Posts Tagged ‘health’

Sprouted Flour Is Blowing My Mind!

Gluten-free folks (and everyone else) pay attention to my words!


Here’s what’s got me so excited:

  • increased nutrient/vitamin levels
  • increased bioavailability of nutrients
  • easier on the system–body digests it as a vegetable  (not a grain)
  • all the benefits of whole grain without the more bitter taste
  • ACTS GLUTINOUS — stretchy pizza dough, fluffy cakes….!!!

I feel some baking coming on! I’ll let you know how it turns out….


Read More (Who knew? You can….)

Starch intolerant or Gluten intolerant? 

Benefits, a bit of History and Resource/Recipe Page

Order sprouted flour — Essential Eating — (Has a ton of info and high standards for production)

Pizza dough recipe (I had this the other day. My friend added a bit of rosemary to the dough. Oh. My. Goodness.)

Sunday Surf: The Real Deal

Usually I cheat and make Sunday Surf on a theme to provide information. Today is the real deal. These are just articles and things I’ve looked at that I think are worth sharing:

Building a Table (from Palumba)

From Conception to Birth

Trying to Conceive Naturally: What Are the Next Steps? (Natural Parents Network)

TTC (trying to conceive) is a hard place to be. I didn’t explain in my miscarriage post, but trying to conceive after that felt like a whole to do. About the only thing that actually helped was acupuncture. (I had an extra long cycle that got cut down by about a week, and regulated my hormone levels a bit, I believe.) Still, I did the thermometer, ovulation kits, herbs and more. In the end, I got fed up and gave up trying and that was the time we conceived my daughter. Interestingly, it also happened to be one year to the cycle of my lost baby’s conception.

This is a great NPN post sharing the range of options available to those TTC .

Please Sign Here, You Have No Rights (Birth Without Fear)

Technically, you can go into a hospital with a napkin that says “I consent to

Mother and Baby: Positioning after Birth (Delayed Cord Clamping: Cord Clamping Information and Research)


“I do wonder if more women gave birth without interference (or out of water maybe), would we be more accustomed to seeing mother-directed third stage of labour – where women might have a short rest before attending to her baby – and have a greater appreciation and understanding of physiological fetal-to-neonatal transition?

It is instinct in some mammals to rest in the first 30s-1m or so after birth – leaving the baby undisturbed during placental transfusion. Do we have these same instincts, to be above our babies, to gaze at and touch our babies, to watch them breathe and check the cord…before lifting our babies up?



I found this company after looking for solid wood tables for my daughter. They are pricier than plastic counterparts (or DIY, if you can/are interested in making your own things). All of their products are beautiful, however, so they make a good suggestion for folks trying to buy you stuff that maybe you don’t want… grandparents. This stuff is built to last and inspire the imagination. Here’s more about them:

“We specialize in organic, natural, sustainably built, handmade children’s items created from all natural materials. Palumba’s offering of safe, non-toxic childrens toys, musical items, art supplies and clothing are all dedicated to the natural home.

Best of all, 80% of our toys are made in the USA; the rest are crafted in Fair Trade Cooperatives. All of our toys are made without any toxins or unsafe parts. They are all of heirloom quality, hand crafted and sustainably made with care and integrity.”

Understanding Brain Development in Young Children

Some recent research on how the brain develops, how it is constructed and periods of brain development (language, physical, emotional and so forth). Of course the point is that children’s brains are laying the wiring down in the first years. Here’s the conclusion:

“The development of a child’s brain holds the key to the child’s future. Although the “first years last forever” in terms of the rapid development of young children’s brains, the actual first years of a child’s life go by very quickly. So touch, talk, read, smile, sing, count and play with your children. It does more than make both of you feel good. It helps a child’s brain develop and nourishes the child’s potential for a lifetime.”

Idea List for Toddler/Preschooler Activity Bags (Intrepid Murmurings)

This post is an absolute gold mine of ideas for keeping little hands engaged and exploring — easy, quick and packed full of potential! Seriously, every one is something doable, creative and fun!

Finished Chair!


Best of 2011 from Natural Parents Network Volunteers

Take the time it takes to surf through these links — awesome stuff! These piqued my interest:

        • Why Do Children Have More Food Allergies Than Ever Before? — I don’t want to give things away because it’s an important read….
        • An-depth and informative post about the menstrual cup option, specifically the Diva Cup.
        • A bittersweet post about an (abrupt) child-led end to a cosleeping relationship — of course this made me want to stare at my daughter in the middle of the night and hug her close, especially with another baby on the way and our solo time in bed ending….
        • 80 Uses for Coconut Oil gave me lots of ideas of what to do with the super good stuff I got from a local guy at our coop. This stuff is good for you–all of you!
        • The Best First Food for Baby made me understand why my daughter might have eaten the way she did on our baby-led solids journey. Fascinating!

One Teacher’s Approach to Preventing Gender Bullying in a (1st Grade) Classroom

One of my former students brought this to my attention. It made me think about all the ways in which my environment as a parent trying to raise my daughter is gendered from before birth. Try finding a “girl” shirt that doesn’t have ruffles or puffs or shiny bits or flowers. Even Melissa and Doug has a toy in a “friendship” set (pink and flowery) and a “vehicles” set (primary colors and all vehicles). This article took a glimpse into the classroom to see how these gendered realities are affecting children and their relationships.

Don’t Fix These Toddler Struggles

Loved this post because it not only normalizes the struggles that toddlers have but gives confidence and encouragement to caregivers to trust children and their natural learning processes. What seems like a problem to the adults isn’t necessarily problematic to children…

The Tandem Mommy (

As someone hoping to see if the tandem experience is for my daughter and I (and baby #2), this post felt like a real, honest and helpful post. As always, the comments are good to go through as well.

Sunday Surf: Alternative Parenting Info for Family and Friends

Holidays and celebrations usually mean family get togethers and all that comes with those situations.

For many, this is a joyous time when perhaps people who rarely enjoy sharing the same space have a day or more to “live together” in some ways. What happens when the small family unit chooses to live differently than the family at large? For parents who subscribe to alternative/gentle/positive/natural/attachment whatever you call it parenting, the coming together of different styles of raising children can cause tension and frustration. Some families also have a hard time over the phone or the internet.

A few things I think cause trouble are a lack of compassionate understanding of the various “sides” and feelings of judgment and defensiveness that block communication. This happens for everyone, but it seems that the hows, whats and whys of a less typical type of parent are less known (and also, therefore, respected?). I know I wish that my family could read some of the articles that shape my parenting choices.

What follows is a rough draft of my dream list of 10 blog posts to give someone a sense of where I am currently coming from as a mother. (Yes, I reserve the right to change and learn and grow.)

***Last minute addition!***

I just found this post on the 10 RIE principles of caregiving, and it addresses all the main issues I’ve been trying to raise with my own family. I may even share it with said family…….

10 Articles to Help Understand My Parenting Aspirations

Wordless Wednesday: Perfectly Crooked!

Smoothie Making Complete!

Having fun in the kitchen lately, cooking toddler style–much pride, joy, concentration and tasting! Made two little movies. (Well, I guess they’re longish at 5 min but the far away grandparents love every picture they can get.)

Making Smoothies

Making Pancakes

Green Smoothie Recipes:

Yummy, Healthy (First) Birthday Cake

UPDATE: November 2012

For my daughter’s third birthday, I made these cupcakes with sifted sprouted spelt flour. They were the most delicious attempt at these cupcakes I have ever made. I went lighter on the spices, but the flour made the cupcakes absolutely delicious. Made the icing with cream cheese, butter and whipping cream–light and lightly sweetened. Perfect!


My daughter’s second birthday is rolling around faster than I expect it. Plus, there are a number of almost one-year olds with fall birthdays. I thought it might be a good time to get out some good birthday cake recipes.

Unfortunately, I had compiled a ton of links in my old bookmark bar. Alas, they are all gone and along with them my recipe for Uma’s first birthday cake. Such a shame because that was some yummy cake! All I really remember is that I made chai carrot cupcakes for a November birthday, and they couldn’t have been a bigger hit with … the adults. I mean, the children ate some, but all the big people had to work hard to exercise some control. I think they tasted even better because they were only slightly sweet and I put tons of cardamon in, which I love.

I’m including a link to the recipe I think I followed, my actual ingredients as best I remember, links on egg/dairy/gluten free substitution and some other links to (first) birthday cake recipes, including raw cakes!

Chai Carrot Cupcakes (modified from Carrot Cake with Maple Icing)


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups safflower oil
  • 4 large eggs (egg replacements below–can’t remember what I used, sadly)
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger (or more…or less)
  • spices to taste (1 tsp or less for stronger, up to a tbsp or more for weaker…or none) — cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon….I suppose if adventurous you could use black pepper, clove, star anise or even fennel as your taste prefers…


  • 10 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), room temperature
  • maple syrup to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


Egg replacements (Note: This link is broken down by type of food and more comprehensive than what’s below)

  • 2 tbsp corn starch = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • 1 banana = 1 egg in cakes

Wheat Flour Substitutes (not all gluten free, but many of those are on there)

Vegan Icing Ideas:

  • Coconut Icing (GF)
  • Use dairy-free cream cheese and/or soy margarine (see recipes in link above)
  • Leave off the icing — these cupcakes are YUM!


RAW Cakes

Hurricane Irene and Me

Hello!  I’m Jen, mama-partner in “A Living Family”.  I’ve been contemplating writing posts for weeks, so I’m sorry to meet you all under such dire circumstances.  I’ve been compiling and analyzing hurricane (and related) emergency procedures for the past few days, so I’m hoping that it might help some other East Coast families out there.

First of all, know what’s coming and what is happening!  While you have power and Internet, check out the NOAA and Weather Channel.  Check out the map projections and your hyper-local weather.  It helps me feel better to know what to expect and when to expect it, to the best of our knowledge.  Get a battery-powered/crank radio. Maybe sign up for alerts on your phone.

Next is to hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  Here are some links that helped me:

Weather Channel:  Hurricanes, Flooding, Supply Kit, Home Prep.

I like the NOAA website.  It has quizzes at the end to make sure you remember the info. 😉 Hurricane Preparedness.  You can download this handy PDF to read at your leisure on your battery-powered computer, eBook or smartphone.

FEMA state pages:  NJ, PA, NY  You can find all states here.  Look for your county evacuation and storm surge maps, and print/download it, just in case.  I really like New Jersey’s pages, they have a lot of great info, including sheltering-in-place and evacuation.

I really like the author of this article (I read her sustainability blog frequently.)  In the future, I’d like to discuss lifestyles that would make most emergency/disaster preparations easier, including having a pantry, storing water and growing/storing your own food, with an eye to how society lived pre-electricity.  (Because besides having a safe location, aren’t most of our planning arrangements centering on dealing with that?)

Breastfeeding/pumping moms might want to check out these articles:  Lanisoh, US Breastfeeding, ILCA.

We have three cats and a house bunny (our Jack Russell lives with my parents).  In case of mandatory evacuation, know that emergency shelters do not accept pets. Here is more info from NJ FEMA and here are PDFs for pets and livestock.

Yes, I really read all of these (last night).  It’s not too much of a stretch to say I was FREAKING OUT.  I felt so unprepared, I wanted to cry!  Information (even dire information) helped me realize all that I needed to do.  So here is some of my list:

Bring in gnome, plants, welcome mat.  Take out outside light bulb.  Bring in Beanie’s tricycle and little swing set and put in living room for playtime.

Ask landlord about how to shut off gas and electric.  We use an automatic garage door opener but there is a side door.  Get key.

We need to store water, but have no bathtub and few jars.  Unpack all our Rubbermaids full of clothes in storage, wash, disinfect and fill with water.  Use Brita filter as needed.  (Yes, its crappy. I wish we had the lovely Berkey filter that can filter even contaminated water.)

Get all our “emergency” stuff in a laundry basket.  Find LED candles.

Get all cat stuff ready: travel crates/blankets, dishes, food.  Put them in dog crate and transfer if necessary.  Clip nails so they don’t scratch too bad when they get freaked out.

Unplug everything and put safety plugs in holes.  Put electronics in closets so they don’t get wet in case windows break.  Also mirrors.  Also light bulbs.  Ditto kitchen breakables.

Back up computers and put drive in lock box.

Get tapes and CDs together for Beanie.  Look through “Unplugged Play” book for fun ideas.

Our shopping list included food that we usually don’t buy in Target:  PB, honey, summer sausage, bread, canned rice and beans, Pop Tarts.  We were looking for Tang, but they didn’t sell it. 😦  Also, new windshield wipers and disposable diapers (we use cloth, hopefully we can get them all washed before tomorrow.)  And LOTS of pet food.

I hope this post will be useful to those in the path of Irene.  Blessings of safety and health for all.  See you on the other side!

Heat vs. Cook?: The Hard Truth about Canned Food

I said in the Nachos Round II post that we are trying to use our remaining canned food. We want to stop buying the plastic lined aluminum cans and go with whole beans. Cans have allowed us to make meals quickly when we are hungry and tired by skipping over the cooking step. Why would we give up such a timesaver?

The aluminum can linings may include BPA. BPA contains endocrine inhibitors that can cause mental and physical health problems in children and adults. [Here is a link to over 100 peer-reviewed studies.] Many people have stopped using plastic water bottles for this reason. However, aluminum cans are an unmarked threat. It is hard to know if the cans we have contain BPA or not.

In addition to the desire to avoid BPA, we want to eat more whole foods. Happily, this is supportive of the Living Family we want to create with a slower lifestyle. So, now we want to learn to cook whole beans. In fact, we are looking for bean cooking tips. Know any?

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