Thursday, August 29, 2013

Coffee Kombucha

Coffee kombucha! Could there be a better combination? On a side note, I must be talking about kombucha a lot because my 17 month old has started saying "bucha, bucha, bucha". So, moving on with my story, I decided to take my beloved SCOBY for a dive into the world of coffee to see how she would like it....and guess what? She loves it!

For those unfamiliar, coffee kombucha is just as easy to make as tea kombucha. Just substitute coffee for your tea. A few recommendations I have are these:

  • Add at least 20 Tbsp of coffee while brewing your coffee for your kombucha. At least! More is ok too, but maybe no more than 25 Tbsp or it might start getting vinegary. 
  • Caffeinated coffee of course! Decaf will not work.
  • For an extra health benefit, you can use a low acidic coffee.
  • Taste test it early, maybe around 4 days just to see how much longer you want it to go. 
  • I find it WAY easier to make kombucha with a one gallon glass container with a spigot. This makes it a lot easier to taste test it and also to pour into mason jars when done. Also great for a continuous brew.  
  • Use organic sugar, one cup. This is pretty elementary though. 
One awesome thing I learned about coffee kombucha is how good it is for you! Think of the benefits of regular kombucha like probiotics, energy, fights disease, etc. Now think about your love for coffee. And what is the main problem with coffee? It is acidic! So here is the cool thing. Because kombucha is alkaline, it helps to level out the acidity in your coffee! Making it more alkaline. Woohoo!

So here is what I made with my first cup of coffee kombucha:


Mocha Coffee Komucha

I wanted a supercharged, superfood coffee and I think I have created it with this.

1 cup of 5 day old coffee kombucha (longer brewed better but I couldn't wait)
2 Tbsp cacao paste
3 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 Tbsp royal jelly
1/4 tsp medicinal mushroom powder (chaga, cordyceps, reishi)
Ice

Blend everything together with your Blendtec or Vitamix and enjoy!

Coffee Kombucha Float- just add a non dairy chocolate or vanilla ice cream with your coffee kombucha

What are your favorite things to add or make with kombucha???


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Headaches: Seeking relief? Here are some natural options


Ever have a headache so bad you just want to get away from everything and lay alone in a lavender field? Well that's me above, doing just that on our recent trip to Maui. I am someone who used to get BAD migraines a few times a week. Since changing over to vegetarianism, I've noticed a big change. I rarely get headaches anymore. Maybe I'll get one migraine every few months. I decided I really needed to find a way to get rid of these headaches without just popping an Advil. I hate being debilitated in any way, and it's really hard to have headaches that are so horrible that you can't even function properly. Especially when you have a child you have to care for. Below are the things I have found to help me when I have a headache coming on. 

First thing I like to try, and sometimes all it takes, is and ice pack or cold towel on my forehead & back of neck. If I do this IMMEDIATELY when I feel a headache coming on, sometimes this is enough to prevent the headache from getting worse and makes it go away completely.

Next on the list is peppermint essential oil. Simply mix a drop of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil or your choice of carrier oil. Apply this mixture directly to your temples. Inhaling the smell of peppermint seems to really help my headaches.

Hydrate! This is important and often overlooked when suffering from a headache. Hydration is essential to get rid of headaches. Drink water, first and for most, but you can also hydrate with coconut water (fresh preferably) or watermelon/cucumber juice.

Take an epsom salt bath aka magnesium sulfate bath. What this does is restore your magnesium levels. ALOT of people suffer headaches simply because their magnesium levels are low. I found that the easiest way to restore my magnesium fast is through an epsom salt bath. They also sell magnesium flakes, but epsom is way cheaper. It's around a dollar for a box! You can also opt for taking a cal/mag supplement, which is nice because that also helps with anxiety! Just make sure not to OD on it, because you CAN OD on magnesium. 

Foot massages can really help and let's be honest, does anyone really not like a foot massage? Pay close attention to the tips of your toes, as those are the pressure points that help with headaches. If you can't get someone to give you a foot massage, then you can always do this yourself!

White willow bark in the form of a tea or tincture is beneficial. White willow bark is basically the original ibuprofen aka Advil. It contains a chemical in it called salicin which is similar to Advil, but only better because it is natural! (If you live in Hawaii and need some of this, just let me know because I have a ton.)

Earthing can also help with headaches. Earthing aka grounding is basically a term used for being in direct contact with the earth. This means touching the ground (dirt, sand, grass) with your skin. Walk barefoot! Lay in the grass with at least some of your skin exposed to it (feet, legs, hands, head, naked if you prefer). You can also purchase an earthing mat, if you live somewhere where it is really hard to be in contact with the earth like a big city. This helps on so many levels. It will relieve stress, which is a big cause of headaches. I recommend reading the book Earthing for more info. 

Lastly, Rest. If your schedule allows it, take a quick nap! This will relax your body and hopefully get rid of your headache. 

Do any of you have any natural headache remedies that work for you?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Waldorf Approach For My One Year Old

Before I had Ocean, I knew that I wanted to take a different type of approach when it came to raising her. I knew I wanted to do a lot of attachment parent type stuff. I knew that I wanted to raise her in a Godly environment. Also, after a lot of reading, I knew that I wanted to homeschool her in an Unschooling/Waldorf type of way. I love most everything about the Waldorf way of learning, ESPECIALLY for young children. 

Waldorf learning, in the early years, "focuses on providing practical, hands-on activities and environments that encourage creative play." After my daughter was born, I was trying to research online what kind of things I could do with a baby that would start her off in the Waldorf ways of doing thins. I couldn't find a whole lot online for babies under 2, so I ended up buying a few books. You Are Your Child's First Teacher is a good one. Below I will describe what I learned from reading and experience thus far. 

When your baby is under the age of 6 months, mostly all you have to worry about is their sense of touch, hearing and soon after, their sense of sight. Consider all your baby has known up until the point of birth such as warmth, darkness, security, closeness to mother, sounds of mother's heartbeat and voice, etc. We are out child's guardians after birth. We are the only ones who choose what they are exposed to and when. The importance of touching and holding your baby often, talking with him or her and responding quickly to cries is crucial. Stimulation of the senses is so important for development. 

The thing they are most sensitive to, especially under 6 months I think, is touch. As much skin to skin contact is so important for so many reasons. Investing in a good baby carrier is a great idea. I still carry my daughter in an Ergo at 14 months, but when she was under 6 months I loved my Moby Wrap. choose fabric that is soft, warm and pleasurable to the skin. Fabric such as cotton, wool & silk! Choosing to cloth diaper is great because it allows your baby to not have to feel synthetic disposable diapers against their skin, but rather cotton or bamboo for instance. Wool soaker are amazing for nighttime and heavy wetter. They are soft and cozy against your babies skin. 


Co-sleeping is great for all the senses! For your baby to know you are near through touch, sight and hearing. Having a nice soft material to sleep on is great for their sense of touch and will most likely promote a more restful and relaxed slumber. If you do not co-sleep, having a bassinet close to your bed is another great option. The nice thing about a bassinet, is being able to drap some colored silk over it (blue and pink is the best combination). This is great for their sensitive sense of sight and creates a soft ligjt for them upon waking. Also great for their sense of touch is having them wear (especially at night and naps) natural fabrics such as organic cotton or wool if you live in colder areas. 

For your child, your voice is the number one best thing for them to hear. They love your voice. It's what they are used to. Nothing can beat your voice, whether you are talking or singing or humming, they love it. No fancy-light-up-music-playing-night-light devise can replace the sound of your voice to your baby. Paying attention to the quality of sounds that you let your baby hear can really be beneficial to them later in life. If you wish to play music for them on your ipod, chose something gentle and soft like harp, pentatonic chimes or flute.


Once they get a little older and start to sit up and crawl, we start to get into toys. They honestly do not need a whole lot at first! Something I heard said before, which I loved, was when looking for toys consider the following: 
Is it beautiful?
Does it feel good?
Does it leave room for imagination?
Will it inspire imitative play?
These are the things to look for when considering what toys to buy. 

Some great things to start off with are a few playsilks, a lovely prism (to hang in a window or door where it will catch light and cast rainbows across your room), a few wool balls, organic cotton teething toys (if they are starting to teeth), a rocking chair for you, a harp (if you cannot afford this like me, your can opt for listening to the celtic harp station on Pandora), a mirror, water/sand toys (these do not HAVE to be natural because it is harder to find, but if you can find natural items even better) & a basket full of safe items they can explore (driftwood, large shells, a wooden spoon, silk pieces, a little mirror, pieces of finger knit wool yarn, etc).



Rainbows on the floor from her prism in the window.



Sensory time with her shell, driftwood, wooden spoon & bowl.


Playing with her playsilk


Once they get a little older, I'd say at least a year old, you can start art with them! I was very eager to start this early, but there really is only so much you can do before they are a year old. Before 1, you can definitely start with finger painting. Just do one color at a time or introduce simply the primary colors to them only. 

Once they are around one, you can invest in some beeswax crayons, a wooden personal sized chalk board, natural paints & brushes & an easel if you wish (Ocean got hers from Opa for her birthday.) Ocean is JUST NOW learning what it is to color ON the paper and she is just hitting 14 months. Before this, she would just put whatever I gave her in her mouth. I did make her some natural finger paint and natural play dough, before she was one, with colorings like spirulina & beetroot powder so that they could be edible. 




Playing in her sandbox I made her.


Finger painting with homemade paint.


Imitative play is something important in Waldorf learning. Kids love to imitate whatever they see their parents do, and this is STRONGLY encouraged. This also makes it essential that you be a good role model. If you are cooking a lot in the kitchen and they like to watch you cook, then get them a little kitchen set! If you can't afford one, simply give them some pots and pans so that they can imitate what they see you doing. You can even make a simple kitchen oven top out of cardboard and a marker! If you are constantly sweeping and mopping and they see you doing it, get them their own little mop and broom set! Easy as that! 


Ocean on her wool rug that she got from Papa for her birthday, playing with her wooden vegetables.

This is a wool rug I found for $7, a piece of driftwood used for a playsilk hanger, a wooden piano I got for free at a garage sale & and organic Waldorf doll. 

A few other things I feel like I should mention are rhythm & nature . These are important in Waldorf learning. Rhythm is important for any child. I haven't incorporated this a whole lot yet, but I am slowly trying to add more rhythm to our days. I try to make sure that we do some things every day at around the same time, like visiting the park or playing outside in sandbox or water, bathing before bed, singing a special bedtime song while getting ready for bed, etc. Doing little things like that daily, as a routine, adds much needed rhythm to your child's life. Start small. Simplify your day. Try to at least do your routines such as meals, nap times & bedtime around the same time and in the same way everyday. All the gaps of time in between is when you can change it up and add in whatever fun stuff you want to do. 



Nature is important, not only for Waldorf education, but for all education. At least it should be. Being outside in nature and using natural elements as much as possible is not only great, it's free! Using natural elements like rocks, sticks, mud, sand, tree stumps, driftwood, grass, flowers, you get the idea, is great for their strong sense of touch at their age right now. It lets them feel different textures and get to know what smooth is and what rough feels like. It's also great for their sense of smell to be outside in nature, learning about different smells. (Another things I like to do, is bring some natural elements inside for Ocean to explore while listening to her harp Pandora station and burning some pleasant essential oils like orange, vanilla & lavender.) Once they get a little more into art there is SO much fun things you can do that involve nature and art, like painting with flowers for instance!


"Your soul needs the wild." -Luke 5:16

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Aloe Superfood Salad


Hello everyone! Sorry for the long absence. I've been busy with my amazing child :) Ocean is ALMOST 14 months old! How fast time flies when you are in love & enjoying life! I am so thankful to be able to spend every moment with her. This picture above was her at the park.


To all my vegan friends on here, I just wanted to let you know that I have gone back to eating vegetarian. I still eat mainly raw vegan most of the time, but since my pregnancy I have added in bee products, grass-fed organic ghee, occasional grass-fed organic humanely raised cheese & eggs only from my moms hens (who she raised very humanely and with organic feed only). 

I made this amazing salad for lunch today and just had to share it with you all!

Superfood Cleansing Refreshing Salad 

Two spears of fresh aloe (with clear jell removed)
One organic mango
One organic cucumber
One organic tomato
One organic avocado
Juice from one honey tangerine
Coconut oil (optional)
Bee pollen (optional)
Fresh stevia leaves
Fresh spearmint leaves

Cut all veggies & fruit into cubes. Chop stevia and spearmint leaves. Combine all ingredients and pour juice of one tangerine on top. Finish off with bee pollen. 

Variations:
*If you desire a sweeter flavor you can add more stevia leaves, more tangerine juice or a little coconut palm sugar or raw honey. 
*If you wish for less sweet, you can add some lemon or lime juice with basil leaves & cut out the mango.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Love Tonic & Peanut Butter Cacao Cookies



Fresh juice.


Egg fruit. Tastes so good! Almost exactly like a sweet potato, except...fruity.




Egg fruit smoothies with organic egg fruit (obviously), organic apple bananas, organic dates, organic moringa leaves, organic coconut milk, organic flax seeds, organic hemp seeds, organic chia seeds (ok, everything else is organic too), hemp oil, wheatgrass powder, beetroot powder, spiraling, kelp, hawthorn berries & nettles.




Cashew butter & apples.


One extra large coconut I foraged from a neighbors house.




Ocean & I earthing outside a coffee shop.


Walking along the beach.


Tasty lunch of barley, miso, spinach, kale, carrots, agave, radish, soybeans, garlic, ginger, cranberries, hijiki & ACV.




Ocean having fun and eating clovers at the park.


Almost raw peanut butter cacao cookies:
Organic peanut butter (substitute for raw almond butter, this is just what I had on hand)
Pecans (substitute for any raw nuts)
Organic raw cacao powder
Organic raw coconut oil
Organic raw suma root
Organic raw hemp seeds
Organic raw agave

Sooooo good! Just mix, freeze, and eat! Taste like peanut butter cups.



Bedtime Love Tonic:

Purified water
Red rooibos tea
Cacao powder
He shou wu
Rose hips
Cacao butter
Suma Root
Cinnamon powder
Vanilla bean
Lucuma powder
& Raw honey

Make a strong tea with your water, rooibos, he shot wu & rose hips. Once done, add all ingredients to your blender. Blend, drink & fall in love! <3 i="">

*Variations- add maca, shatavari or any other love herb as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A teething baby


Today, I wanted to talk about teething! It's such an exciting time for us parents, but not so exciting for our babies. I always wonder how much cutting a tooth hurts? When I think about how much it hurts when I have tooth pain, I can't imagine being a baby, not being able to communicate while being in that kind of pain! The best we can do is try to figure out what works best to ease whatever pain our babies are in. These are the things that work for my baby.
Here is a pile of some of the things I use for Ocean's teething pains. In it, we have homemade teething oil, chamomilla homeopathic pills, teething necklace, organic teething toys, & ice cubes!

Teething Oil & Homeopathic Pills

I tend not to use homeopathic pills that have a combination of things in them, such as the Hyland's Teething Tablets (although I have heard from many people that they work great.) So far, I have had great success with straight up chamomilla pills. I only use these if she seems to be in a lot of pain, fussing and crying. The teething oil, on the other hand, can be used often and as needed for pain. I make mostly all my own "medicine", so I made Ocean's teething oil as well. I wanted it to be something that I was completely ok with the list of ingredients. (I would also like to add, that my daughter is exclusively breastfed, so this is fine for EBF babies.) The ingredients in this oil are completely safe if made correctly. (As always, with everything, first talk to your naturopath about anything you plan to give your baby and ALWAYS test on yourself first before giving anything to your baby). 

Teething Oil

*Note: In the above picture, I have Aura Cacia brand Clove oil. Do NOT use this oil in this recipe or on anything you plan to take internally. I just took a picture with this oil, because I was out of my doTERRA oil. Only use FOOD GRADE essential oils for internal use. The two brands I recommend are doTERRA & Young Living, because both sell food grade oils. You will need:

Unrefined, organic virgin coconut oil
Food grade clove oil
Food grade vegetable glycerin

To purchase my teething oil, visit my Facebook page Siren's Apothecary Shop.


Teething Toys

Under the Nile has a bunch of great organic toys to choose from! Ocean's two favorites were in the wash at the time of this picture which are the organic green bean and organic carrot. She loves those best because they fit best in her little hands and mouth. 

Teething Necklaces

My daughter has both the hazel wood teething necklace and the amber teething necklace. How these necklaces work is that they have to be in constant contact with your babies skin. They were not made to be chewed on! When in contact with the skin, the oils from the wood and amber tree resin can soak in. Amber necklaces have naturally occurring succinic acid which reduces inflammation in teething babies.  Hazel wood, on the other hand, is naturally alkaline. This works in neutralizing your child's acidity, thus relieving teething discomfort. I like to alternate these two necklaces. 

Breastfeeding 

Although difficult at first, breastfeeding usually helps soothe a teething baby. You just have to teach them from the beginning that biting hurts mommy. My daughter only bit me a handful of times before figuring out it wasn't ok. I simply said OW, which startled her, and stuck my pinky in her mouth to detach her from the breast. I don'y agree with hurting a child in any way, so I would not take the advice of those who say to flick the nose, pinch, etc. Baby is just trying to eat, be gentle :)


Ice & Ice Teethers

Most babies love ice while teething, but usually straight up ice is too cold. I sometimes wrap a piece of ice in Ocean's organic swaddling blanket while at restaurants or on long car rides and this seems to do the trick. One of her favorite toys that I found is the Natulo ice teether. The ring is maple wood and the cloth part is organic cotton that you can stuff ice cubes inside. She LOVES this thing. It's a little expensive, but I definitely recommend it. When I am at home, I use alkaline RO Ice cubes. Another thing, which would be even better, is giving your baby breast milk ice cubes. I've never used a pump yet, otherwise I would have tried this already.

I hope this post helped someone! Happy almost Autumn Equinox everyone!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A typical day, now days

Juicing for breakfast. This day it was apple/carrot juice.
We pack up for a walk to the "park"-a large tree with a decent patch of grass underneath :)

Load her up in her Ergo!


At the park with some green juice.

Playing with her Under the Nile carrot.

Lots of this.

Sometimes we paint.

She doesn't quite understand the concept yet.

I carry her around as I clean the house.

We take lots of naps together as well.

Here are some of her bedtime stories.
And then we sleep. Goodnight world!



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