was also surprised at how well the special polish remover works. And I am quite impressed with the beautiful colors Piggy Paint comes in. I liked them so much that I decided to give myself a piggy pedicure. I have been searching for the perfect red for some time, and now I've finally found it in "Sometimes Sweet"!

Now Piggy Paint is offering To Your Health readers 15% off! Just use the coupon code at checkout and you'll receive 15% off anything at
www.piggypaint.com , including sales items. They ship worldwide.

Spend over $25 and domestic shipping is FREE!

Here's to being a girl!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tweak the Treats!

Today seems to mark the official beginning of our season of special treats. Whether you participate in this holiday or not, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and more are right around the corner, and there will be goodies o' plenty at every turn. So, what does this healthy livin' mommy think about all of the sugary treats?

Well, tonight we will be attending an event at our church, and there will be plenty of candy involved. I cannot hope for my little one to say "no thank you" to all of those yummy sweets. Of course I want to limit her sugar intake, but I want her to enjoy herself. When it comes to special days like this, birthday parties, etc, I don't fret too much. It is only one day, and since I am doing my best all throughout the year to keep nutritious, healthy food in our diets, I can shrug my shoulders and let my kiddo have a good time.

But do I want my three-year-old consuming all of her giant candy loot? No way. So here are a few ideas to help parents put a lid on the candy intake!

  • Buy their candy! Let your kids choose a handful of their favorites and "buy" the rest from them. Set a price of 5 to 25 cents per piece of candy, depending on the size of their collection (and their age). Then let them put that toward a special toy or other item they've had their eye on. OR instead of using cash, buy them out with stickers or other fun stuff!

  • I read about one mom showing her kids "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and then allowing them to keep a portion of their candy, and offering the rest to "the Great Pumpkin" (in reality, it's daddy, who hauls the loot off to work on Monday morning!)

  • Make a trade! Let your kids keep a few pieces in their bag, and trade the others for some healthier options. Here are a few ideas for replacements that are not necessarily "healthy", but are a better alternative to the more common treats filled with hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors and colors.

1. Fill a small bag with trailmix, carob chips, raisins, pretzels, or one of their other favorite snack foods.

2. Yummy Earth organic lollypops (my daughter's favorite)

3. SunSpire's natural candy bars and Sundrops- colorful "m & m"-like chocolate treats

4. Cliff Kid Organic Twisted Fruit

5. Annie's Organic BunnyFruit Snacks

(can all be found at Whole Foods and other health food stores, and Amazon)

These are just a few ideas to make your holiday a little bit healthier, but just as SWEET!
Here's to your health!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Warm Cup of Healthy Brew

It is so nice to enjoy a hot cup of tea in the morning, or just before heading off to bed at night. I drink tea a bit less frequently since moving here to Hawaii, but with the weather cooling off in the next few months, my husband and I will be enjoying an evening ritual that we always look forward to this time of year. A warm mug in my hand, the smell of it brewing, the way it sooths as it goes down. Aaaah.

When it comes to tea, I prefer vanilla, chocolate...or mint. Yum. Though I enjoy tea as a treat, I also know the many benefits herbal teas offer. Recently I shared
my top immune boosters. Even when we do our best to prevent it, we all get sick from time to time. When I feel the twinge of a sore throat coming on, I know I can reach for Traditional Medicinals. I may take lots of Vitamin C and other things to help fight a cold, but nothing soothes my throat like Throat Coat, by Traditional Medicinals.

Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years. Medicinal use of herbal tinctures exists all over the world, in various cultures.
Traditional Medicinals offers a variety of herbal blends, specially formulated for specific needs. In addition to Throat Coat, they make several blends of teas to help promote health in areas like digestion, sleep, and mood. A great one for new mommies is Mother's Milk, which is highly recommended by midwives and lactation consultants, for promoting healthy breast milk production.

Traditional Medicinals is the leader in fair trade certified herbal teas. For over 34 years, they have been making herbal teas, blending the ancient art of traditional formulating with the most modern methods to ensure a consistently reliable product. Visit their official site to explore the variety of tea blends and other products offered. You can also find Traditional Medicinal teas at health food stores, Target, and Amazon.

Here's to healthy sipping!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Refund From Disney

Many of you have likely heard about this. I have received several emails about it, so I am posting it to be sure you are all informed. Disney is offering a refund on all Baby Einstein videos. According to Brandweek, "The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood alleged the offer is a result of a complaint that was filed with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Baby Einstein’s marketing claims. The CCFC filed the complaint in 2006, citing the fact that there is no credible evidence that screen media can educate infants. Soon after, Disney removed the educational claims from Baby Einstein products."

For more information on how to receive a refund, click here.

15% OFF New Clean Well Spray

Recently I told you all how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Clean Well products. I am especially fond of the all-natural hand sanitizer, which is free of harsh chemicals and won't dry out your hands. When it comes to busting germs, Clean Well is the absolute BEST choice for you and your family!

Clean Well now makes this awesome hand sanitizer in their dreamy scent, Orange Vanilla. I just ordered mine. I am so excited because I use this spray "umteen" times a day, and now it comes in my favorite fragrance. Yum!

Right now you can receive 15% off this fabulous new product. The offer lasts through October 30th. Click here for details.

Here's to your health!

BioPro Cell Chip Winner!!

Congratulations Jen, you have won a BioPro protective chip for your phone. Enjoy!

Thanks to all who entered. Be sure to check out:

"EnviroBlox Giveaway"-ends 11/20

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Enviro BLOX Giveaway!!

Remember those great pics I posted of my husband's creations with Magic Nuudles? We have had so much fun with these...especially my other child, the hubby! He is quite talented when it comes to this kind of stuff. I might stick few together and call it a bracelet, while he is putting the finishing touches on an intricate design that just puts mine to shame.

Magic Nuudles are now called EnviroBLOX to better reflect the product. These natural building blocks are lots of fun and best of all, safe for kids and the environment. EnviroBLOX are proudly made in the USA, from a patented, high-cellulose cornstarch formulation. They are 100% bio-degradable (disappear under running water), free of petrochemicals, and are colored with safe, food-grade dyes. They are even harmless if chewed or sucked on! They simply dissolve. Now that is kid-friendly!

Want to test your skills with these eco-friendly blox? The folks over at Candaco are generously giving a Super-Tub Building Set of EnviroBLOX filled with more than 880 Enviro BLOX to one of my readers!


This giveaway is only available to To Your Health followers, so if you haven't signed up to follow, please do so first. New followers will automatically receive one extra entry for joining!!!

Initial entry: Visit the Cadaco site, then leave me a comment saying which other products interest you (in addition to the EnviroBLOX). This is mandatory for other entries to count :)

Extra entry: Follow me on twitter
Extra entry: Become a fan on facebook
Extra entry: Blog about this giveaway
Extra entry: Refer a friend to To Your Health!

~Please leave a separate comment for each entry. If you do not have a blog, please leave an email address so you can be notified if you have won!

**Contest ends Friday, November 20, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. Hawaii time. Open to USA and Canada residents. Winner will be randomly selected by third party and will have 72 hours to respond.

Here's to happy, healthy playtime!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Wisdom

If you're looking for Weekend Wisdom, I'm hosting it here on my family blog.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's In Your Bottled Water?

My husband took some much-needed time off from work this week, so we'll be spending lots of time hangin' out as a family. We're off to the beach! So for now I will leave you with some information on another interesting documentary-click below to read more about it and be sure to watch the trailer.

Don't Drink the (Bottled) Water

Monday, October 19, 2009

Carob Pudding With Sprinkles!

I adapted this recipe for raw pudding from one I found on Ani Phyo's site. My daughter said it wasn't sweet enough, so after a little tweaking, I created a pudding to suit her little pallet. This pudding can be made with carob chips, carob powder, or raw cocoa powder. The cashews are a great source of fiber, protein, and other nutritents, such as copper and magnesium.

My little one likes it topped with colorful sprinkles. We choose Let's Do... Sprinkelz. They are gluten free, contain no artificial ingredients, and are colored naturally with extracts of seeds, vegetables, or fruits. They are delicious. Who doesn't love sprinkles?!

I top mine with finely shredded organic coconut and carob chips. The consistency of this pudding reminds me of frosting. This would be a great and healthy alternative for those with lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or a vegan lifestyle. I bet it would be great on vanilla cupcakes. I'll have to try it out and let you know!

Carob Pudding

1 cup raw organic cashews
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pitted semi soft dates
1 tbs agave nectar
1/2 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs carob chips, carob powder, or raw cocoa powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth.
That's it. Easy, yummy, healthy. The trickiest part is getting every last bit out of your blender. For this part,use a rubber spatula or spoon. Serve chilled with your favorite toppings.

~Turn this recipe into a carob-coconut pudding by simply adding a little more coconut oil to enhance the coconut flavor~

*High speed blender recommended. For best results, try the Vita Mix.

Here's to sweet...and healthy treats!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Wisdom

It's Friday night. I am posting a bit late...the week goes by so quickly! When it comes to wisdom, there is no better source than the infallible Word of God. So I look to the Bible daily, for wisdom, for hope, for truth.

This week I quote a passage from the book of John, chapter 6, verse 31 (also found in Matthew 7:12). We have all heard this quoted many times. The "Golden Rule" existed before Christ, in the rabbinic writings and also in other religions. All other versions cast the rule as a negative command, like Rabbi Hiilel's version, "What is hateful to yourself do not to someone else."
But Jesus made it a positive command, saying,

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Now the meaning of the saying comes to life, and we see this one command sum up the whole gist of the ethical principles provided in the Commandments. We see that we ought not to just avoid hating or hurting one another, but instead be actively loving one another.

Have some wisdom to share? Post your link below. Be sure to post the permalink to your post and not the general link to your blog. Have a great a healthy weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cell Chip GIVEAWAY!!!

The BioPro GIVEAWAY ends soon! If you haven't already entered, click here. Be sure to leave a comment after entering!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sneaky Spinach & Olive Pizza

We are pretty lucky to have a kid that actually likes vegetables. But like any toddler, she is selective about which ones she will eat and how often she'll partake. Green veggies are tricky. I often hide them in her food and I like to sneak them in when she's really hungry. If she is gobbling up her meal, she doesn't usually take time to dissect what I've put in front of her!

One of my little one's favorites is pizza. She loves to help me assemble mini pizzas, just the right size for little hands. I like to keep things simple most of the time. For a quick lunch or dinner, I can easily throw these together with whatever ingredients I have handy. Here is a recipe for quick and easy, healthy kid pizza.

Sneaky Spinach and Olive Pizza

Ezekiel Sprouted whole grain hamburger buns or English muffins
Organic ketchup (or marinara sauce)
Organic shredded cheese or cheese substitute
Organic baby spinach leaves
Sliced olives (We like Santa Barbara Olive Co.-no chemical preservatives)

1. Chop the baby spinach into very tiny pieces.
2. Spread about 1 tsp chopped spinach on half a bun or muffin.
3. Top with desired amount of ketcup or marinara.
4. Sprinkle plenty of cheese to fully cover any trace of green.
5. Add sliced olives
6. Bake or broil until cheese melts and bread browns.
7. Slice in half or quarters.

Voila'! Super easy. Quite a healthy little pizza. Use whatever ingredients you've got. Sometimes we add sliced turkey meat from the deli. The key is to use something your kid(s) really enjoys to distract from the spinach. You may have guessed that my Phoebe loves olives. She would eat a whole can if I let her.

Here's to healthy kids!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekend Wisdom

It's Friday! Time for Weekend Wisdom. Several years ago, my husband and I received a gift subscription to Guideposts magazine. Our dear friends continue to renew our subscription every year for Christmas.

Guideposts magazine is an interfaith magazine, started by Norman Vincent Peale, author of the best seller, The Power of Positive Thinking. I really enjoy having a copy of Guideposts arrive every month. I can take it along to the beach, or read it while waiting for appointment at the dentist. I love reading so many inspirational stories from people of all walks of life. The stories are short, so it is easy to squeeze in a little inspiration just about anywhere. I used to keep one handy in the car, to read in various parking lots. Ah, those desperate days of early mommyhood, when my little one really needed a nap, but would only sleep if we hit the road!

One of my favorite bits in
Guideposts is a section called, "The Up Side". It is a collection of quotes-some sent in by readers, others taken from famous authors, doctors, reverends, etc. These quotes are great for getting a quick dose of inspiration or perspective for the day.

Here is a simple little quote I liked from August's issue:

"Worry often gives a small thing a great shadow."

-Swedish proverb submitted by Guideposts Intern Andrea Craig of New York, New York.

Now it's your turn! Post a little Weekend Wisdom on your blog and link back here.

*To participate:
1. Write your post-be sure to link back to this post so your readers can join in!
2. Stop by To Your Health and add your link-add the permalink to the specific blog post, not the general link to your blog.

*If you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by posting a comment.

Here's to your health!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Got Aches and Pains?

(Sigh) It is so good to finally sit down and relax! Running errands around town, taking care of a home, and keeping up with one very busy three-year-old, I feel like I hardly ever sit during the day. Somehow I manage to squeeze in a bit of Pilates, dance, running, and other fitness into the mix. Oh yeah, and a few massage clients here and there.

It seems now that my little one is becoming a bit more independent, I have a smidge more freedom to enjoy the things I love, like ballet class or Pilates...but I find myself adding more and more into my daily routine. And the laundry still has my name on it! With all of this activity, my muscles can feel pretty achy and sore.

I cannot get a massage every night (wouldn't that be nice?). Instead, I look forward to my evening ritual of taking a nice, hot bath. My quick remedy for sore muscles? I add a cup of good old-fashioned Epsom salt! You can find Epsom salt pretty much anywhere-Target, your local grocery store, or drug store. Epsom salt, or hydrated magnesium sulfate, is a natural anti-inflammatory, bringing a soothing relief to mild soreness, swelling, and bruises.

Another product I use is Arnica cream. Arnica is a natural analgesic. You can rub the cream directly into sore muscles, bruises, and minor sprains for relief. It is a great one for what I like to call "mouse arm"-the result of hours of clicking away on the computer mouse. My forearm gets pretty sore if I am at my keyboard or scrolling with the mouse for long periods of time.

Two great choices for Arnica cream are Arnicare and Traumeel. Both contain the homeopathic ingredient, Arnica montana. Generations of athletes, trainers, and others have benefited from the relief Arnica provides. Doctors and pharmacists recommend it as a safe and natural remedy for pain relief. Arnica is also available as an oral homeopathic medicine. You can find Arnica creams, gels, or oral medicine in health food stores or online.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quick Beauty Tip

I like my skin to have a nice, healthy glow, but I never want it to look oily or "shiny". Every lady knows that restrooms are not just a place of rest. Women congregate in the ladies' room to check out their hair, reapply their lipgloss...and essentially, to "powder their noses".

A while back, cosmetic companies came out with blotting tissues, little mini tissues to absorb excess oil on the skin. A lot of companies make them, but here is a little trick I discovered several years ago while at my chiropractor's office. Many of you may already know this, but here it is just in case you haven't heard this one.

The chiropractor was just finishing up with me. I sat up from my face-down position on the table and realized that the sanitary paper on the table had an oily imprint of my face in it. A few days later, while in a public restroom, I noted that the toilet seat covers were made of this same paper. Aha! You know where I am going with this...blotting paper. FREE blotting paper!

Next time you are in a restroom, give it a try. It works! Some may be too germaphobic for this one..but I thought I'd share it anyway. Of course, it is best to avoid the first few papers toward the front of the stack! So there you have it, a quick and frugal beauty tip for the week.

I still like to keep blotting tissues readily available in my purse. When choosing a brand, be sure to check the ingredients before you buy. Stay away from those with added chemicals or talc. The most absorbant ones I have tried are Clinique's pore minimizer oil-blotting sheets. I was pleasantly surprised recently when I tried them. There are no added chemicals, they are very absorbant, and they don't leave any powdery residue. Plus, they are a bit more convenient than running to the nearest powder room!

Interesting fact:
The term powder room dates back to the early 18th century, when it was used to refer to a closet-sized room where people went to have their wigs repowdered. The expression carried through to Victorian times, when any reference to personal bodily functions was considered indelicate. Ladies of the era were embarrassed to speak of such things and would excuse themselves from mixed company to go to “powder their noses.” In fact, many women still use refer to a public ladies’ room as a powder room. (found on http://www.wisegeek.com/)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weekend Wisdom

I got this in an email the other day. Simple, yet profoundly wise words from a woman who has been around long enough to know a few things. Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you're sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age before you wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow,
but it's still a gift.

Well, I think this just about covers it all! But I would love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite quote or words of wisdom to share? I just can't help but want to get in on the blog party fun. So at the end of each week, To Your Health will be hosting Weekend Wisdom.

Stop by and share some wise ole' words. Did you learn something new this week? Did you learn a lesson the "hard way"? Or better yet, did your kids say something that had you laughing a lot...and taking yourself a whole lot less seriously? Write a quick post about it and share it here. Share a quote, a personal story, whatever you'd like. Since family time is precious, Weekend Wisdom will begin Friday and go through the weekend. Stop by anytime to join in and post your link! And please, do link back to To Your Health somewhere in your post :)

*To participate in the blog party:

1. Write your post-be sure to link back to the party so your readers can join in!

2. Stop by To Your Health and add your link-add the permalink to the specific blog post, not the general link to your blog.

*If you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by posting a comment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gluten Free Carrot Muffins

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Nanci, who has known me almost as long as my own sister. I have great memories of sleeping over at Nanci's house as a kid. We started a little tradition of baking a carrot cake every time I came over. Her mom always had a Betty Crocker cake mix stocked in her pantry. We'd get the mix all ready and then stir in a can of chopped pineapple. I remember it being moist and delicious-especially the whipped cream frosting!

When I realized I was hyperglycemic, I gave up flour, refined sugars, and starchy foods. I had pretty much given up on the idea of baking...until I stumbled upon Elana's Pantry, a wonderful gluten-free cooking blog. I don't have a gluten alergy, but the recipes on Elana's blog are a great match for me. She uses coconut flour and almond flour, which are high-fiber flours that are low in digestible carbs. AND her sweeteners of choice are low-glycemic as well.

Last night I had a carrot cake craving, so I made carrot muffins, one of my favorite recipes from Elana's blog. I have made a few changes to her recipe to make it a bit more like the carrot cake I grew up loving. What I love most about this recipe is that it is healthy. First of all, I recommend everything coconut-coconut water, coconut oil, coconut flour...more on this later. Coconut flour is high fiber, high protein, and gluten free (click here to find out what makes this flour so special). The carrots are a great source of the antioxidant betacarotene, which helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart attacks and cataracts. And the nuts add even more protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Coconut flour is a bit tricky to bake with and I don't have much time to experiment. Lucky for me, Elana has already done all the work. Here is my adaptation of her muffin recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Gluten Free Carrot Muffins

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
6 eggs
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar (can also be substituted with yacon syrup)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups carrots, grated
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (I like to mix macadamias and pecans)
1/3 cup "macaroon" coconut (very finely shredded)
3/4 cup canned or fresh crushed pineapple

1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg
2. In a large bowl, blend together eggs, oil, agave and vanilla
3. Blend dry ingredients into wet, then fold in carrots, nuts, coconut, and pineapple
4. Grease a muffin tin with grapeseed oil and then dust with coconut flour
5. Pour batter into each greased muffin cup about 3/4 full
6. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes
7. Cool and serve

(makes about 16 muffins)

*You may notice that I have doubled the ingredients in Elana's recipe and I am not calling these "mini muffins". With all of the added ingredients in my version, I recommend using a regular size muffin tin-and if you use a silicon muffin mold, you can skip the greasing part. I have one and I love it. Just let the muffins cool, and they pop right out!

I have mostly given up dairy, but I just cannot resist topping these delicious muffins off with Elana's recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting!
Cream Cheese Frosting

¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup cream cheese
¼ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Whip heavy cream until stiff
2. In a separate larger bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then blend in agave and vanilla
3. With a rubber spatula, gently blend whip cream into cream cheese mixture

*My vegan readers may enjoy Elana's vegan Coconut Cream Frosting. It is very yummy, but a bit of a challenge to make in warmer climates.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Facts on SLS

There has been a lot of talk about dangerous chemicals in our every day products. I have made note of several here on this blog. One of these ingredients is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (also Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). I put it on my list of ingredients to avoid, but I have to say that I wondered about this one. A lot of the natural products I used in the past contained this ingredient and listed the source as "Coconut Derived".

So what is the deal with SLS anyway? Well, it seems that there has been a lot of widespread misinformation out there about this particular ingredient. As a result, many companies who have been using small percentages of coconut-derived SLS have reformulated their products. Have they done this because it is SO dangerous? Not so much. All the hype about SLS has proven to be a distraction, thus hindering sales for some very wonderful, natural companies.

Read what Dr. Andy Weil has to say about it
here. I am officially taking naturally-derived, coconut-based SLS off my list of things to avoid at all cost. Of course, if I don't know the source, I absolutely avoid it. There are some very dangerous chemicals in products to be concerned about, like Triclosan and benzalkonium chloride to name only a couple. Remember to reference the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database if there is an ingredient you want more information about. Get the facts. Know what's in your products. Here's to your health!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Your Cell Phone Protected?

When I consider the techie age we live in, this may be my most important and most relevant post so far. I will be publishing several posts about every day toxins and this first one is all around us. If you haven't heard the term "Electropollution", don't be surprised. It is not widely talked about, but it is a major threat that can have a devastating effect on our health and wellness and may increase our risk for illness and disease over time.

Electropollution is the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Frequencies (EMF) emitted from a number of sources. With every new wireless gadget on our "must have" list-cell phones, cordless phones, iPods, PDAs, Bluetooth, etc-our amount of exposure to this Electropollution increases. It's unavoidable. I know very few people who don't own a cell phone, and well, if you are reading this post, you use a computer.

Many medical experts have called Electropollution the "greatest health risk of the 21st Century". So what can we do to protect ourselves? I have been using products by a company called BioPro Technology for some time now. I was noticing that I didn't feel well when on the computer or cell phone for more than 45 minutes or so. My chiropractor recommended BioPro products as a solution. I noticed the difference right away. I no longer get headaches, major neck pain and fatigue when on the computer or the phone.

Here are a few important facts I pulled from a BioPro brochure:
  • Talking 500 minutes per month on a cell phone increases the probability of brain cancer by 140%. Source: Wireless Technology
  • Spanish scientists have discovered that a cell phone call lasting two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child's brain for up to one hour afterwards. Source: Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute
  • EMF is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen under standards established by the World Health Organization's Agency for Cancer Research. The chemicals DDT and lead are also Group 2B carcinogens. Source: National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
  • People can suffer nausea, headaches and muscle pain when exposed to EMF waves from mobile phones, electricity pylons and computer screens. Source: Health Protection Agency, Britain

  • One of the newest, most pervasive stressors is now Electropollution. Medical researchers estimate that 90% of all illness and disease is stress-related. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I see kids frequently using cell phones at younger and younger ages. Childrens brains are still developing, leaving them at even greater risk than we are. Cell phones haven't been around long enough for long term studies to be conducted, but I can only imagine what future studies may reveal when scientists look at the next generation of adults who have been using cell phones and other wireless devices since a young age. I am at ease with letting my little one chat with her Grammy on my cell phone, knowing that it is protected.

With this threat so pervasive, none of us should be unprotected! I truly believe the technology BioPro offers is highly effective and absolutely essential for the techie age we live in. I have seen the images of a brain scan taken with and without this protection and I was blown away. (These images are copyright protected, therefore could not be posted here). These products are effective, easy to use, and very affordable.

Okay, here's the cool thing. I am doing my very first GIVEAWAY!!! One lucky reader will win a FREE cell phone chip by BioPro, more than $40 value! Entering is easy.

Mandatory ENTRY: Go to the BioPro website and click on the "learn more" links on the home page. Come back here and post a comment.

EXTRA ENTRIES: (Leave a comment for each)
**Become a follower of To Your Health (2 extra entries)
**Become a fan on Facebook (1 extra entry)
**Follow me on Twitter (1 extra entry)
***Tell three nonblogger friends about this giveaway (2 extra entries)
***Blog about this giveaway (3 extra entries)

This giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada. Contest ends October 25th at midnight, Hawaii time. Winner will be chosen at random by third party on October 26th. Winner must respond within 72 hours of reveal.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Give Yourself a Boost

When you have little ones, it seems like every season is cold and flu season. Kids touch all kinds of stuff and stick their fingers in their noses, rub their eyes, or worse, put their hands in their mouths. We cannot always be there to insist they wash their hands or remind them to "STOP IT" with the nose picking and such. That is why I have an arsenal of immune boosters and defense in my cupboard. Here are a few items I keep on hand year round.

Vitamin C Powder-Many vitamins contain vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. This is a synthetic Vitamin C that can actually deplete the body and possibly cause DNA/RNA damage. Research shows that people with chronic degenerative diseases have low levels of Vitamin C in their blood throughout the day. It also shows strong levels of C in individuals with little signs of degeneration. Health Force Nutritionals Truly Natural Vitamin C is a whole-food C made from Acerola Cherries. It is pure, high potency, giving your body the full benefits of Vitamin C to ward off illness. I used to get cold sores from time to time during times of stress or when I travelled. Since starting a daily dose of this powerful Vitamin C powder, the cold sores have disappeared and my immune system is strong.

Immunity Take Care by
NewChapter-these highly concentrated elderberry lozenges are like no other elderberry source I've found. Elderberry is naturally anti-viral. This special formulation of the full-spectrum of the elderberry herb have been proven in the lab, to keep viruses from proliferating and mutating in the body. I always keep these in stock. We take them regularly during flu season and any time one of us has symptoms of coming down with a bug. If I get even a hint of a sore throat, I immediately begin taking these twice daily. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt something coming on, and had symptoms disappear after a couple days of taking these lozenges. They really work! And they are yummy too!!

Mushroom extracts-We use a liquid supplement called Myco-Immune by Thorne Research. We started using this years ago when our chiropractor recommended it. Who would have thought to use fungi to kill viruses! Actually, there has been extensive research lately that shows just how powerful these mushroom extracts are. Now, I am not going to lie and say that this tastes great. My husband has deemed it "shot of nastiness". It has a bit of a strong flavor. But we are more than willing to endure the yucky taste for a few seconds, given the amazing results. When symptoms of an illness arise, this is another one we immediately reach for. Just a few drops a couple times a day is all it takes!

So there you have it-my top three picks for cold and flu season. I never travel without them! Obviously, it is important to eat well, exercise, and get good rest to help keep your immune system going strong. With our busy lives and the millions of germs out there waiting, we can all use a little boost. Keep these three ready to go and you'll be prepared. Always consult your doctor before giving new supplements to little ones. Our daughter takes all of these in smaller doses. Stay tuned for more immunity tips. Here's to your health!
*Find all of these supplements and more in my Amazon store!