Tag Archives: health

The Nourished Living Summit is coming soon!

Have you ever felt overwhelmed when it comes to making the best choices for your family?

The Nourished Living Summit brings together 69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally. These experts know that this parenting gig is not easy and as such are arming you with the information you need to either begin, continue, or expand your journey as a natural-minded parent.

Nourished Living Summit

The Nourished Living Summit is a FREE online event that launches March 24, 2014.

It won’t be like those other Summits, the ones were you have 24 hours to listen to 10 presentations. No – The Nourished Living Summit wants to arm you with as much information as you can absorb via an improved Summit model. A model where you will have time on your side so you can take advantage of all the incredible information these speakers are handing you. The Nourished Living Summit is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including:

  • Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18
  • Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family
  • Care and Nurturing For Mothers
  • Education for Natural Minded Parents

Beginning March 24th, you will have 48 hours to listen to 3-5 presentations. Each track is divided over the course of two 48 hour periods. Presentations will stream live Monday-Saturday with Sundays off. The Summit ends on April 29th.

You MUST be registered in order to listen to the presentations. You can register on the home page of the official Nourished Living Summit website.

Want to learn more about the Nourished Living Summit lineup? Check it out!

Nourished Living Summit Collage

What are you waiting for? Go register for the Nourished Living Summit!!!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you register through my link I may receive a small commission. All funds made from blogging are reinvested into my blog work. If you choose to register through me, I appreciate and thank you for your business.


Holistic Nutrition, Holistic Agriculture, Holistic Living!

I’m thrilled to be sharing this guest post today. Brenda Baran is a nutritional therapy practitioner and a fellow blogger at Nourished Living Network. She and her partner Levi are also revitalizing a farm and working to raise funds to do so. Today she talks about the relationship between the health of the person and the health of the land.

The human body is very complex and our environments are also very complex. This is why one answer does not fit all when it comes to diet and health. There is no one perfect diet for everyone. The perfect diet for someone depends on so many variables including their ancestry, how active their lifestyle is, how old they are, how toxic their environment is, etc. This is why when one truly practices holistic medicine, focusing on bio-individuality is essential.

Not only is considering bio-individuality essential, but also discovering the underlying cause of whatever issue or issues a person may be dealing with. For example, instead of giving someone a topical cream for a skin condition, like eczema or acne, we find out what is leading to the skin issue. Is it a nutrient deficiency? Deficiencies in vitamin A, D, and imbalances in fatty acids can lead to skin issues. Is it a toxicity issue? Sometimes we detox through the skin more when our other detox pathways are struggling. Is it an immune issue? Parasites can lead to skin issues. Is digestion working properly? Leaky gut can lead to skin issues. So on and so forth. 


The “Foundations of Health” according to Nutritional Therapy Practitioners include:

  • Digestion
  • Blood Sugar Balance
  • Mineral Balance
  • Fatty Acid Balance
  • Hydration
  • Properly Prepared Nutrient Dense Diet.

What this means is that it is very important to assure that these foundations are all working properly in the body before moving on to more complex detailed things like hormone imbalances or mood issues for example. If someone is not able to digest their foods then they are not able to make hormones or neurotransmitters efficiently which could be an underlying cause to hormone imbalances or mood issues as we literally are what we absorb and digest. Another example would be migraines. Instead of giving someone pain killers you would first make sure to rule out food sensitivities (digestion), hypoglycemia (blood sugar balance), magnesium deficiency (mineral balance), an imbalance of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (fatty acid balance), water intake (hydration), processed, toxin rich foods (properly prepared nutrient dense diet) which are all known to contribute to migraines. 


The human body is not the only complex system on this planet. There are endless systems that are complex, work with, and depend on one another. It seems like most of us are starting to realize that maybe the standard American diet (SAD) is not the best way. Many of us are even starting to get that conventional medicine might not always be the best answer to certain things and that conventional farming might not be in our best interests. The hard part is knowing how to change, knowing where to start, how to transition. 

My partner Levi Meeuwenberg and I, Brenda Baran, at Realeyes Homestead have a vision to not only try to live holistically but also help others to do the same. My passion is holistic nutrition and Levi’s passion is permaculture, a type of holistic agriculture. We are working on building Realeyes Homestead by combining both passions! We would like to make Realeyes Homestead a working model and demonstration site not only for our local community but also for our online community. 

 draw brilliant theories

Learn more about what we are doing on our website RealeyesHomestead.com and check out our Permaculture Farm Design Plan

If you are interested in and believe in what we are doing please help support this vision by contributing to, or sharing our campaign at RealeyesHomestead.com/Indiegogo 

Thank you!

Brenda & Levi at Realeyes Homestead

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Reboot, or, 2014 Here I Come!


I decided back in November what my key word and theme would be for this year. After the year I had, I realized that this coming year was going to be one where everything could change. Before I had ideas of moving and finding my first full librarian job somewhere else, but hopefully in California. Now I own a condo and just want as much stability as I can have for a while. This year I rethink my plans and priorities and figure out what I want. Just me.

I have a bunch of ideas and desires for the year, and I am fully aware that they may not all come to fruition. They exist as a potential destination and to give me something more to focus on than settling the rest of my mother’s affairs and going to work day in and day out.


1. Continue to rebuild my health

It’s been almost two and a half years since my health crashed after finishing my graduate work. The past year has seen some marked improvements, but I knowingly and willingly put a certain amount of my healing on the shelf in order to take care of my mom. And you know what? It was worth it. My own health never went so far back that I could not help around the house, and it made her life easier.

So involved in this goal is:
*Continuing my gluten free diet and incorporating more nutrient-dense foods and supplements. Included in this, I am thinking about cutting down on my sugar consumption. It’s not huge but enough that I want to look at it.
*Regaining my stamina and endurance.
*My hope it to build up my immune system enough so that my allergies go away. In the time I’ve been doing traditional foods, my asthma has gone away, for a time my allergic reactions (which are now almost exclusively to animals) started to subside, and my chronic knee problems became minimal.
*Dance, dance, dance, dance. I’m putting it under health because this involves movement. Today will be my first belly dance lesson since early November and I expect I am going to be just a little rusty. I still want to dance professionally, or at least semi-pro, and that means more practice and finding haflas where I can perform.

2. The Home Front

Oh there is a lot here. I own one now. My big plan is to make this house into my home.
*I need to clear out a lot of my mom’s stuff, donate it, gift it, etc.
*Settle all the estate stuff. Much of it is already happening but there is still more.
*Redecorate the house some.
*Take care of my own personal debt and make it go away. The biggest plan for this is that I am going to read and work through Your Money or Your Life.
*Re-evaluate the household bills.
*Get all my own stuff reorganized, figure out what I need and want, and get rid of the rest.


That’s the whole basis of this blog right? Now that I am living on my own, my dietary needs and likes get to shine. There are only two items in this part of the resolutions, but they are big for me.

*Get back on the fermenting bandwagon. I’ve kept up with the milk kefir since 2011, sourdough went to the side when I went gluten-free. It’s time to do more. I drink two bottles of GT kombucha each week and suspect it would be much better for my budget if I make my own. (If you are in southern Connecticut and have some extra SCOBYs you’d like to re-home, drop me a line!)
*Vary up my cooking. I have plenty of cookbooks, blogs, saves on PInterest, and free meal plans. There is no excuse for me not to make a wider range of foods. And related to that…
*Create, and post, five new recipes this year. Over the weekend I did some experimenting and made what can qualify as the first. Look for it next week!

4. This Blog

Oh sweet blog, I have had you going for four years now, and have never given you the attention you deserve. This year I want to change that.

*I’ve contacted the friend I want to have turn this little WordPress site into its own domain.
*Get up to three posts a week. One original content, one media review, one wrap up. I was starting to do this last summer but could not keep up the pace then.
*Boost my views to at least 10,000 hits a month. Last year during my short active period I was able to surpass 3,000 a month without much effort.

If you would like to help with these endeavors, you can shop through my affiliate links with Mountain Rose Herbs, the Detoxify Your Life course, and ebook sales as they come up.

5. The Fun Stuff and Wishes

I miss crafting. This year I want to take up my knitting again, my cross stitch, practice crochet more, start sewing, make my own body care products, all that kind of stuff. My hands need to work. Buying my eldest niece a lap loom for Yule, and then both of us learning the basics of weaving, has inspired me.


The house is also a lot quieter without my best friend here, or her one year old daughter. There may be a cat or guinea pigs coming into this house. That will depend on the aforementioned allergies.

I also want to keep up my education, read my books, develop my professional skills.

And the big one… I hope to go to Sweden and Iceland in June for Midsummer celebrations. The last time I was in Sweden, and the only time I was in Iceland, was 2001. It’s time to fix that.

So what do you have planned and hoped for in the coming year?

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I’m sharing this post at Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday!!

Reality: my life with chronic health problems

There is some irony in this post. I had hoped to write it up over the weekend and present it early in this week, but for the very reasons I am about to discuss, was unable to muster the energy and focus to do so. As such it has served in yet another lesson in how life has to go now.

For those of you who are new here, I will bring you up to speed. Officially, there is nothing wrong with me. I have had a few tests done, mostly centered around thyroid function. They have come up normal. As much as it pains me to put things this way, unofficially I appear to have an underactive thyroid (dubbed sub-clinical by my nutritionist), adrenal fatigue and a hormonal imbalance. This came about heavily from three years of working full time in a job and being a part time graduate student. As soon as I finished my course work in August of 2011, my energy crashed. I imagine what happened is the constant stressed/alert state I was in took a major toll on my adrenals. Adrenals are tied in with the thyroid as well as with the endocrine system. Since that summer (almost two years now!) my energy levels have been very low, and about six months after, my weight started to creep up. Fast.

I have been working with my friend Bari, who is a holistic nutritionist, since early this year. She has helped me to modify my diet and include herbal supplements to help heal the body.

Just as Roma was not built in a day, though, my health problems did not come about fast. Nor will they be reversed quickly. No matter how much I wish for that to happen.

In an ideal world, I’d be able to sleep for 8 or more hours a day, have a short drive to work, do my job, and be able to share household duties in order to allow me the rest I need to recover.

Too bad I don’t live in an ideal world.

I live close enough to my job that driving to it is silly, but taking public transportation both ways turns a less than 10 minute drive into 40-45 minutes of walking, waiting, and bus riding. The only income I have is my own, so cutting down on hours does not help any. (And as of yet I do not make a steady income from blogging) And I also continue to insist on being ambitious and have other stuff going on in my life. Most notably a spiritual life, writing projects, practicing to become a professional bellydancer, and occasionally having a social life. Trying to juggle all these things is difficult, and I know many people in the real food community have health issues, so I want to present my ways of managing and inspiration that you can do it.

1. Get enough rest and sleep! I have trouble getting into bed early, most often because I am scrambling just to take care of the basics every day and they now take longer. But I have found that even getting into bed earlier can help with my feeling rested. If I cannot do that, I do my best not to stress about late bedtimes.
I also take naps after work during the days (or weeks, like now) when my sleep is not going so well or I am just having a slump in health.

2. Prioritize! You can’t do all the things, so don’t even try to. I’ve had to cut out a good deal of my fermenting because I just do not have enough time available even to cut up the veggies and monitor their progress. Take stock of what matters most and what cannot fall by the wayside. When you have the time and energy, pick up what has been missed.
For me, the biggest priority is my day job. It is what keeps me afloat, therefore most of my energy goes there. Which explains why this blog has not gotten the love it deserves.

3. Keep lists! My lifesaver over the last few years. If I do not write down some things, they do not happen. It also helps at work so I do not forget about deadlines.

4. Give yourself permission not to do things. I’m an ambitious woman and want to do a lot with my life and if I cannot achieve what I want, I may start to mentally beat myself up. This is not going to help anyone. If you get the essentials done (see number 2), you are doing well. Consider anything else a bonus.

5. Get all the support you can get. Whether it be family or friends, having sympathetic people in your sphere can go a long way. Let your boss and coworkers know about your problems and that sometimes you cannot Do All The Things. Remind people in your own life about this. I don’t like that I have to do it still, but I do. Otherwise things would just get worse.

6. Eat well. STOP eating any foods which disagree with you, no matter how much you might like them. One portion of my health regiment which I have mentioned before is going gluten-free. I’m still not perfect and forget about some foods including gluten, but the restriction helps. Given that my reaction to gluten now is lethargy and headaches, staying away from it means I am less likely to have a slump in energy levels.

7. Be patient and keep loving yourself. If you do all the outer steps but do not nurture yourself, your efforts will only go so far.

If you have chronic health problems, what do you find helps you on your healing journey?

I’m sharing this post at Simple Lives Thursday, and Tasty Traditions!

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Good bye gluten, I’ll miss you… and hello fun times!

Before I start on this post I would like to say that any dosing I mention is specific to my situation and should not be taken as a suggestion for anything else.

Just a few days after I posted my last update I had some interesting things happen. I had my follow-up consultation with Bari and told her the results of my meeting with the endocrinologist. At that point I was not sure what I could do and was feeling dejected with the situation.

Her response was anything but what I was expecting. She was thrilled! Because I was not given any prescriptions she had a broader range of options to suggest for me to try. Clearly I was still having troubles and was not at my usual self. That’s why I went to the doctor and why I hired my friend to help me. She still believed I had thyroid issues, even though my numbers were “normal” and also likely had adrenal issues still affecting me. As they did not show up in tests she dubbed it “sub-clinical.” This is because what is supposed to be my normal and indication of abnormal might have their own levels.

With the first consultation she suggested I cut down on gluten. I had been doing this some at her suggestion anyway, back when I saw her in February. Now she said it was time to cut down further and move toward a gluten-free diet. In addition, she suggested some herbs to add for supplementation. From the first time, I started doing a small daily dose of maca for hormonal balancing. Another her she mentioned, which I could not find at first, was Siberian ginseng also known as eleuthero, to help boost my energy levels. With this appointment, I got the scientific name, went out the next day, and found some in powdered form. I take a dosing in the morning along with the maca and a pinch in the evening.

My first morning taking eleuthero was May 9. The difference in how I felt from the day before was night and day. I went to work, did what I needed to do, and felt sharper than I had in far too long. I got through more of my work because I did not have to pause to remember what to do next. I kept getting up to do little things around the office. The next morning I felt better rested, despite having had less sleep than what I like. It’s not a placebo effect either. The change has been consistent over the last week and a half, and I feel it if I do not have the evening pinch.

There is one last supplement to be added and I am awaiting its arrival. That is tyrosine, an animo acid associated with the thyroid.

Now on to the diet changes…

Pizza! used under Creative Commons license.

The Saturday after my consultation, I had lunch plans with one of my closet friends. She and I had not gotten together in months for any sort of conversation and we have a long standing tradition of long lunches at a pizza place near my house. We caught up, laughed, plotted, did all we needed to in the course of the afternoon, and shared a medium pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

I got home from dropping her off at her house, and crawled right into bed for a few hours of nap. For the rest of the day I was feeling tired and muddled and could not do anything. I had the feeling that lunch would be my big goodbye to gluten anyway, and proved that I had to make the change. Since then I have still had some foods with wheat but each time I feel the reaction. It reminds me of the way I felt when I used to have asthma attacks coming on.

Going gluten-free in our culture is HARD. I have to rethink much of what I have eaten on a regular basis. Bread is gone. Beer is out. When I go out for food there is often a large portion of the menu now off-limits. It takes thought before I order.

While I like the shift in my energy levels, there is also a down side for me. For so long I have spent my days just getting through the moment and much gets pushed to the side. This is both literal and figurative. And I want to DO something about all this stuff now. Clean up all the piles, sort through the stuff thrown in corners, spend days writing up all the ideas in my head. It would be easy to go into overdrive and do it all in the course of one night but that would backfire so much. Now I am learning to pace and prioritize, a lesson I’ve been trying to get down my whole life but thus far have not.

It’s been a lot of change. I’m taking my time and not kicking myself for a lack of supposed perfection.

The “fun” part is coming next week… and it will be both fun and tough. This past Friday I went into Manhattan to see my favorite band. Oh I needed that night. Brilliant music and got to reconnect with some of the most incredible people I know. And in just over a week I can enjoy their sounds again.

I just hope the tracks are fixed before I go again. I got down there without incident but getting home was a challenge.

So that is where things stand with my health right now. How are all of you doing?

Today is the last day for the homesteading ebook bundle sale. After midnight, this deal is gone for good!

Slices of life: Confession time

Somehow writing up a post like this is easier when the typing is happening in my head and not on the laptop.

I haven’t wanted to talk to this for a few reasons, mostly that I am a private person and that I am on the job market. The last thing I wanted was a potential employer to find out my health was not in the best shape. It could affect hiring. But so far I am not getting called back for interviews and I want to get back on this horse.

There is something wrong with me health-wise. So far I don’t know what it is. It started in August 2011, when I finished up my coursework for my Master’s degree. I think coming off that nearly constant stress and adrenaline push to get everything done is what kept my body from showing any problems beforehand. And after that, oh… I was tired at all the time. My brain turned into fog, and I had trouble with focus and concentration. And as time went on it got worse. I would cancel plans, not go out and see people. After several months of this, my weight started to go back up again. Between 2002 and 2008 I lost 90 pounds. Within a year I gained back 50.

In January of this year I hit my breaking. It had been almost 18 months since the problems began and they were only getting a little better as time went on. I went to a doctor to get tested for hypothyroidism and see if they had any other ideas of what might be wrong. The first test came back as borderline hypothyroid. I was given two options with the result: pills or visiting an endocrinologist. I opted for the latter, which turned out to be a good thing. The endocrinologist said that my level was not worth going on medication. When he dispenses it, it is for patients with levels that would have made mine look very normal. And it’s immaterial. The second test done for my thyroid showed that they were fine. In fact, all my numbers were great.

But I’m still tired a lot. My usual vim and vigor remain low. And I am not sure what to do. I have started working with my friend Bari in her professional capacity as holistic nutritionist. Now that we have had some appointments and time to talk, her first big recommendation was for me to go gluten free. It is taking me a little while to get there, between gathering together the food replacements and planning new menus.

Which means I need to get back to cooking in a big way. And that means fodder for posts to put up here.

And May is going to be a busy month. I have 2 (!) giveaway in the works and an ebook sale package coming up, all thanks to the wonder women in the Nourished Living Network. Plus my favorite band will be playing a few shows in New York City and there is no way I am not going to be there for most of them. Then add to that the end of the fiscal year coming up at my job. The job where I have been doing the work of 2+ people since the fall, because two of my coworkers retired last year. Let me tell you, that has been a lot of fun while feeling like I have been. Thankfully everyone has been sympathetic to how I have been feeling and we’re all helping each other where we can.

This all means I am going to marshal what energy I do have and make the most of it. For a long time it’s been too easy to lose myself in watching shows on Netflix, playing video games, and sometimes just staring at the computer without doing anything else. That is not me. My ambitious, energetic self still remembers what it feels like to DO a lot, and wants it back.

I would also like to say a heart-felt thank you to every single person who has been liking me on Facebook this year. One of my hopes for 2013 is to push my fan numbers up to 2,000. When I started the year it was a little over 1,000. Getting halfway to my goal in only 5 months still astounds me. Especially considering I have been a lot more quiet. So thank you all.

My favorite cough remedies

I had a wonderful trip last week. The day after Thanksgiving I flew down to Florida to visit my best friend and see Eddie Vedder perform solo. Originally this show was slated to happen in May but due to injury the tour was pushed back to October-December. The week was wonderful and restful, the show to knock off your socks (and his girls came on the stage during the show at different times, they are so cute!), and I got baby cuddles on a daily basis.

My new niece M. Isn’t she sweet? Just three months old now.

There is one drawback to these trips though: my sinuses. For all that traditional food has helped me clear up asthma and arthritis, two chronic conditions which have plagued me for a long time, my allergies remain. And with an extended period of allergy issues comes a lot of post-nasal drip coughing. Today has been bad, so I have been turning to my favorite home remedies for cough.

Have you taken a look at what is in your cough syrup and lozenges lately? Last year I did, because I needed a quick fix. Or so I thought. Then I looked at one of each item from known national brands. Both contained high fructose corn syrup. The same thing the Corn Refiners Association (the people who make it, not even the farmers growing corn) is trying to sell us on being just the same as table sugar. Never mind that is has been proven to cause more weight gain. There is also evidence to suggest that HFCS is linked with type 2 diabetes.

And this is in the stuff we’re supposed to take to heal us. Please. I cut out HFCS in 2004 and have never looked back. The last thing I want to do is ingest a medicine with it. That’s not going to help.

So I turn to my home remedies. The first one I got from one of my alternative medicine books years ago. It’s an ayurvedic remedy good for all types. The key to this remedy is in the freshly ground black pepper*. Don’t use already ground, as it is devoid of the oils which will heat up the body and clear the mucus.

The second is mullein leaf*. I discovered this one last year after dealing with another coughing fit. Just make into a tea and drink!

Ayurvedic cough remedy
Makes one dose

1 teaspoon honey or ghee/clarified butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I find that 12 peppercorns ground up makes the right amount)

Mortar and pestle, or another way to grind up peppercorns
Small bowl

1. Grind up peppercorns and put in bowl.

2. For a cough with a hoarse voice, use ghee. If the voice is not hoarse, use honey. Mix appropriate item in with the pepper.

3. Take on a full stomach. This remedy can be taken 3 times a day for 3-5 days.

1. You can make your own clarified butter at home. A quick search will reveal directions.
2. PLEASE do not use honey from major suppliers. For one, local honey will boost your immune system. For two, high fructose corn syrup is now used to stretch honey. Bees are also now being fed high fructose corn syrup instead of honey.

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Lust, John. The herb book. 1974.
Gottlieb, Bill. New choices in natural healing. 1995.

*Denotes affiliate link. If you click and buy something from Mountain Rose Herbs I will receive a small commission.

I’m sharing this post at Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Make Your Own Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Party Wave Wednesday, and Sunday School!