The Cold Buster

coldbuster

It’s no secret that I had the worst cold known to mankind over the past few weeks. I whined about it on every social media outlet available, and nobody saw me for almost a week because when I left the house I felt like I was going to die (ask my husband about the 2 meltdowns I had at the grocery store when I tried to go out).

Because I’m pregnant and stubborn, I flatly refused to take any over the counter medications. While I did eventually have to go to the doctor (frown face) and get on antibiotics for bronchitis (double frown face), this drink did a great job of loosening my congestion and clearing my sinuses. I concocted this magical drink with all the antiviral gusto I could manage, so it’s not for the faint of heart!

You’ll need:

3/4 in chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers (helps stimulate circulation and ease congestion)

1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife (strong antibacterial and antiviral)

Juice and pulp of 1/2 a lemon (cuts through mucus, boosts vitamin C, soothes the throat)

1-2 T raw honey (antibacterial and antiviral, soothes the throat)

As much cayenne pepper as you can stand! (breaks up mucus and stimulates circulation)

Steep the ginger, garlic, and lemon juice/pulp in freshly boiled water for about 10 minutes, until cooled to drinking temperature. If desired, fish out ginger and garlic pieces (I leave them in to keep getting medicinal benefits). Stir in raw honey and cayenne pepper. Drink up!

I drank this every 2 hours or so and it definitely helped!

This post is part of Tasty Traditions, Natural Living Monday, and Natural Living Link-up!

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

DIY Citrus All Purpose Cleaning Spray

DIY Citrus All-Purpose Cleaning Spray via Feed Me Mama

Welcome to the easiest DIY you’ve ever done. It’s awesome and can replace those expensive cleaning sprays you’re currently buying- or is that just me, the sucker for marketing that has to have the latest Method or Mrs. Myers seasonal scent? Maybe. Whatever. Make this!

Take the peels of 2-3 citrus fruits. I used 2 lemons and an orange.

Put them in a glass jar and cover with white vinegar- about 1 cup should be perfect.

Leave it sit for 2-3 weeks. (set in the sun and you can leave it for less time!)

Strain into a spray bottle, top off with filtered water.

BAM! Vinegar + Citrus = extreme cleaning power! For added benefits, you can mix in a few drops of tea tree oil or oregano oil, but I personally prefer just the citrus scent.

Because this makes a fairly small batch, you can adjust the ingredients and scent it to your liking! Next time, I’m going to try all orange peels and infuse a cinnamon stick as well for a holiday scented cleaning spray.

Do you have an easy DIY you’d like to share? Do it in the comments!

Surviving the First Trimester- Naturally

firsttrimester

I was a pathetic mess my entire first trimester.

I’m serious. It was embarrassing. I wish I could say that I was one of those women who just brought along a trash bag and towel wherever she went and barfed when necessary and just powered through life, but it just wasn’t true. The nausea and vomiting was so bad that many days I never got dressed and didn’t leave the house. I am so, so thankful that I have a job that I can do from the comfort of my home 90% of the time. I seriously don’t know how I would have managed a 9-5 office job. It was completely the grace of the Lord that I got through alive.

All that to say, many women have it much more difficult than I do. I was never hospitalized, I was able to stay off of anti-nausea medicine (though it was offered to me many times), and I was still able to work. But almost every women who experiences pregnancy has some degree of nausea and vomiting, though it’s different for everyone. And we all have different things that make our nausea better! Today, I want to share the things that helped me make it through- regardless of how pathetic I was.

-Eat a complex carb before you lift your head from the pillow. My go-to was Trader Joe’s Rosemary & Raisin Crackers- filled with flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and lots of other fun super grains for my little girl. I must’ve eaten through 20 boxes during my first trimester. When I say “before you lift your head”, I am not kidding. I would grab the box, spin over onto my belly, and eat half a box of crackers before even thinking about getting out of bed. Not the cutest thing I’ve ever done, but it would sit heavily enough in my stomach to get me downstairs, let me go to the bathroom, and fix something for breakfast without spiraling into an all-day mess of nausea.

-Eat OFTEN. As in, I ate every 1.5-2 hours MAX. Keeping something in my tummy was the only way I could avoid feeling gross. It didn’t necessarily matter what it was, as long as I got it down. It was my ‘preventative measure’.

-Figure out what herbs work for you. For me, ginger made me even more sick, so I had to avoid anything with ginger in it, including virtually every anti-nausea tea on the market. However, peppermint worked wonders for me, as did chamomile. I would keep a small box of altoids in my purse and suck on one or two whenever I started to feel gross. Breathing in a chamomile steam inhalation (or simply making chamomile tea and sipping it) was also really effective.

-Stay hydrated. Lemon is another anti nausea aid that many people find helpful- I was pretty much constantly sipping ice water with a heaping amount of lemon juice in it, and it really did make me feel better- and staying hydrated is key to keeping yourself well.

-Try alternative medicine. I see a Chinese Herbalist and received acupuncture treatments throughout my first trimester that I really feel helped keep my sickness manageable. Check with your insurance to see if they cover alternative medicine- mine covers 75%! You might be surprised. Aromatherapy, focusing on ginger, lemon, or peppermint essential oils, can also be helpful- either applied in a carrier oil or used in a diffuser, or even in bath water.

-Up your magnesium levels. Some lovely mamas online suggested using magnesium oil topically twice a day, and I think this also contributed to my survival. you can also add magnesium oil, or a ton of epsom salts, into bathwater and have yourself a nice soak. I honestly don’t know all the science behind this one, but I can say that it worked for me, and for many other mamas as well!

-Don’t force yourself to eat what isn’t appealing to you. You will barf. It will suck.

-Take your prenatals and don’t stress. Your baby is very tiny and requires very little at this stage- do your best and your prenatals will cover you. But- DO your BEST too! Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat donuts all day. Your baby is a beautiful responsibility- take the best care of him or her that you can!

-Don’t be afraid to ask of help. I remember calling my mom and asking her to come over and clean my toilet for me one morning, and while it was very humbling, it was worth it. Especially if you have other children, give yourself grace. Accept a meal from a friend, an offer to babysit, take an extra nap while your kids sleep.

-Recognize when you need medical attention. Some people truly need anti-nausea medication to get through the first trimester. Others suffer from a debilitating condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which requires a lot of monitoring, and often medication, to control. If you can’t keep anything down and you can tell that something is wrong, take care of yourself. Your body, and your baby, will thank you.

Have any of these tips worked for you? What else helped you survive your first trimester queasies?

BEAUTY WEEK: The Full Facial Treatment

This is one of my absolute favorite ways to treat myself!  When I first started working for LUSH, I probably used a face mask every single day, and my skin loved me for it!  Well, I cant exactly afford that anymore, but I’ve learned how to get the same results at home, and ever kick it up a notch.  Give yourself 45 minutes tonight and indulge in this at-home mini facial!

 

PART ONE: DIY MICRODERMABRASION

This is as simple as getting out your box of baking soda.  Microdermabrasion is one of the most expensive (and, admittedly, effective) spa treatments out there.  It involves slowly exfoliating the skin with a diamond-tipped rotary device that sort of feels like sandpaper, but makes your skin glow afterwards for the low low price of $150+ per session (6 sessions usually recommended).  I had microderm three or four times when I worked for a spa, and it really is nice.  But baking soda is just as effected and a billion times cheaper.  See for yourself!

Take a tablespoon of baking soda and splash in just enough warm water to make into a paste.  Smooth it over your skin and gently exfoliate in circular motions, focusing in areas that are problematic, dry, or scarred.  Take your time, enjoy it!  Your skin will thank you.  Massage your face and rinse with warm water.  Admire.  You can stop here and apply a moisturizer and be done.  OR…

 

PART TWO: DIY HERBAL STEAM

This is the fun part because you get to just relax!  Boil some water, and while you’re waiting, fill the bottom of a glass bowl or a stopped sink with any of the following:

Lavender buds

Strips of basil

Rose petals

Chamomile buds

Rosemary needles

Green Tea

Any combination is fine, too!  Whatever you have on hand.  Pour in the boiled water (allow to slightly cool) and then add any of the following:

 Tea tree oil

Lavender oil

Eucalyptus oil

Chamomile oil

Again, whatever you have on hand!  Now, throw a towel over your head, drape it over the bowl or sink, and make yourself a little tent.  Seal the edges. Breath.  Enjoy that lovely herbal steam soaking into your pores!  Continue until your mixture ceases to steam.  Now, you can finish with a moisturizer and be done.  OR…

 

PART THREE: DIY FACE MASK

Here’s the really fun part.  What do you have in your kitchen?  Honey? Bananas? Yogurt? Avocado?  I’m sure you have something.  Finish with one of these on your face!

Banana (great for sensitive skin)

Oatmeal (raw oats mixed with some milk, gently heated)

Honey (mix with cinnamon and nutmeg for acne scarring!)

Yogurt (great for brightening skin)

Crushed aspirin and lemon (again, brightening, good for problem skin/swelling)

Avocado (moisturizing)

Slather on, relax for 20-30 minutes, and rinse with warm water.  NOW you can finish with a moisturizer or, like I do, a little bit of coconut oil!  Be sure to moisturize lightly around your eyes to prevent aging lines 🙂 Enjoy your fresh holiday face!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Grape and Couscous Salad

Can you believe its Monday already?  I can’t.  I just want to rebel.  Sometimes I get in a real funk on Mondays- but a great way to brighten the day is to fix yourself a yummy, nutritious lunch that you can look forward to all morning!  This is one of my staples.

One of the first easy and healthy lunch recipes that ever caught my eye was this beauty from Real Simple Magazine.  Every month they feature a brown bag lunch recipe, and I’ve been using this one for over two years now!  I just love the clash of the sweet and juice grapes with the salty feta- and the couscous holds everything together just enough to keep you full until dinnertime. The Mediterranean flavors really balance each other well, so try the entire recipe before altering it or leaving something out 🙂

1 cup cooked whole-wheat couscous

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ cup red grapes, sliced in half

¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

Salt, Pepper, and Parsley to taste

Stir together the couscous, oil, and lemon juice.  Fold in the cheese, grapes, and walnuts.  Season to your liking and enjoy!

This recipe is great freshly made, and equally satisfying kept in the fridge overnight to eat for lunch the next day (or more!).