Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition News & Other Articles for Your Well Being

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Red and Green Hot Sauce Recipe for Freezing

I made two different recipes, a green hot sauce and a red hot sauce from a variety of different peppers from my garden.

Red Hot Sauce Recipe

  • 1 lb of hot peppers that are redish in color (I mostly used cowhorn, cayenne peppers, serrano, and a couple habanero peppers)
  • 2 medium carrots chopped up (large chunks is fine)
  • 1 chopped onion (large chunks is fine)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 1 TBS of salt
  • 3 TBS of liquid pectin

Chop tops off peppers (I leave the seeds in for extra heat). Add all ingredients except pectin to pot and bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Place in Vitamix and blend at around 7 for a minute (medium-high; don’t want to chop up the seeds).

Strain mixture into fine mesh collander (keep the liquid but discard the pulp). Use force to press as much liquid out as possible.

 

Green Hot Sauce Recipe

For this recipe I only used the green-colored hot peppers from my garden (mostly jalapenos, cowhorn, cayenne, serrano, and a couple habaneros)

  • 1 lb of peppers
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 1 TBS of salt

Chop stems of peppers off (leave seeds intact) and throw in Vitamix blender with rest of ingredients. Blend at around 7 for a minute (medium-high; don’t want to chop up the seeds).

Strain mixture into fine mesh collander (keep the liquid but set aside the pulp). Use force to press as much liquid out as possible.

Note: this makes a really runny hot sauce. You may want to heat it up and add 3 TBS of liquid pectin to it if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Don’t throw the pulp away! Store it in the fridge and make green chile verde sauce another day. Trust me, it’s amazing.

To store the hot sauces, I just put some in the refrigerator and some in the freezer. If you want to can it, make sure you heat it up properly before canning.

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Gluten-free Vegetarian Breakfast Hash Recipe

This gluten-free vegetarian hash recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch.

Vegetarian Hash Recipe

Vegetarian Breakfast Hash

  • hash browns
  • eggs (or omit to make it vegan)
  • diced green onions
  • diced tomoatoes
  • black beans
  • sliced avocado
  • sprouts

Cook hashbrowns, then top with diced green onions, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, sprouts and over easy eggs.

Goes great with hot sauce.

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Sundried Tomato & Spinach Pasta with Toasted Pinenuts Recipe

Sundried Tomato & Spinach Pasta Recipe

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 TBS toasted pinenuts
  • parmesan
  • pasta  (16 oz dried) (or substitute spaghetti squash instead if you want a gluten-free meal)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and heat until cream cheese melts (stir every few minutes or so). Meanwhile boil pasta in a separate pot. Once water is boiling, I then add the spinach to the sauce mixture (and turn down temperature to low on sauce). Once pasta is cooked, combine it with the sauce, add toasted pinenuts and toss with some freshly grated parmesan.

Enjoy!

Note: To toast pinenuts, simply toss with a little bit of olive oil and broil at 400 degrees for just a few minutes. Keep your eye on these as they can get done rather quickly – take them out once they are a light brown color.

Note: this recipe is also great with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. To roast a spaghetti squash, slice lengthwise, scoop out seeds (save those separately to roast like pumpkin seeds) and place face down on cookie sheet in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or so until soft. Take a fork and run it lengthwise inside the squash to receive spaghetti strands. Toss with pasta sauce.

Serves 4

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Stuffed Acorn Squash with TruRoots Sprouted Bean Trio Recipe

Here’s a couple different recipes I made with acorn squash and their seeds.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries & TruRoots Sprouted Beans Recipe

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cranberries (I used fresh; I typically buy a bunch when in season and freeze some bags for later use)
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils/mung bean mixture (I buy TruRoots Sprouted Bean Trio)

Cut acorn squash open. Scoop out seeds and set aside. Place squash face down on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Combine cranberries & sprouted bean mixture and toss with a little olive oil and place inside acorn squash once cooked.

 

Acorn Squash with Spanish Rice & Black Beans

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup of spanish rice
  • 1/4 cup of black beans

Cut acorn squash open. Scoop out seeds and set aside. Place squash face down on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Combine spanish rice & black beans and toss with a little olive oil and place inside acorn squash once cooked. I like this served with hot sauce.

Between those two recipes I personally preferred the spanish rice/black bean recipe but the cranberry one was good for something different. Next time i might try dicing up some apples and adding some cinnamon to the sprouted bean mix instead of the cranberries.

 

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

  • squash seeds (also works good with butternut squash and spaghetti squash seeds)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Toss the seeds in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast at 325 for about 45 minutes or so, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

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Hookworm & Helminthic Therapy to Treat Auto Immune Diseases

Using Parasitic Worms, like Hookworm for Autism, Allergies, Chrohns, MS and more

Have you heard that some people are infesting themselves with parasites on purpose?

What?!

It’s called helminthic therapy and basically it’s a practice of using parasitic worms like whipworm and hookworm to treat auto-immune diseases such as Chrohn’s, MS and ulcerative colitis. It is also being researched as a treatment option for those suffering with asthma, allergies and autism. Some businesses advertise it as “living probiotics.” According to Wormswell, they’ve seen an 80% success rate from those who tried their therapy.

Immune disorders are much rarer in less developed countries where helminthic infestation is widespread and ‘good’ hygiene is lacking. Things like antibacterial soap, antibacterial baby wipes, hand sanitizer and general ‘good’ hygiene are of course very important, but have we taken things too far?

It seems like the more sterile the environment gets, the more cases of asthma, allergies and autoimmune conditions we see. But then again, correlation does not imply causation. The question is, can the human immune system properly regulate itself without exposure to common pathogens which have co-evolved with humans for thousands of years?

There are millions who are suffering from allergies, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases. And there are millions of dollars being spent on conventional treatment therapies. Could the solution really be as simple as going to a poor country and getting exposed to something as basic as hookworm to restore our natural equilibrium?

How Does Helminthic Therapy Work?

By nestling in the gastrointestinal tract of their host, the helminths (aka “worms”) seem to increase mucus production, possibly by producing large amounts of an inflammatory signaling molecule called IL-17. Unbalanced or dysregulated IL-17 production can lead to excessive inflammation and autoimmune symptoms. IL-17 family cytokines have been linked to many autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.

Basically in helminthic therapy, the larva enters the bloodstream and is eventually coughed up and then swallowed into the digestive system, where it lives harmoniously.

According to an article on BBC, when helminths infect individuals and attach themselves in their hosts’ gastrointestinal tracts, the immune system launches an attack, while at the same time issuing a chain of anti-inflammatory orders to ensure the response does not get out of hand. People who survived infection have passed on immune advantages to future generations.

Ok, so basically 2 billion people (with basically none being in the US) are passing on immune advantages to future generations. But what about that portion on ‘survived infection’? Here’s more data. According to WHO, hookworms have long been recognized as an important cause of intestinal blood loss leading to iron deficiency and protein malnutrition. Because of their underlying poor iron status, children, women of reproductive age, and pregnant women are frequently the ones most susceptible to developing hookworm anemia (Brooker, Bethony, and Hotez 2004). WHO (2002) estimates that 27,000 people die annually from soil-transmitted helminth infections and schistosomiasis. Considering that about 2 billion people worldwide are infested with hookworm, that leads to a fatality rate of 0.0014 percent.

Helminthic Therapy Studies & Treatment Options

In numerous animal studies, helminth infestation has protected rodents against colitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies and type 1 diabetes. There’s been small, independent studies going on regarding the use of helminths, but none of these trials have reached phase 3, the final testing stage required to gain approval. Since there is not much monetary profit to gain with hookworms, there isn’t much of a budget for research. It is likely to be awhile (if ever) before we see helminthic therapy treatments getting performed in the United States. Currently, there is a helminthic therapy company in Mexico providing treatment options. Otherwise you can infect yourself, like Jasper Lawrence did.

Ok. So let’s just say I were to become infested with hookworms. What if it’s not working or I change my mind? Hookworms and whipworms can be eliminated at any time with a course of albendazole, made by GlaxoSmithKline. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas administered by dentists) also has a high success rate of killing the hookworms.

Conclusion & Overall Thoughts on Helminthic Therapy

Getting over the ‘ick’ factor is a tough one for me. But considering the low cost and ease of reversal, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea out there. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t more research and data out there.

What are your thoughts? Are you willing to play guinea pig and be a host for worms? Why or why not?

Dutch Oven Cobbler Recipe for Camping

I bought a dutch oven last year to allow for a larger variety of camping recipes in the wilderness. The difference between this cobbler recipe and the ones you find online is mine is made with a minimal amount of processed food.

Many recipes call for a box of yellow cake mix for the cobbler topping, but I prefer to make my own. Here’s a few different recipes depending if you want the more traditional style or a healthier recipe (yet still extremely tasty). Before you go camping choose one of the cobbler topping recipes listed below and place all ingredients into a ziplock bag to make things easier while you’re relaxing by the campfire.

Don’t forget to bring this with you camping:

  • Dutch oven
  • fruit for cobbler (either canned or fresh is fine)
  • instant tapioca  (this is to keep the texture good)
  • cobbler topping (all ingredients thrown together in ziplock bag for easy preparation)
  • 1 stick of butter (if you’re a vegan try using coconut oil instead)

Traditional Cobbler Topping Recipe:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar

Oatmeal & Quinoa Cobbler Topping Recipe (my favorite):

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup of quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup of sugar

Note: I’ve found that two cans of fruit is the right amount for 4-5 people and three cans is the right amount for about 6-8 people. If using canned fruit, try to keep your eye out for cans that don’t include high fructose corn syrup (better to stick with ones that only contain fruit, water and sugar). If you’re using fresh fruit I recommend adding 1/4 cup of water and 2 Tablespoons of sugar to the fruit. Also, if I’m planning on cooking breakfast in the dutch oven the following morning, I’ll typically line the dutch oven with aluminum foil (not the healthiest thing…I know…) for easy cleanup.

Note: to make this recipe gluten-free, substitute the flour for more oats and quinoa flakes

Directions:

  • Pour fruit in dutch oven.
  • Next add about 1 Tablespoon of instant tapioca to the fruit and stir.
  • Dump cobbler topping on top of fruit mixture.
  • Slice up butter thin and place evenly on top of cobbler topping.
  • Cover and cook with charcoal briquettes. (about 10 on top and 10 on bottom will take about an hour)

Some of my favorite combinations:

  • Blackberry Cobbler
  • Peach & Raspberry Cobbler

Do you have any other variations of this recipe that you would like to see? Feel free to post comments 🙂

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Lavender Essential Oil for Camping First Aid Kit

Lavender Essential Oil is another thing I always keep in my first aid kit while camping. I’ve had to pull it out a few times when my toddler tipped over next to the campfire and burned his hand. I’ve also had a friend burn herself on a camping lantern (I’ve had a close call with that lantern as well) where it left marks on her finger. Simply place a drop or two of the essential oil on the burn. For toddlers and infants, as well as sunburns, I’d recommend diluting it in a carrier oil such as almond oil or coconut oil. Lavender is also very calming in nature and inhaling it can have a calming effect on the whole body.

About Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender contains Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalol (25-38%) which have local analgesic and anesthetic effects. It also contains Terpinen-4-ol (2-6%) which, like Linalol, is an antibacterial agent. These two contribute to Lavender’s anti-bacterial properties, which in the case of a burn is very important. The French scientist Rene Gattefosse first discovered lavender’s ability to help speed wound recovery and tissue regeneration when he severely burned his arm and placed it in a vat of lavender essential oil back in the early 1900s. Today, lavender essential oil is still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia.

Other Treatments for Burns for Your First Aid Kit

Aloe vera is also great (especially on sunburns) although I typically find that travelling around with a small plant isn’t as convenient as having a small bottle of lavender essential oil.

Note: do not put anything on 3rd degree burns (for those you should be seeking medical help)!

Tips for Taking Infants & Toddlers Camping

The thought of camping with an infant or toddler frightens many parents, but as long as you’re somewhat prepared, it will be a whole lot more fun than you think. My husband and I took our son camping for the first time when he was 3 weeks old and again when he was 6 weeks old and he did awesome! Here’s my advice when it comes to camping with young children…

Don’t Be in a Hurry

Make sure you bring plenty of snacks and books for the car ride and expect to take a couple breaks on the way there and back. As long as you set the expectation with yourself and your spouse that it will take you much longer to get to your destination compared to what Google Maps tells you, you’ll be much more relaxed.

Stay Warm

Bring plenty of blankets, hats and warm clothing for the evening. For infants I’d recommend a fleece bunting (like the one made by Patagonia) that encloses their feet. Otherwise make sure to keep them wrapped up in blankets. For toddlers that toss and turn in bed where you can’t keep any blankets on them, consider purchasing a sleeping bag that they can’t wiggle out of (here’s the one I use)

Don’t force the 8pm Bedtime

If you try to stick to your schedule and put your kids to bed at 8pm, you’ll only end up frustrated. Unless your child is passed out where putting him/her to bed is super easy, don’t even attempt it. Trying to get them to go to sleep in a new area (such as a tent or a camper) can be pretty scary for a toddler, especially when you leave them alone and go back to the campfire. Just strap a headlamp to their head and let them hang out with you until they either crash or until you decide that its your bedtime as well.

Nightlight

Bringing along a stuffed animal night light (or equivalent) can be great in case your toddler gets scared of the dark. You can set it so the light goes off after a set amount of minutes that way it’s not on all night.

Stay Hydrated

Normally I’m not a fan of giving juice to my kids due to added sugar but when we’re outside all day in the hot sun, it’s good to carry a few options (like juice boxes or squeezable food pouches) other than water to help them stay hydrated.

Warming Up Bottles

If you have an infant that is going to want a hot bottle make sure you bring along a thermos and make sure it is always full of hot water. Add some hot water to the formula (along with regular temperature water) until its the right temperature.

Backpack or Infant Carrier

For hiking around during the daytime make sure to bring along an infant carrier or backpack for your child to ride in.

Dealing with Nap Time While Camping

It’s best to plan either a hike or some driving time around the middle of the day (or whenever nap time is). That way they can easily fall asleep in the backpack or their car seat.

Toys for Around Camp

There’s only a couple toys that you need to bring along in my opinion:

  1. a bike (balance bikes work great for the uneven terrain but watch out, toddlers can disappear really fast on a bike so make sure to keep your eye on them)
  2. pail and shovel

Other Essentials

You’re going to want something to place your infant in at the camp spot while you’re busy with other tasks. This could be a bassinet, bouncer or some type of portable pack ‘n play.

That’s it. Any questions? Let me know how it goes and if you have any other advice or tips please share it in the comments section.

Happy Camping!!

Emergency Kit & Treatment for Snake or Spider Bites When Hiking

Natural Treatments for Snake & Spider Bites for Emergency Situations

As an avid hiker, my husband and I have come across quite a few rattlesnakes while hiking through southern Utah and many times we were hours away from the nearest hospital. Since I always like to be prepared for anything, I always carry my hand-dandy homemade emergency kit. Obviously if you ever get bit by a snake (or other venomous creatures like Black Widows or Brown Recluse) you’ll want to seek emergency treatment right away. But sometimes hopping in a car and driving to the hospital isn’t exactly an immediate option which is why I always carry activated charcoal in my backpack along all of my hikes and mountain bike rides.

What is Activated Charcoal?

The simplest description of charcoal is the hard black remains left over after your campfire has gone out. Quite invisible to the eye is the tremendous surface area hidden within the countless folds and cracks of the charcoal particles. By subjecting the raw charcoal to the “activation” of oxidizing agents such as air, steam, or oxygen, at high temperatures, the internal structure of the charcoal particle is further eroded creating a very large surface area. This tremendous surface area translates into a tremendous potential to adsorb (not to be confused with ‘absorb’) large amounts of gases, toxins, poisons, or pollutants.

How to Use Activated Charcoal in an Emergency

Time is of the essence in order to maximize the effectiveness of the charcoal treatment, so it should be administered right away. To administer, dampen a piece of gauze with water and place a generous amount of powdered activated charcoal on both the wound and the wet gauze. Cover the gauze over the wound and tape it down with some medical tape. It should cover the entire extremity of the bite area, centering over the bite. During the first few hours make sure to replace the charcoal poultice with a new application approximately every 10 to 15 minutes.

Other Advice for Venomous Bites in the Middle of Nowhere

emergency kit for snake bites
I also carry echinacea capsules to digest in the case of a snake or spider bite in the middle of nowhere. Echinacea helps boost the immune system and can help fight against infections. It is also available in oil form for those who don’t mind the extra weight of the small glass jar. If bitten, I would take those pills/oil internally while applying the activated charcoal poultice to the external wound.

After a few hours of the charcoal poultice, I would then switch to bentonite clay (assuming you’re still in the middle of nowhere and haven’t made it to a hospital yet). Mix the bentonite clay with enough water to form a paste and apply to the wound. Cover with gauze and secure with medical tape. I keep a ziplock bag of Redmond Clay in the emergency kit that I keep in the vehicles.

If you’re an avid hiker or mountain biker who ventures off the beaten path, please do yourself a favor and add those products to your emergency kit. They are super cheap, they don’t take up much space and they’re super light-weight. And hopefully you’ll never need to pull them out.

Be safe! Please share this post with all your fellow hiking buddies.

The Risks of Taking Antibiotics While Pregnant

Antibiotics & Your Gut Microbiome

When a pregnant woman takes antibiotics, she’s changing her gut microbiome which is why it’s so important to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary. Abnormal gut flora may be a major contributing factor to the rise in a wide variety of childhood diseases and ailments. Plus, things like having a c-section can also take a toll on the gut microbiome.

Antibiotic Use in Womb Shows Higher Chance of Child Developing Asthma

A Danish study of over 30,000 kids showed that children whose mothers took antibiotics during their pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma, compared to mothers who didn’t take antibiotics. The study found that children exposed to antibiotics in the womb were 17% more likely to be hospitalized for asthma before the age of five. It also showed that the more antibiotics the mother took while pregnant, the higher the risk of the child developing asthma. The mothers who had four or more antibiotic treatments during pregnancy had three times the chance of their child with asthma compared to mothers who only had one antibiotic treatment. This study also showed that if the mother currently had asthma, the child would be twice as likely to develop asthma if she took antibiotics during the 3rd trimester (compared to mothers with asthma who did not use any antibiotics).

Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy Shows Higher Risk of Child Being Obese

A study from the International Journal of Obesity followed 436 children until their 7th birthday. Compared to children who were not exposed to antibiotics during their mother’s second or third trimester, those exposed had 84% (33–154%) higher risk of obesity, after multivariable adjustment.

Disclaimer: Obviously if you’re very sick and an antibiotic is the only thing that will help you get better, please take the antibiotic. In these cases, not treating your illness could be more risky for your baby’s health than exposing him or her to an antibiotic.