Crock Pot Convert

I feel a little like Benjamin Franklin. I’ve made a discovery I want to share with the world! OK it may not be as life changing as electricity, but for this busy working mom it’s nearly as good.  I have discovered a new weapon in the fight to eat healthy… the time-saving power of the crock pot!

Maybe you aren’t new to cooking with a crock pot but I grew up in South Florida and we didn’t even own one! I have friends who had them but it seemed to be the type of kitchen appliance you used to make things like bacon double cheese dip, or creamy chicken casserole. Whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy.

But here’s what I’ve discovered. The crockpot CAN be used to make nourishing delicious meals! In the last year I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen to find ways to translate healthy dishes into crockpot worthy recipes. I’ve put 30 of the recipes together in my new cookbook The Thankful 30 Crockpot Edition.

thankful crockpot

I’ve also come to realize not all crock pots are created equal. If you are going to become a crock pot convert you need to make sure you have the right equipment. Here are a few crock pots that really get the job done and make the whole process easier (now if I could just find one that cuts up veggies for me!)

[Read more…]

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10 Gift Ideas that Inspire Healthy Living

 

 healthy for gift blog

Tis the season to be jolly.. fa la la la la.. well, you know the rest! Let’s just say I love Christmas! I especially love finding just the right gift to make others feel loved and appreciated. And nothing says that more than giving someone a gift to help them live healthy and love life!  I’ve put together a list to make it easy for you.

 

 

thankful crockpotThe Thankful 30 Crock Pot Edition

Dinner time shouldn’t be stressful! My newest cookbook can help even the busiest modern woman feed her family nourishing meals without having to spend hours in the kitchen. You may not think crock pot cooking can be healthy but these recipes are! The book covers everything from breakfast, soups, and main dishes to yes, even treats! Just try this crowd pleasing breakfast crock-tata!  It’s one of 30 delicious recipes. $14.99. You can get it at my online store.

 

3 in 16-Quart Cuisinart MSC-600 Cook Central 3-in-1

Why not add this to the cookbook?! It is fully programmable and even switches to a warming setting after its done cooking. Plus here’s the best part! You can brown or saute meat or vegetable right in the unit itself then just flip to the slow cook setting! That’s one less pan to clean for those recipes that require browning first! $159

 

herbsReady to Grow Herb Kit

Fresh herbs make all the difference in healthy cooking! There is something empowering about growing your own herbs and this kit shows you don’t need a lot of space to do it! All the soil and seeds to grow sweet basi, coriander/cilantro, oregano, parsley and thyme are included in the 5 chamber pot. $34.95

 

kombuchaFlavored Kombucha Brooklyn Kit

One of my favorite drinks is Kombucha! I’m hooked on the ancient fermented tea. If you know someone like me, this Kombucha starter kit can help them make their own! It includes enough for three batches of mango flavored. $70

nutribullet-productNutriBullet

Having a high powered mixing appliance in the kitchen is a must for anyone trying to eat healthy! The easier the preparation, the more likely a person is to whip up a smoothie, or soup instead of eating out. The NutriBullet can open seeds, break down tough stems and shred and grind. $89.99 

bbc logo newBurn Boot Camp

It is my go to way to stay in shape! If you know someone who is struggling to find the support they need to get fit, this membership could make a big difference for them! The workouts are fun and a great way to relieve stress! 

 

yoga cookiesYogi cookie cutters from Yummi Yogi

The collection includes 5 cutters: one of each yoga pose. Cutters are approximately 5″x 5″and are stainless steel. To really make the gift standout, give them with some homemade gingerbread cookies. $40.00 / Collection

 

prepara misterPrepara Tabletop Oil Mister  

If you aren’t careful, its easy to go overboard with fattening cooking oils. The oil mister sprays a thin, even coating. Make your own flavored oils to jazz up salads and veggies just by adding some dried herbs. $20 

 
milk nut bag Milk Nut Bag 

Sometimes making healthy choices is as simple as having the right equipment. Whether you are a smoothie maker or dairy intolerant this bag makes the whole process easier with less mess. Click this video to see just how easy it is.  $3 

 

tenota Tea Notes

It’s tea with a message! What a lovely way to reach out to someone even when you aren’t there with special message from you! Go to Tenota, pick a tea (there are tons to choose from!) and write out messages for each bag. 

 

And there you have it! 10 fun gifts that inspire healthy living!

Happy Holidays!

 

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS… MY SANITY!

 

giftWouldn’t it be nice if Christmas arrived, ready to go, in pretty package all tied with a bow?
 
Instead, it shows up, bursting at the seams, leaving us to make sense, of what it all means.
 
There’s shopping, and cooking, pick up the kids too! You’re bound to forget something then what will you do?

 

IT’S OK! IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US.

You walk into a store and walk out forgetting three things you meant to grab because you got sidetracked by your child asking 15 questions that just had to be answered RIGHT NOW! You need to pick out what you’ll be making for your family holiday dinner but you can’t focus on the recipes in front of you cause your brain chooses that exact moment to remind you that you never sent off the stack of Christmas cards.

LUCKY FOR YOU THERE’S MINDWORKS! [Read more…]

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A No Stress Holiday Season? Yes, Please!


And so it begins…. Halloween kicks off the mad dash to the end of the year. Think it’s all in your head? Nope. According to the American Psychological Association 38 percent of people say their stress increases this time of year, and more than 50 percent say they experience irritability and fatigue as well. So let’s get a grip on the craziness this year. Here are four ways to keep stress to a minimum this holiday season. [Read more…]

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How to Conquer Hydration

Staying hydrated is so important.  Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you can get dehydrated.  It can effect anyone from an infant to the elderly. 

When I had cancer 10 years ago, I had to take a hard look at the alkalinity in my body.  Since cancer thrives in an acidic body, I had to make sure that I was keeping my body as alkaline as possible.  When I was diagnosed, my body was very acidic. Cancer and sickness thrives in an acidic body, so I started to quickly change my diet and drink choices to make sure they were helping my body’s pH to stay in balance and to help by body stay slightly more alkaline than acidic. 

Most of us know that vomiting, fever, sweating and excessive urination are major causes of dehydration.  But, what you may not be aware of is there are certain foods and drinks that can cause severe dehydration as well.  [Read more…]

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What Cancer Taught Me: 10 years Later, 8 Rules To Live By For Total Health

Brooke on couch with tea 4-23-2014 11-58-35 PM

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I’m talking the kind of moment that drops you to your knees.

I was 26 years old and 4 weeks pregnant and I was told I had stage 3 Melanoma. Doctors feared it could be spreading hard and fast.  

I had two choices. I could start chemo and lose the baby or undergo surgery to cut the cancer out. But because I was pregnant, anesthetic wasn’t an option.  I’ll spare you the details of having surgery using only topical lidocaine for pain.  I ended up with 50 stitches and a scar that to this day changes the way I look at life. When I took a chance on surgery vs. chemo, I had no idea if I was picking the right path for my health, but I knew I was choosing the right path for my family. [Read more…]

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Curious About Alkaline Water?

Maintaining your body’s pH balance is extremely important to your health.  When your pH is balanced at a normal healthy level, your body is slightly more alkaline instead of acidic.  Our standard American diets are packed with acidic foods (fast, fried and fake).  Plus, we are more stressed and exposed to more environmental toxins than ever, and this can make balancing our pH levels difficult. 

Are you confused by what acidity means?  The difference between acidity and alkalinity may be a bit confusing, so here is a chart to help you see the differences.  

alkaline-acidity-food-chartIf you really start to pay attention, for the most part, the unhealthy foods are the most acidic to consume.  Did you know that soda is one of the most acidic substances you can put into your body?  This acidic condition creates an ideal environment for sickness to thrive.  When we are acidic, our bodies will borrow minerals from our bones, teeth and organs to try to neutralize the acidity.  High acid levels can cause multiple problems like diarrhea, osteoporosis, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, and compromised immune systems and cell health.  [Read more…]

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Why Supplement?

America: Undernourished and Overfed

The Standard American Diet (ironically called the S.A.D. DIET) is a major contributing factor to many of the health problems that Americans are facing today.  Shockingly, America ranks 37th in longevity behind countries such as Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, and Greece although we spend more than twice the amount of money on medical technology and pharmaceutical innovations as compared to other developed nations.  Additionally, fast food sales have increased almost 2000% over the past 30 years, which is also an indicator of the lack of nutrients in the majority of the convenience foods that Americans eat on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, our super busy lifestyles are driving us to make poor food choices that are having a dramatic negative effect on our overall health.  We also are bombarded with products that are marketed as “healthy” foods that are actually filled with sugar, fat, dyes and artificial ingredients.  I love the famous quote by Hippocrates who said “let thy food be thy medicine.”  If he lived in America today, his quote would be laughable!

Our Food is Not Our Grandparent’s Food

Fruits and vegetables are increasingly lower in certain nutrients that make them beneficial to our health. An unfortunate drop in mineral content translates that the apples of today are nowhere near as good for us as the apples our grandparents ate 50 years ago.  Our bodies thrive off of the nutrients from our food.  Our bodies were also designed to heal themselves by using those same nutrients; however, the reality is that 90% of Americans do not get essential nutrients from their diet. While this deficiency is largely due to our fast food lifestyles, even those individuals that aim to fuel their bodies with the proper food choices are still falling short because the nutritional value of our food is not what it used to be. Over the past 50 years, the nutrient content of our food has shown a markedly steady decline. The chart below shows the results of a 2004 study of 43 crops between the years 1950 and 1999. As illustrated below, the nutrient content of the crops studied decreased as much as -37%!

[Read more…]

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Why is Diamond Creek Alkaline Water Superior?

Diamond Creek water bottleWhen I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 26 and pregnant with my first child, my world completely shifted.  I knew I had to make some major changes in my nutrition to help build a healthier body and to help fight the cancer from returning in my body.  So, I created my Grateful 8 Rules For Wellness, a list of things that I knew would have a positive effect on my health.   One of the main goals of my Grateful 8 list was to bring my body back into balance so that I could thrive and be healthiest I could be.  I credit drinking alkaline water and eating foods high in alkalinity to helping maintain my body’s pH balance and making my body more alkaline and healthy.   

Drinking alkaline water is one of the most important rules on my Grateful 8 list.  By far, my favorite alkaline water is Diamond Creek or “Nature’s Energy Drink”.  The list of health benefits is long, but the taste is what really gets people hooked on this water!  This premium, high pH, alkaline ionized water is the best tasting water we’ve ever tried due to its high mineral content.  I used to think all water tasted the same.  However, after drinking Diamond Creek, my whole family now refers to it as “Velvet Water” because it tastes so smooth.  The fact that it’s purposeful, natural and so healthy makes me love it even more.  Balancing my body’s pH and making my body more alkaline instead of acidic is one of the most important ways that I have kept my body in balance.  I am happy to report that I have been cancer-free for 10 years!   

One of the biggest things that sets Diamond Creek apart is that it comes from a natural spring at 7.8 – 8.2 pH on average.  Diamond Creek All Natural Spring Water is ionized to create a high pH of 9+ without adding any buffers or chemicals to the water.  The water also goes through three other natural processes including microfiltration, UV and ozonation to ensure healthy water without any chemical processing which allows the true pH to stay in the water.  Plus, Diamond Creek water holds the pH of 9+ for two years because it is high in minerals and solids like calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium sulfate and nitrogen.  This is a guarantee that I can get excited about! :)

[Read more…]

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Healthy Shopping 101

Do you feel overwhelmed at the grocery store?  Sometimes we go in completely armed and ready with our list to shop, and then suddenly, we feel completely confused because of the marketing and food labels.  Staring at the shelves and reading the claims that the boxes make can make anybody feel crazy!  Do you wonder what products you can really trust and what it means when they say:  “all natural”, “whole grains”, or “organic”?  

I think so many of us struggle with this especially today with the overwhelming amount of products to choose from.  One of my favorite things to do is to take friends, family and clients to the grocery store and help them realize all of the ways healthy shopping can be fun and rewarding.  Once you tackle the store a few times and you know what you need to look for, it becomes super easy to stay away from the products that are unhealthy. 

As part of my Healthy Lifestyle Series that I teach at corporations, I reward an employee with a Gift Card to my favorite local health food store where they can invite 5 co-workers. We basically go on a shopping experience and revamp their grocery list. Below is a video from last week when I took one of my winners from Belk to Healthy Home Market.  We had such a blast!!

AT BELK WITH BROOKE SHOPPING SPREE from 360yourlife on Vimeo.

One of my favorite things to share with friends is “Live foods bring Life to the body.” If there is a label on a food item, it has been processed to some extent. I’m not saying you should never buy a packaged item, that would be nearly impossible in our world. But be cautious and informed as you shop the aisles of the grocery store.  Knowledge brings power. Arm yourself with the truth!

Here is a start to understanding what manufactures say and what it ACTUALLY means. [Read more…]

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Unjunk After Sports Snacks

If you have kids that play sports, then you are probably faced with bringing snacks to the game for your little ones or taking turns for the entire group.  I want to make you aware of some harmful ingredients that you may not realize are having an adverse effect on our children instead of FUELING them pre-game or post-game.  This truly hits home for me because I have two daughters that are 6 and 9 that play sports, and we’re faced with these typical snacks on a weekly basis.  [Read more…]

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Healthy Food Replacements

Did you know that you can replace your everyday ingredients with healthier options? When I first started to cook and bake in a healthier way, I was extremely overwhelmed! However, I started having so much fun when I realized how easy it was to take a traditional recipe and replace a few ingredients, and soon my recipe was a really healthy, delicious one! :) I searched for whole foods and more “real food” ingredients to use in place of ingredients that I didn’t want to feed my family.  I wanted to use super foods and foods with more nutrients that would have a bigger impact on my family’s health. [Read more…]

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Powerful pantry swap outs for 2014

Make these simple, healthy changes to your pantry staples that will have a huge impact on your health in 2014!

It’s that time of year when we all evaluate our yearly goals and resolutions. Many of us plan to re-organize our homes, start new workout programs, or to eat healthier and lose weight. According to recent surveys, most parents resolve to give their families a healthier diet in the New Year. One of the main areas that I like to focus on when it comes to eating healthier is the kitchen pantry. Today, I want to highlight how to replace the foods in our pantries that bulk up our bodies and cause us to feel bloated: flours, sugars, pastas and oils.

***All of these healthy replacements are gluten-free and low glycemic, and they are derived from natural sources. [Read more…]

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How to Build a Natural Medicine Cabinet

 

Natural Medicine Cabinet Seminar

Natural Medicine Cabinet Seminar

This week, I had the privilege of speaking to some amazing women at The Coffeehouse Lake Norman about how to revamp their medicine cabinets to create a Natural Medicine Cabinet. We had some great, very open health discussions, and I was thrilled to share that Shaklee supplements are not only pure and from the Earth, but also that they have proven results.  See The Landmark Study for vital information on why millions trust Shaklee to build health in their bodies.
[Read more…]

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Tree Hugger All Natural Bubble Gum

Tree Hugger Gum held by Riley Reagan

My girls and their Tree Hugger Bubble Gum!

My girls love to chew bubble gum, but it is hard to find a brand that I feel OK about.  When I attended the Natural Products Expo East last month, I found a great All Natural Bubble Gum that contains NO artificial colors, flavors, BHT, or preservatives.  Plus, it’s gluten free, nut free and dairy free!  Tree Hugger All Natural Bubble Gum comes in several different flavors:  tangerine, bubble gum, lemon-lime, orange, berry, pomegranate, lemonade, wildberry, and watermelon.  There are so many to choose from! [Read more…]

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Macadamia Mahi Mahi

We love Wild Mahi Mahi in our home, so I am always trying new recipes to change it up and have some variety.  My girls love helping me with this recipe, and it only takes about 5-10 minutes of prep time!  When I started having my girls (ages 5 and 8) help me with dinner, I noticed it was so much easier to get them to be excited about dinner.  They talk about how much they LOVE what “they” help to make!  Try it!  I promise you will have great success.

Costco carries Wild Caught Mahi Mahi that is:

  • Wild Pacific Mahi-Mahi
  • Boneless, skinless
  • Center cut portions, 4-8 oz each
  • Individually vacuum-packed & quick frozen
  • Kept frozen
  • 3 lb resealable bag

Macadamia Mahi Mahi
**I also wanted to share some "real" photos of what went down in my kitchen with my girls helping. I hope this will inspire you to try this with your kids, too! Let me know if you try it! :)
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Wild Caught Mahi Mahi fillets
  2. 1 cup of Macadamia nuts, chopped (We used a hand held chopper that my 5 year old, Riley, loves to help with.)
  3. 1 cup of coconut milk (We use Native Forest Coconut Milk because the can is BPA free.)
  4. 1/4 tsp. of sea salt
  5. 1/4 tsp. of pepper
  6. Coconut oil to coat baking dish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper first.
  3. Have a 13 X 9 baking dish lightly coated with coconut oil and ready to place the fish on.
  4. Pour the macadamia nuts in one bowl and milk in another bowl.
  5. Dip one side of the fish in the milk, the dip it in the nuts and place in the dish. Complete steps for all 4 Mahi Mahi filets.
  6. Bake fish for 20 minutes.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
 

 

Mahi Mahi Fish collage - Riley chopping nuts

My 5 year old feels so proud chopping anything!
Here, she is chopping the macadamia nuts in our hand chopper.

Mahi Mahi Fish collage - Reagan holding fish

 My 8 year old is dipping the fish in the coconut milk and then in the macadamia nuts!

Mahi Mahi Fish collage - Reagan prep fish

Dinner was accomplished!

We were all ready, and guess what?  It was so easy and quick that we never felt like we were “slaving away in the kitchen”.

This is a great Mother/Child activity that will make them feel excited about preparing dinner with you!


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Should I Go Gluten-Free?

Gluten-Free is such a hot topic these days that it can be confusing as to whether you actually NEED to go gluten-free or not. Hopefully this blog post can answer some of the questions that you may have about gluten and eating gluten-free.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

Why eat Gluten Free?

The most common reason would be if you or someone you know is suffering from Celiac Disease. Another reason to go gluten free would be the fact that glutinous grains can cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to disease, illness, and promotion of cancer growth. Many people experience stomach ache or bloating after eating gluten – this is often caused by the immediate inflammation. [Read more…]

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Staying Healthy on the Fly

Eating on the road does not have to drag you down. So many times we can get bogged down with the food that we choose to eat on the road or while traveling. Preparation is key! Here are some tips to stay healthy while you travel:travel1

1) Always travel with food. If you are a “snacker” and like to have food while you travel, do not wait until you are starving and grab the junk food at the airport, gas station, or fast food restaurant – pack food to have in those situations.

My Favorite Travel Foods:

  • Nuts and Seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Shaklee meal and snack bars
  • Dried fruit (apricots, banana chips, cranberries)
  • Whole fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)
  • Dark Chocolate Chips

[Read more…]

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Got Hemp?

hemp-crop-close-photoWhen you hear the word hemp you probably think of hippies and even those hemp necklaces that were popular back in the 90s. However, hemp is an excellent source of nutrients and is becoming more popular as we learn more about its nutritious punch. Hemp seeds can be used in cereals, salads, baked goods, smoothies, and even to make dairy-free milk. While the products are made from the seeds of the same Cannabis sativa L plant that produces marijuana, they do not contain any THC – the psychoactive element of marijuana. [Read more…]

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Nature’s Clues to Nutrition

 

 

 vegetables_system_anatomy_digestive_desktop_1920x1080_hd-wallpaper-728452

 

Nature gives us the biggest clues when it comes to using nutrition for optimal health. Food can be healing and nourishing to our bodies. It is truly amazing when you look at certain foods and see how they resemble our body parts. I am thrilled to share this with you because when I discovered this, it made choosing a healthy life more simple and exciting! [Read more…]

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Reduce Skin Cancer Risk with Edible Sunscreen & Vitamin D

 

Did you know that the foods you eat on a daily basis could be playing a major role in how quickly your skin gets damaged by the sun? I had no idea before I was diagnosed with Melanoma that my diet could be attributing to how I was being affected by the sun (Read more about my story)! Antioxidants and the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their color help prevent sun damage to skin cells. Plants have to protect themselves from UV rays, just like we do, and they use color pigments from carotenoids as a sunscreen. When we eat a variety of fruits and veggies, the pigments act as antioxidants and help protect us from UV rays in the same way they protect the plants. When we consume diets rich in carotenoids from natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we become healthier and have a much lower chance of chronic illnesses. [Read more…]

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A Mom 9 Years “Post- Melanoma” Living Healthy and Helping Others

Hearing the words, “you have stage 3 cancer,” during the first trimester of my first pregnancy at 26 years old completely shifted my entire life. I thought I lived an extremely healthy life and I looked “healthy”. How did I have cancer? From the moment I heard the word “Cancer” I went into complete shock and disbelief. I had a few options: Surgery without anesthetic (due to the pregnancy), Chemotherapy and most likely lose the baby, or wait it out and hope it doesn’t spread to the baby and take over my body and get worse. These are very scary options no matter how old you are or who you are. I knew the right choice was surgery. My life would never be the same once I experienced the pain of surgery along with 50 stitches without anesthetic. However, I will always be thankful that the cancer was removed and the experience stirred a strong passion and desire within me to pursue what building health in my body really means. [Read more…]

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Tips for a Happy, Healthy 4th of July (and Summer)!

Ahhh…summer time! A time of relaxation, quality time with your family, traveling, enjoying the sunshine, and sharing moments with friends. This is a great opportunity for helping your family get healthy, too! The farmers markets are blooming, the vegetables are abundant! Grilling vegetables, making fruit salads and experimenting with new veggies are all ways you can encourage your community to eat real foods this summer. So, invite those neighbors over and show them that real food is the best! [Read more…]

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Power Pregnancy Foods

 

Expectant mothers need many vitamins and nutrients throughout the entire pregnancy to support the baby’s development and to sustain the changes that the mother endures too. I understand the “grab-n-go” lifestyle doesn’t go away just because you’re pregnant, so I wanted to give busy pregnant mom’s some foods that are healthy AND easy. Many of the foods listed below contain high amounts of protein, folic acid, and good fat which are all essential for the baby’s development, especially brain and nervous system development. Also, as the uterus grows, the back, abdominal, and hip muscles are forced to stretch in new ways, so the mother needs to be sure to get adequate protein to help the muscles repair and heal. [Read more…]

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Stop Allergies Naturally

Seasonal allergies are flaring up all over the country – especially here in the Carolinas where we live. People are constantly asking me what they can do to treat their symptoms. That’s just it, don’t just treat the symptoms…get to the root! Over-the-counter medications only provide temporary relief and don’t help eliminate the allergen. While itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose can drive a sane person crazy, those symptoms are just the result of a deeper issue. [Read more…]

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