Coming Soon: The FEED ME, MAMA Gift Guide

giftguide
Hello, friends!

Some of you may remember last year’s gift guide- it was one of my all-time favorite projects! I love showcasing companies that I believe in and introducing people to new beautiful products.

I’m expanding the guide this year to span a few days- with guides specifically for baby/child, men, women, and Md local gifts! If you have something you’d like to have featured, or know of a great company that would fit the bill, please message me on FB or email me at karli.feedmemama@gmail.com!

I’m looking for the following criteria:
-Naturally or sustainably made products
-Products ‘with a cause’
-Local companies or locally sourced gifts
-All-natural or organic products
-‘Out of the box’ gifts- subscriptions, etc
-Gifts that give to others- think gifting through an organization

Even if something doesn’t exactly meet one of these categories, please send me information! I want this year’s guide to be diverse and helpful for everyone 🙂

Oil Pulling- Your New Morning Routine

I spoke last week about how I really miss detoxing, so I’ve been folding in ‘everyday detox’ measures into my daily routine to help avoid the buildup of toxins during my pregnancy and help support my health in general. Here’s one you may not have heard of, but you definitely need to give a try!

When I lived in Florida, I spent a brief period of my natural health learning studying Ayurvedic medicine. This is normally associated with Indian/middle eastern culture, and is completely fascinating in how far removed it is from western tradition, yet how completely effective it is! Many common health tricks (such as the Neti Pot and starting the morning with warm lemon water) have their roots in Ayurveda, but there are many Ayurvedic traditions that are not as well know. Oil pulling is one of those- it was on my radar for a few months, then I forgot about it until I got involved with a stellar group of crunchy mommies on Facebook, many of whom are devoted oil pullers!

HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
Swish 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or another lighter healthy oil, some like sesame) around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it get in your throat, though- no gargling!
Spit the oil into the toilet and flush the gross stuff away. Don’t spit in the sink- the oil can clog the drain!
Rinse with warm water.

POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF OIL PULLING:
Remineralizes teeth and prevents cavities and tooth decay
Pulls bacteria, parasites, congestion, and mucus out of your system
Coats teeth with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral goodness from the coconut oil
Clears skin on the face
Gently cleanses the system of bacteria and parasites
Relieves congestion in the sinuses and mucus in the throat (similar to kapalabhati in yoga)
Heals chronic skin disorders such an eczema, psoriasis, and tinea versicolor
Gently whitens teeth and strengthens gums
Helps alleviate arthritis
Gently detoxes the liver

I’ve been oil pulling semi-regularly for a few months now, and I really do love it. It takes some getting used to (the texture of oil in your mouth is likely a foreign one haha) but the effects are undeniable! I have struggled with bleeding gums since being pregnant, but much of that has disappeared since I’ve started pulling. My mouth feels cleaner, my skin is very clear, and much of my chronic sinus congestion has been kept at bay. In short, I’m a believer!

Fermented Salsa (Fermentation is the New Black)

Fermented Salsa: What? How? Why?Fermentation is the new black in the health food world. I’m just as guilty as anyone else- if you tell me something is fermented, or could possibly be fermented, I’m automatically giving it more credit as a health food and I’m gonna try to make it myself. Kombucha, kefir, you name it- let me have it!

So, why do we like fermented stuff so much? It’s amazingly good for you! Fermented foods and beverages contain large amounts of enzymes, antioxidants, and friendly bacterias that colonize the gut and promote healthy digestion. These beneficial bacteria also help to balance out any type of bad bacteria that may be colonizing the gut, as well. My midwife actually recommended that I consume fermented foods daily, not only to aid with digestion, but to prevent pregnancy-related infections, such as Group B Strep.

When I ran across a few fermented salsa recipes on Pinterest, I knew that this was a concept I couldn’t pass up. My countertops have been brimming with late summer tomatoes, hot peppers, and a stash of local onions and garlic for the winter- I had all the ingredients already! So one afternoon, I set to work making homemade salsa to ferment.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

3-4 organic tomatoes
3-4 organic peppers (mild or hot, based on your taste)
1 organic onion
2-3 cloves organic garlic
Juice of 2 citruses (lime, lemon, or one of each)
2 tablespoons of sea salt
*Optional: cilantro, cumin, cayenne pepper powder, to taste

Chop all ingredients to desired texture and mix together. If desired, pulse in a food processor or blender to a smoother consistency. Store in a glass jar, leaving some room at the top, and leave on the kitchen counter for 2-4 days to allow fermentation to take place. You may even be able to see it- mine looked a little bit fizzy! Then, store in the fridge until it’s gone. It won’t take long 🙂

This salsa operates on the most basic type of fermentation: lactic acid. The salt simply transforms the ingredients into probiotic goodness! I honestly could barely taste the difference between this salsa and my regular homemade salsa. Maybe a little bit more tangy, a little bit fizzy or vinegar-y, but nothing too crazy. I left mine for 3 days, so maybe if I’d left it longer, it would’ve been stronger.

Have you ever fermented anything at home? Kraut, Kimchi, Pickles, Kombucha, Yogurt? Have any idea for something you could ferment? Share it with us!

thehomesteadinghippy.com

No-Poo: The First Month

I tried the whole ‘no-poo’ thing before. It was awful.

I went from using a high-end salon products that is toted as being very natural (ahem, Pureology) to scrubbing my scalp with just baking soda, or simply rinsing it out, depending on the day. It was a mess. My hair would be greasy after just a day, I had to wear it up all the time, it wasn’t cute at all. I’ve never been a ‘wash every day’ kind of girl, but I though that maybe that’s just how no-pooing had to work. So I quit. I ran to the nearest LUSH store and grabbed a shampoo bar and didn’t look back for a year.

Now, LUSH’s shampoo bars are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. They are solid, so they don’t contain preservatives. They cost around $10, and if you take good care of them, they’ll last you six months. I, however, inevitably end up leaving it on some ledge somewhere where it gets soaked and disintegrates after month three or so, and end up buying a new one.

As I eluded to in the deodorant post last week, a change in finances has led to even more frugal decisions in our home. So, when I (yet again) accidentally melted my shampoo bar about a month ago, I decided that enough was enough. I needed to figure out a way to homemake my shampoo.

I read blog after blog on no-pooing and finally came up with a simple plan that everyone *said* would work. Basically, it goes like this:

Go into the shower with a mason jar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

Fill the jar with around a cup of warm water, swirl to combine with baking soda.

Pour the mixture all over your head and massage into your hair for a few minutes.

Rinse out.

Pour 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the mason jar. (I leave the bottle on the floor of the shower)

Fill the jar with around a cup of warm water (notice a pattern?) and swirl to combine with ACV.

Pour the mixture all over your head, with just a bit on your scalp, the rest rinsing your ends.

Rinse immediately! Leaving too long will make your hair smell like vinegar.

Boom. Done.

The first time I tried this, I swore that there was no way it would work. I took a scarf and a hair tie with me in my bag in case my hair dried into a greasy mess. Boy, was I wrong! My hair was amazing. Seriously. It was borderline miraculous. Not only that, but it didn’t get greasy AT ALL until day 3! (Yes, I only wash my hair twice a week). I am hooked.

So why didn’t it work for me before? Here’s my thoughts:

-My scalp was detoxing from using normal hair products. Even though they were ‘natural’, they still contained chemicals that clogged the scalp and built up in my hair. The LUSH product didn’t contain that stuff, so I didn’t have a detoxing period.

-All I used was baking soda, and rather than mixing it, I scrubbed it straight into my scalp. This probably messed with the pH of my scalp and further added to my mess in my hair!

-I didn’t do any type of conditioning rinse, like ACV or lemon juice. These help balance pH also (they are acidic to baking soda’s alkaline), but add to manageability, shine, texture of hair- all of which were definitely lacking for me previously.

So, it’s been almost a month of no-poo, and I am only falling more in love. It’s so cheap, so natural, and my hair feels better than ever. I have heard that in the winter you need to supplement with some deep conditioning every once in a while (which I do anyway) so I’ll be keeping the coconut oil and honey handy for when that rolls around!

Have you ever tried no-poo? Do you have a method that works for you? Please share!

Library Date Night

Free & Fun Library Date NightOne of the most important parts of my marriage is having regular date nights. We learned very early on that if we weren’t intentional about spending quality time with one another, and continuing to ‘date’ each other (anyone who knows our story knows how funny that is), we would quickly find ourselves spinning into miscommunication and not loving one another well.

Though out hectic schedules don’t allow for us to have one regular, sacred date night per week (if yours does, luck you!), we do try to have a special date night every week, or at least every other. Usually this involves some type of coupon or gift card for dinner and then watching a movie at home. This week, however, I stumbled across some ‘date night idea’ blogs on Pinterest, and they inspired a super fun night out for us!

I will fully admit that this date was very much created to the tune of this blog post from Singing Through The Rain, which was inspired by this post from The Dating Divas. All this to say, it’s clearly an awesome idea, but the general concept of it definitely isn’t mine, so go explore those blogs and get some fun date night ideas of your own!

Matt and I had dinner (with a gift card haha) and then ran some errands before ending up at our local library, just down the street from our apartment. I had prepared several cards that each had a few ‘tasks’ on them, like these:

-Find a recipe you want to make for your spouse
-Find your favorite childhood book
-Find a book that details your dream vacation
-Find a joke book that your spouse will think is funny
-Find a movie that your spouse will want to watch tonight
-Find a CD that your spouse will be excited about
-Find a magazine that you think your spouse would like a subscription to
-Find a poem that describes the current state of your relationship
-Find a book on a subject that your spouse would like to learn more about
-Wildcard: give your spouse an assignment, and they give you one back

I made two of each card, so we were always searching for the same things. When we found what we needed on each card, we would meet back in a corner with some armchairs and share what we had chosen for one another- in detail! We read our childhood favorite books to each other, shared our poems (which were tear-inducing, darn hormones), critiqued one another’s vacations, and told jokes to each other. I learned things about Matt that I didn’t know before, and I think the same went for him!

On the whole, this provided us with several hours of fun, good conversation, and didn’t cost us a penny. I highly recommend it! This would also be fun to do in a bookstore, where you could chat over a latte and probably have more of a book selection. This just worked well for us 🙂

Do you have a creative date night idea you’d like to share? Email me at karli.feedmemama@gmail.com!

Cheap & Quick Detoxifying Deodorant

Quick and Easy DIY Detox DeodorantOne of the most unfortunate things about trying to live a pure, natural, healthy life is the price tag that often comes with those choices! It’s sad but true that quality products made with responsible ingredients just cost more money to manufacture. This is especially true when it comes to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

My husband and I have had a pretty significant change in finances recently, which has spurred me onward in my quest to be able to homemake everything I can and be frugal whenever possible. I recently remarked on Facebook that I am quickly learning that everything in my bathroom can be replaced with come combination of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and bentonite clay, and it’s pretty true! It’s amazing what a few (cheap) quality ingredients can do.

One of the first natural hygiene products I tried back in college was a natural deodorant. It was horrible. It smelled awful, made me sweat more- it was just nasty. Now, I realize that my body was probably detoxing from the years of using normal antiperspirants, which simply clog the pores rather than absorbing moisture. Sweat is natural and good! When the body sweats and you’ve used an antiperspirant, it continues to produce sweat as it fights the blockage of the pores, causing an overproduction of sweat. When you make an abrupt switch to a deodorant that doesn’t block the pores (such as this one), there can be an adjustment period as the body learns that it doesn’t have to overproduce anymore!

That said, it is important to note that this is a DEODORANT, not an ANTI-PERSPIRANT. You will sweat! However, with the addition of cornstarch and bentonite clay, I think you’ll find that you stay very dry- I know I do.

Today, I want to share a recipe that I had been dying to concoct for quite a while, and I think I’ve finally got it down. I received a lovely sample of a cream deodorant in a Conscious Box I got a few months back, and I fell in love with the concept. It took me a bit, but I adapted this recipe from Body Unburdened, which made a batch that I totally love, cost next to nothing, and will sat a really long time. Exactly what I needed!

YOU’LL NEED:

6 Tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 5 at room temp, 1 warmed
4 Tablespoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons organic cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder here)
2 Tablespoons Bentonite Clay
Essential oils, to your scent preference (I used patchouli because I like the scent, but Melaleuca/Tea Tree is a great antibacterial and anti fungal)

Combine all ingredients except for the warmed coconut oil. It is a little thick and messy! As everything starts to combine, add the warmed coconut oil, and mix together quickly. You’ll see that this binds everything together and forms a beautiful, creamy consistency. Transfer to a glass jar and you’re done!

To use, simply scoop out a bit on your fingertip and apply to your underarm. Coconut oil warms with body heat so it will spread easily.

WHAT YOU’RE GETTING:

Coconut Oil: A natural antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral. Provides a smooth, spreadable consistency and is moisturizing and healing for the skin.

Baking Soda: Neutralizes body odors.

Cornstarch/ Arrowroot: Great for absorbing moisture- I actually use cornstarch as a dry shampoo and as a mattifying powder for my face!

Bentonite Clay: Also absorbs moisture quickly, as well as helps pull out toxins from sweaty pits.

Essential Oils: You’ll get different properties depending on the oils you use. Like I said above, Melaleuca is a great antibacterial and anti fungal, which is great for funky pits. Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon would also work for this same purpose.

Let me know if you try the recipe and like the results! I know I do 🙂

Links used in this post are affiliate links. I do earn a very small percentage when you purchase through these links, which allows me to continue doing what I love: writing!

Easy Detoxifying and Healing Morning Elixir

Detoxifying and Healing Morning ElixirOne of the things that I miss the most while being pregnant is the opportunity to go through regular periods of cleansing and detoxing. I love doing cleanses- they make my body feel more efficient, lighten the load on the digestive system, clear the brain, and give me lots of energy. Full detoxing isn’t recommended during pregnancy because of how the body can react to toxins being pulled into the bloodstream (and therefore possibly reaching the baby), so lighter, more ‘everyday’ detox measures have to be put into place to maintain health and stop the accumulations of toxins and waste!

One of the easiest ways to keep your body clean is to make yourself a light, detoxifying morning drink. There are many, many variations of this (see my friend Kaitlin’s over at Eat Klean), but this is my favorite, as it has very intentionally selected ingredients to treat a variety of health issues and aid in detoxing. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I look forward to it at this point, and I know it’s doing my body a world of good!

YOU’LL NEED:

Fresh juice of 1 organic lemon
1-2 tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
Dash of cayenne pepper

Put all ingredients in the bottom of your favorite mug, top with freshly boiled water that has been cooled to room temperature. Stir until all ingredients are combined and enjoy!

WHAT YOU’RE GETTING:

Lemon Juice– Full of vitamin C (which is especially important in the winter months), lemon juice boosts the immune system. In addition, lemon alkalizes the body, which is proven to inhibit cancer growth! Warm lemon juice also acts as a mild diuretic that will stimulate digestion. Citrus in general is touted for it’s ability to awaken the body and give energy, making it a great addition to this morning beverage!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar– A miracle worker, apple cider vinegar is good for anything from preventing heartburn (huge for me during pregnancy!) to treating fungal skin infections. Taken internally in this morning beverage, it helps recolonize the gut with good probiotics (hence the RAW acv being best), and helps fight bacterial infections and improves dental health due to it’s antibiotic properties. It also acts as an expectorant, which comes in handy if you’re suffering from any type of congestion or cough. *note: the photo shows Trader Joe’s brand ACV.  This is a pasteurized brand, all I had in the house at the time! My favorite raw brand is Bragg’s 🙂

Raw Honey– Raw honey is full of beneficial enzymes and antioxidants that aid in cleansing and has very strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, which keep any threatening sicknesses at bay and will shorten the duration of anything you’re dealing with currently. Raw honey is also full of vitamins and nutrients that support the body in the cleansing process. The healing benefits of raw honey are such that many people will apply raw honey to open wounds to speed the healing process and protect against infection.

Cayenne Pepper– Yes, this gives the drink quite a kick! Besides waking you up in the morning, cayenne helps to clear congestion and stimulate circulation, while boosting the metabolism. Because it elevates circulation, this causes us to sweat (even a little bit!) which is a major source of detoxification. Cayenne can help prevent blood clots, prevent migraines, and is even speculated to have anti-allergenic properties. Like apple cider vinegar, cayenne acts as an expectorant, breaking up mucus and relieving symptoms of many common illnesses.

As you can see, this drink is a nutritional powerhouse! Yes, the taste takes some getting used to, but the health benefits are borderline magical and your body will thank you for a long, long time. Try it and see!

This post was shared with Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Links used in this post are affiliate links. I do earn a very small percentage when you purchase through these links, which allows me to continue doing what I love: writing!

TED Talk Tuesday: “The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong”

Today’s TED Talk is another one of my favorites.  I first saw it after a very intense conversation among friends on vacation over the merits of certain nonprofits based on what they pay their employees.  There were heated voices on both sides, many of us either previously or currently being employed by nonprofits, and the conversation ended abruptly without resolution.

Dan Pallotta’s words in this talk are very important for us all to hear. Nonprofit work is a very complicated field these days, and yes- I think there are many people who take advantage of the generosity of others. But there are many very talented individuals with passions and experience who are getting paid a fraction of the salary they COULD be getting because they choose to work in the nonprofit sector. But hey, I’m stealing Pallotta’s show. If you routinely give away ANY of your money, you need to take 18 minutes of your time and watch this…