Don't Mess with Mama Gluten Free, Processed Free, Recipes, Natural Living, Real Food Fri, 19 Aug 2016 20:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Homemade DIY Sunscreen Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:46:04 +0000 Homemade DIY Sunscreen -

I LOVE the sun. I grew up in Hawaii and now live in sunny San Diego, so being in the sun and spending a lot of time outdoors is just part of my daily life. And my kids love playing outside too.

The struggle though has been to find sunscreen that can protect my kids but doesn’t have all the toxic chemicals in it.

See the problem with traditional sunscreens – especially those marketed for children – are some of the worst out there in terms of chemicals and additives. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports warns not to use aerosol spray sunscreens on babies and children because the particles from the spray that can be inhaled or swallowed can be harmful to kids.1

Uh, I don’t know about you but that’s pretty alarming to me. And every time I go to the beach or the pool, I see parents spraying their kids with aerosol sunscreens like there’s no tomorrow – most likely because they aren’t aware of the dangers of traditional sunscreens.

But that’s not all, traditional sunscreens have other ingredients that can be harmful to children, including oxybenzone (can cause allergic skin reactions), retinyl palmitate (may speed the development of skin tumors), and nano or miconized zinc oxide (can penetrate the skin and cause health issues). Check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list of worst scoring sunscreens for kids – which includes a list of very popular sunscreens marketed for children and families.

Which is why I’ve choose to make my own DIY sunscreen. I actually came up with this recipe on accident. I was making another batch of my Homemade Body Butter and thought – hmmm, what if I just added some zinc oxide as a sun block and beeswax to firm up the consistency. And BAM! That’s how this recipe was born. DIY is so much fun!

How to Make Homemade Sunscreen

About the Ingredients

Coconut oil is the carrier oil in this recipe and has a natural 4-6 SPF.

Shea butter also serves as a carrier oil and helps to moisturize the skin.

Beeswax helps to keep the sunscreen in a more solid consistency – perfect for a sunscreen stick or those hot, summer days – and locks the sunscreen and moisture to the skin.

Lavender essential oil is soothing to the skin and has a calming aroma – making it a perfect addition to any beauty or body care product.

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Zinc oxide (non nano) powder is a non-toxic sunblock that is the main ingredient in most sunscreens. It’s the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) first choice for sun protection. It’s stable in sunlight AND provides protection for both UVA and UVB rays (the two types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun).1 Choose non-nano zinc oxide powder as the particles are larger and won’t penetrate into the skin – that’s what makes zinc oxide give that white, chalky color that lifeguards used to wear. Conversely, nano or micronized zinc oxide have tiny particles and can enter the body through the skin – which may lead to health issues, thus it should be avoided.

Zinc Oxide Guidelines

So how much non-nano zinc oxide should you use? Use 10% zinc oxide to get about a SPF 10. Use 20% zinc oxide to get about a SPF 20.

So you can add a bit more to get a higher SPF, but really more than about SPF 25-30 isn’t really necessary as it’ll give you a false sense of sun protection. Rather than use a super high SPF, re-apply more often. I usually re-apply every hour, especially on my fair-skinned son.

The zinc does help this Homemade DIY Sunscreen to be waterproof too – but like anything – e.g. friction, sweat, etc. can all play a role. Don’t let the fact that zinc oxide is naturally waterproof give you a false sense of security that your kids can be out all day in the water without re-applying.

I suggest re-applying this Homemade DIY Sunscreen at least hourly, and if you’re playing sports or in the water a lot, keep checking to make sure you have enough coverage. Yes, I know commercial sunscreens may stay on the skin for hours at a time, but WHY. What is in those sunscreens that it actually stays on the skin for hours on end. I’d rather chose to re-apply often and use my Homemade DIY Sunscreen than expose my family to toxic chemicals.

See this kid? Yep, I don’t want to put anything toxic on him. So he’s got on my Homemade DIY Sunscreen.

Homemade DIY Sunscreen -

Homemade DIY Sunscreen Tutorial



  1. In a double boiler, add coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax and zinc oxide.
  2. Stir until beeswax is melted in mixture.
  3. Remove from heat, and add Lavender essential oil
  4. Fill these 2 oz. roll-up containers or these 2 oz. jars to make about 6 sunscreen containers to take on the go. You can use bigger containers too – it’s totally your preference. You’ll have about 12 oz of sunscreen with this recipe.
  5. Let the sunscreen cool for at least two hours before use, and store in a cool, dry place. Keep it out of direct sunlight. It has the beeswax to keep it from completely melting but direct sunlight and a hot environment may make it lose its solid-like consistency.

Homemade DIY Sunscreen -



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How to Make DIY Lotion Bars Mon, 20 Jun 2016 18:28:39 +0000 DIY Lotion Bars - so nourising and soothing for the body, safe for adults and children, made with simple ingredients -

Do you ever feel like you’re always on the go?

With three kids, I feel like we are constantly driving to/from school, afterschool activities, family-fun outings, or just on the road to visit friends and family. With all that travel, you bet I need something to keep my skin (as well as my kids’ skin) moisturized because it gets so dry here in California.

That’s why I wanted to find a way to take my homemade body butter on the go, but without the mess. So I came up with a super simple way to do it – add beeswax! Ta-da! Yep, it’s just that easy. I made DIY Lotion Bars using my homemade body butter recipe and added beeswax to it. It took me a while to figure out the right ratio, but I’ve got it down now and wanted to share it with you.

So if you’re planning a trip or just always on the go, you can take these DIY Lotion Bars with you. These make adorable gifts for birthday parties (um, anyone thinking a DIY beauty-themed party for little girls? ), holiday gifts, etc. I just made a bunch to give to my family and friends.

The best part is that these lotion bars are so inexpensive to make – just a little over 3 bucks to make a 1 oz bar (including the cost of the container). Compare that to the lotion bars in department stores that retail for $12-20 per 0.5 oz bar! So you get DOUBLE the lotion bar at about 1/6 of the price? Yep, and I’ll show you how to do it.

DIY Lotion Bars

About the Ingredients

  • Coconut oil is great for dry, scaly or itchy skin. It helps to naturally moisturize.
  • Shea butter is derived from the nuts of the shea tree, grown in Africa. It’s incredibly moisturizing and can help to protect skin from dryness.
  • Beeswax is moisturizing and helps to keep this DIY Lotion Bar in a solid form that makes it easy to travel.
  • Vitamin E is nourishing for the skin. It also helps to fight off free radicals and gives the skin a youthful appearance.
  • Lavender and Geranium essential oils (where to buy) are fantastic for the skin. Both help to protect and soothe the skin.



  1. Use a double boiler on low heat to melt all ingredients (except essential oils).
  2. Remove from heat once all ingredients have melted, and add essential oils.
  3. Fill silicone molds or tin containers (I really like these) and let cool for a couple of hours to firm up.

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How to Use DIY Lotion Bars

Once the lotion bars have solidified, you can rub them anywhere you need to moisturize – such as elbows, knees, arms, legs, etc. These DIY lotion bars are so gentle you can use them on babies and kids too.

DIY Lotion Bars - so nourising and soothing for the body, safe for adults and children, made with simple ingredients -

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DIY Fabric Freshener Spray (Homemade Febreeze) Mon, 20 Jun 2016 17:43:23 +0000 DIY Fabric Freshener Spray (Homemade Febreeze) - make the switch to this greener alternative to freshener up your clothes, closets, fabric couches and other fabrics -

Okay, okay I’m so guilty. I used to use store-bought fabric fresheners in my home all the time, especially my clothes. You see, in an effort to avoid washing my clothes after every wash, I’d just spray my clothes for to freshen it up.

But guess what? Those fabric fresheners are loaded with toxic chemicals. Those scents are artificial – I mean how do you bottle the scent of “linen and sky” or “meadows and mist”, right? But that’s not all. There’s so much going on below the surface. Those fabric fresheners have been linked to a number of health issues, including allergies, asthma, skin irritations and more.

In fact, Febreze, one of the leading fabric freshener spray on the market, actually got a F rating in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

The Problem with Store-Bought Fabric Fresheners

So let’s delve a little deeper. What’s exactly in these fabric freshener products? Let’s examine Febreze again from the EWG’s rating.

  • Proprietary odor eliminator – linked to skin irritations, allergies, acute and chronic aquatic toxicity
  • Quarternary ammonium compounds – linked to acute aquatic toxicity, respiratory effects, systemic/organ effects
  • Ethanolamine – linked to nervous system effectics, skin irritations, allergies, systemic/organ effects
  • Fragrance – linked to skin irritations, allergies, nervous system effects, respiratory effects
  • Benzisothiazolinone – linked to skin irritations and allergies
  • Silicon compounds
  • Yclodextrin
  • Alcohol denatured
  • Ethanol 
  • Hydrogenated castor oil
  • Odium hydroxide
  • Citric acid
  • Water
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can’t pronounce most of the ingredients on this list, and I don’t have a remote clue what they’re doing in this product. And you know how I feel about ingredients I can’t pronounce… they don’t belong in my home (and they shouldn’t in yours either).
Not to mention the proprietary odor eliminator could contain hundreds of chemicals that the company doesn’t have to disclose because it’s a secret recipe (therefore they can patent and choose not to disclose to the public). Sneak, sneaky.
Just the first 5 ingredients alone have an F rating with the EWG due to toxicity levels on the body. Is this what you want to use on your clothes, closets, couches, etc.? There is a better way, I’ll show you.

DIY Fabric Freshener Spray

It’s so stinkin’ (pun intended) easy to make your own DIY Fabric Freshener Spray (aka Homemade Febreze). All you need is a few simple ingredients you already have in your home.

So let’s get started so you can learn how to freshen fabrics in your home for just pennies and with simple ingredients. This recipe has just three ingredients that you probably already have in your home. This can be used to spray on linens, shoes, garbage cans, diaper pails or pretty much anywhere you want to eliminate odors.

Vodka or rubbing alcohol is used in this air freshener recipe as it dissipates quickly and doesn’t leave a residue on furniture or upholstery. It also helps to clear odors from the air and fabrics.

This DIY Air Freshener recipe is great for small spray bottles too. Keep it in the car to freshener the air on the go.

About the Ingredients

  • Vodka to help the water in this recipe dissipate faster
  • Essential oils provide the natural fragrance in this recipe



  1. Fill spray bottle with water and vodka.
  2. Add essential oils and cover with spray nozzle.
  3. Shake once or twice, then start using.

DIY Fabric Freshener Spray (Homemade Febreeze) - make the switch to this greener alternative to freshener up your clothes, closets, fabric couches and other fabrics -

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Photo credit: / Yastremska

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10 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:31:43 +0000 10 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil #essentialoils #natural -

Lemon essential oil is a must-have for the home. It’s great for cleaning nearly every surface of the home, purifying the air and has a fantastic refreshing scent. I often just uncap the bottle and smell the invigorating aroma. It literally feels like a fresh-cut lemon right under your nose.

So did you know that Lemon essential oil (where to buy) is derived from the rind of lemons – not the juice or the pulp? And it t takes 3,000 lemons to produce 1 kilo of Lemon essential oil. Pretty amazing, right? That’s a whole lot of lemons in just one bottle of Lemon essential oil.

For this blog post, I’m going to talk about topical and aromatic uses for Lemon essential oil. Remember with all citrus essential oils, if you use them topically (on the skin) they can make your skin photo-sensitive in the sun. I personally would avoid direct sunlight on any area of my skin where I applied any citrus essential oil. If you’re looking to use it for dietary purposes, check out Lemon Vitality essential oil(where to buy). It’s the exact same oil but the bottle has been labeled for dietary use.

Ready to learn how to use Lemon essential oil for your home? Let’s get started…

10 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

1. Natural Goo Gone

Get goo and gunk off virtually any surface with Lemon essential oil. Just add a few drops and work out the gunk with a paper towel. Works great for pesky sticker labels on bottles or that layer of dust that’s tough to get out on surfaces.

2. Stain Remover

Stained clothes? Rub Lemon essential oil all over the stain, then immediately put the item in the washing machine. Works like no other stain remover – even on dried-out stains!

3. DIY Body Scrub

Make your own DIY sugar scrub with Lemon essential oils. It’s just a few ingredients and the scent is refreshing.

4. Air Freshener

Add a few drops of Lemon essential oil to a spray bottle and fill with water. Spritz the air for a natural air freshener without all the chemicals in store-bought aerosol air fresheners. Check out these 30 essential oil diffuser recipes for more air freshener ideas.

5. Household Cleaner

You can make your own DIY household cleaner with Lemon essential oil to clean virtually every surface of your home. It smells great too.

6. Soft Scrub

Ditch those store-bought scrubs and make this DIY soft scrub instead. It’s so easy to make – just use a few drops of Lemon essential oil, Thieves Household Cleaner, and baking soda to make a paste that will clean tubs, tile, sinks, and so much more.

7. Oven Cleaner

Add a few drops of Lemon essential oil to 2 tbsp of baking soda and a little water to make a paste. This homemade cleaner works great for ovens.

8. Window Cleaner

Add a few drops of Lemon essential oil and 1 capful of Thieves Household Cleaner to a 16 oz. spray bottle and fill with water. Spray windows and mirrors and clean without streaks.

9. Bleach Alternative

Make your own DIY natural bleach alternative with a few drops of Lemon and Thieves essential oils and hydrogen peroxide.

10. Focus and Concentration

Add 3 drops of Lemon essential oil and 3 drops of Peppermint essential oil to a diffuser to help with focus and concentration – great for homework time, deadlines, and more.

What’s your favorite use for Lemon essential oil? Please comment below and share with us.

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10 Uses for Lemon Essential Oil #essentialoils #natural -

Photo credit: Oil Revolution Designs

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30 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes Fri, 11 Mar 2016 20:31:25 +0000  30 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes - great for beginners or anyone looking for new diffuser recipes -

What memory does the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies evoke? Or how about freshly cut grass?

When you smell a scent, it hits the limbic system of your brain – which controls your memories and emotions. So that freshly-baked cookie probably makes you feel good about that time with grandma. Isn’t that amazing?

Well, aromatherapy (or smelling essential oils) can do the same thing. They can help to support your mood and emotions. Think about how you feel when you smell a fresh-cut lemon or how about Lavender from the garden? Maybe energized from the lemon and relaxed with the lavender? Well, it’s no surprise. You see, essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic essences of those plants. And smelling them is a really effective way of using essential oils – we call this aromatic use. Be sure to check out How to Support Emotions with Essential Oils.

One of my favorite ways to aromatically use essential oils is with my diffuser, which uses just water and essential oil to disperse scents into the air. There’s no chemicals, no fillers, nothing. It’s different from a humidifier as it doesn’t heat up the essential oils – plus, humidifiers are not made to hold essential oils.

A diffuser is a unique household must-have that can replace those plug-in air fresheners – which contain chemical ingredients that have been linked to a number of serious health issues – and even scented candles – which are far from “natural”. When you see the term ‘fragrance’ on an air freshener or scented candle, remember that it can include up to 300 toxic chemicals but still just say ‘fragrance’. There have been a number of studies that have shown that both synthetic air fresheners and scented candles can pose health risks.

That’s okay, there’s a better way… use a diffuser with therapeutic-grade essential oils. I know it’s a little overwhelming when you first get a diffuser and essential oils, so I put together this list of my favorite essential oil diffuser recipes. Remember to follow the manufacturers directions on your diffuser for how to clean, type of water to use, number of drops of essential oil, etc.

I have several models of diffusers, and I find that when I’m use Young Living essential oils (which are incredibly concentrated) a little goes a long way – so just about 6-8 drops total in the diffuser along with water is perfect.

30 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes

1. Wake up happy
This is an uplifting to diffuse first thing in the morning to get everyone awake and in a good mood.

3 drops Bergamot essential oil
3 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

2. Wake up in the mountains
I love this duo as it reminds of waking up in the mountains in a gorgeous log cabin. The woodsy, pine aroma of the Balsam Fir smells wonderful with the floral Ylang Ylang.

3 drops Idaho Balsam Fir
3 drops Ylang Ylang

3. Wake up energized and ready to take on the world
This blend is energizing and uplifting – great for those of you who aren’t morning people but need to get going right away in the morning.

3 drops Grapefruit
3 drops Joy (a blend made with Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Lemon, Tangerine and Roman Chamomile)

4. Let’s get @#*% done 
This is the perfect duo to use when you’re on deadline for a project or the kids have homework.

3 drops Lemon
3 drops Peppermint

5. Time to focus and concentrate
When you need to stay focused and clear on your tasks, try this diffuser combination.

2 drops Brain Power
2 drops Lemon
2 drops Clarity

6. Feel like a kid again 
This combination smells a bit like a root beer float to help you bring back those times of when you were a kid again.

3 drops PanAway
3 drops Stress Away

7. I’m ready to relax
Just got home from work or school and need to relax? Try this duo.

3 drops Patchouli
3 drops Ylang Ylang

8. Help! The kids are bouncing off the walls!
Got kids who need help calming down? Try this combination in the diffuser to help them settle down naturally.

2 drops Lavender
2 drops Cedarwood
2 drops Vetiver

9. I need some peace in this house
I like to diffuser this combination when the kids are coming home from school. You can also diffuser 6 drops of the oil blend Peace & Calming.

3 drops Orange
3 drops Patchouli

10. I need my second wind
Use this combination when you need to unwind at the end of the day but still need something uplifting to get you through the night – like putting little ones to bed.

3 drops Stress Away
3 drops Peppermint

11. Take a deep breath
This is a popular diffuser combination for those times when you need to take a deep breath.

2 drops Lemon
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Peppermint

12. Take a deep breath, again
This is a combination that I found that works wonders, especially in the middle of the night when everyone needs to breathe easier.

4 drops Frankincense
3 drops RC or Eucalyptus

13. Light and refreshing
This is a great blend to diffuse while cooking. It has a light and refreshing aroma that’s stimulating to the senses.

3 drops Rosemary
3 drops Lemon

14. Bugger Off
Use this combination to keep those outdoor annoyances away.

3 drops Lemongrass
3 drops Citronella

15. What’s that odor? 
I know I’m not the only one that deals with odors. Whether it’s from a musty closet or that stinky fish smell in the kitchen, this combination works really well. You can also diffuser 6 drops of the oil blend Purification.

3 drops Lemongrass
3 drops Orange

16. I’m in a funk
Need a quick mood boost? Try this amazingly uplifting aroma.

2 drops Frankincnese
2 drops Orange
2 drops Lavender

17. It’s wintertime and I want to stay above the wellness line
You know that time of year? When you make your kids wash their hands constantly, and clean every surface of your home? Yep, this is the diffuser combination for you.

3 drops Thieves
3 drops Purification

18. Pumpkin spice latte
What’s the best part of fall? The pumpkin spice lattes, of course! Get that scent year-round with this diffuser combination.

3 drops Thieves
3 drops Orange

19. Hot apple cider
This is another fantastic aroma that will fill your kitchen and have you itching to make some apple pie.

4 drops Orange
2 drops Cinnamon
2 drops Ginger

20. I want it to smell like Christmas trees – all the time!
This is a great diffuser combination when you want the smell of Christmas trees or walking through a pine forest.

2 drops Idaho Blue Spruce
2 drops Idaho Balsam Fir
2 drops Pine

21. Honey, it’s time to go to bed. Wink, wink.
Yep, this is the diffuser blend when it’s time to get it on.

3 drops Ylang Ylang
3 drops Idaho Blue Spruce
2 drops Orange

22. Honey, it’s time for bed – for HER.
You might want to check out my DIY lube recipe too. 😉 Give her a massage first and diffuse this combination to get her in the mood.

3 drops Sensation
2 drops Clary Sage
2 drops Idaho Blue Spruce

23. It’s 5 ‘o clock somewhere
It’s been a long day and it’s time to unwind and relax. Try this Coconut-Lime Mojito recipe.

3 drops Peppermint
3 drops Lime

24. Time for some tranquility
Diffuse this combination to get some calm and tranquility at the end of a long day.

2 drops Lavender
2 drops Cedarwood
2 drops Roman Chamomile

25. Kids, it’s time to go to bed
This is a favorite bedtime blend for my kids

3 drops Orange
3 drops Cedarwood

26. I need to stop thinking about 101 things before bed
This is the combination to use when you need to quiet the mind and shut off all things things you know you need to do… but can wait for tomorrow.

3 drops Vetiver
3 drops Lavender

27. I need to sleep now
Use this combination when you need to go to sleep in a pinch

3 drops Lavender
2 drops Valerian
2 drops Roman Chamomile

28. Mom, I had a bad dream!
Kiddos up in the middle of the night? Diffuse this soothing combination.

2 drops Lavender
2 drops Vetiver
2 drops Dream Catcher (an oil blend made with Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Tangerine, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Juniper, Rose and other essential oils)

29. Honey, you’re nose is keeping me up!
Put this on your honey when he/she is keeping you up at night.

3 drops Valor (apply a couple of drops to the bottom of the feet too)
2 drops RC
2 drops Lavender

30. Sound sleeper no matter what
If your honey is still keeping you up, try this combination for you.

3 drops Lavender (plus one drop on your pillow)
2 drops RutaVaLa (apply a few drops to the bottom of your feet too)
2 drops Roman Chamomile

Did I miss your favorite diffuser combination? Comment below and let me know. I may feature it here on this blog post.

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Photo credit: / artkatia, Bota Mochy / / OlezzoSimona

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NingXia Red Gummy Fruit Snacks Fri, 11 Mar 2016 18:59:10 +0000 NingXia Red Fruit Snacks - this is a nutritious treat made with NingXia Red antioxidant drink -

My kids love my homemade gelatin fruit snacks. Like REALLY love them. They ask for them all the time. My original recipe was made with just some fruit juice and fresh fruit chunks. It was a hit. So then my middle son asked if we could make some out of NingXia Red.

I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of that! What a great idea. So I just modified my original recipe to include some NingXia Red antioxidant drink (you can get two samples free with an oil starter kit – here’s where you can get it) – and BAM! It’s so delicious!

What’s not to love, right? They’re like gummy bear snacks but made without all the junk and sugar. And it’s made with grass-fed gelatin – which is more nutritious – it’s high in protein, essential amino acids (such as glycine, proline and lysine) and collagen – than that boxed store-bought gelatin. The nutrients in grass-fed gelatin help to build connective tissue, provide support with those with collagen loss or cartilage damage, and aid in hair and skin health.

Grass-fed gelatin is an excellent nutritional supplement for adults – especially those who aren’t drinking bone broth on a regular basis. But it’s also great for kids. It’s high in protein, so it’s fantastic for little bodies and helping to support bone, skin, hair and connective tissue health.

NingXia Red Fruit Snacks

These NingXia Red fruit snacks are perfect for adults and kids. They’re great for packing in lunch boxes.

And here’s a tip: freeze them and pack a few frozen NingXia Red gummy snacks in a lunch box so they’re cold by the time the kids get to school. One tablespoon of grass-fed gelatin has about 6 grams of protein.2 I used a smaller mold – which yielded about 28 gummy snacks – so 7 gummies would be 6 grams of protein (since there are 4 tablespoons of gelatin in this recipe).

Where to Get Kitchen Pantry Essentials

I get my other kitchen pantry supplies like sea salt, black pepper, spices, coconut oil, and other essentials either on Amazon or my local health food store usually. But then I got a Thrive membership. If you don’t already have one – it’s awesome! It’s like Whole Foods meets Costco. Bob’s Red Mill baking soda, for instance, is about $3 at my local health food store and $6 on Amazon. But it’s only $2.03 (YES!) on Thrive Market. Great deal right? And the raw honey?! Don’t even get me started how much that costs at the health food store. But on Thrive Market it’s just $5.45 for a 10.5 oz jar of raw honey.

Sign up for a Thrive Market membership and get 2 months free and 10% off your first order.

NingXia Red Gummy Fruit Snacks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

NingXia Red Gummy Fruit Snacks



  1. In a sauce pan, heat orange juice, frozen fruit, and raw honey or maple syrup on low heat.
  2. When liquid is hot, add gelatin one tablespoon at a time and use an immersion blender so that gelatin is well-absorbed (no lumps). The consistency will thicken.
  3. Remove from heat. Add essential oils.
  4. Pour into silicone molds (like these Star Wars molds) and refrigerate until the snacks harden - about for 3-4 hours.
  5. When ready, pop out of the molds. They should come out pretty easily. (Pop them in the freezer for a few minutes if they gummy snacks don’t come out easily).

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p.s. Looking for tips to start cooking with essential oils? Check out my free email course In the Kitchen with Essential Oils.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Thu, 10 Mar 2016 18:01:58 +0000 VIDEO TUTORIAL: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup - make this easy, comforting soup with real food ingredients -

When it’s a cold day, I crave soup. I especially crave this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. It’s so delicious, yet comforting on a cold day. Actually, who am I kidding, I could eat this any day of the week.

The secret to this recipe is the bone broth, which provides beneficial protein, amino acids and so many other nutrients. I also use real food ingredients like onions, garlic, tomatoes and organic seasonings knock this dish out of the park. It rivals anything you’ll find in a restaurant, but without the junk or preservatives (like MSG.

Check the recipe notes as I’ve got an option to make this dish in the Instant Pot and even a fast-cook option with rotisserie chicken to cut down the cooking time.

Where to Get Kitchen Pantry Essentials

I get my other baking supplies like baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, etc. either on Amazon or my local health food store usually. But then I got a Thrive membership. If you don’t already have one – it’s awesome! It’s like Whole Foods meets Costco. Organic vanilla extract, for instance, is about $5 at my local health food store and $5.30 on Amazon. But it’s only $3.95 (YES!) on Thrive Market. Great deal right? And the raw honey?! Don’t even get me started how much that costs at the health food store. But on Thrive Market it’s just $5.45 for a 10.5 oz jar of raw honey.

Sign up for a Thrive Market membership and get 2 months free and 10% off your first order.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: Makes 4-5 servings

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Quick Cook Option: You can all ingredients to a large sauce pan and substitute the raw chicken for cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works well) and heat for about 20 minutes.

Instant Pot Option: You could also make this in the Instant Pot. Follow steps 1-5 except place in the Instant Pot rather than the slow cooker. Press the “poultry” button and add 3 minutes to cook the chicken for a total of about 20 minutes. Release pressure and let sit for a couple of minutes.


  • 1 tbsp organic, grass-fed ghee or lard
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1-2 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups homemade bone broth
  • 1/2 lb organic chicken breast (uncooked)
  • 1 cup organic stewed tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp organic cumin
  • 1/2 tsp organic paprika
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup organic cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 avocado, pitted, cubed
  • Tortilla chips for garnish


  1. In a large sauce pan, add ghee or olive oil, onion, carrot and celery. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add to slow cooker.
  2. Add tomatoes, celery and carrot to blender and pulse until well pureed. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Add cumin, salt, pepper to slow cooker.
  4. Add bone broth or chicken stock to slow cooker.
  5. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.
  6. Cook on high for about 4-5 hours.
  7. Remove chicken breasts to shred, and then return to slow cooker.
  8. Serve in bowls and garnish with cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips.

I have a video tutorial on how to make this recipe, as well as some tips on how to cut down time with my favorite kitchen hacks.


p.s. Looking for tips to transition to a real food or healthy gluten-free lifestyle? Check out my free Real Food Guide email course and e-book.

Click here to subscribe to my Real Food Guide email course + free e-book -

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Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry Mon, 07 Mar 2016 22:07:32 +0000 After ditching the wheat, I admit there’s one thing I really miss… Chinese food. I grew up with my mother’s homemade Chinese dishes, but most of those recipes have wheat or soy sauce of some kind in it.

So while I have to forgo the take-out, I’m always looking for recipes I can make at home. And this Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry recipe is perfect! It tastes even better than what I’ve had in Chinese restaurants, but without the preservatives, MSG and other junk that’s often in Chinese food.

Are you drooling yet? I bet this recipe would taste great with chicken or shrimp too. Yummo!

Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry Recipe - as featured in Ditch the Wheat cookbook -


Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry

This quick dish is loaded with nutritious vegetables and bone broth. If you don't have homemade bone broth on hand, you can always use store-bought beef broth instead. Any cut of steak will work, but I prefer sirloin.


    For the marinade:
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, sliced thinly against the grain
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 cups beef bone broth
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 recipe cauliflower rice, for serving


  1. In a resealable bag, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the steak and shake to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. After the steak is done marinating, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place the steak in the hot skillet and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until cooked through, stirring often. Remove the steak from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the broccoli, onion, and bell pepper to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Return the steak to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Whisk the sauce and pour it over the beef. Give everything a quick stir and cook for 1 minute. The sauce will begin to thicken immediately.
  6. Serve over cauliflower rice.

Where to Get Kitchen Pantry Essentials

I get my other baking supplies like baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, etc. either on Amazon or my local health food store usually. But then I got a Thrive membership. If you don’t already have one – it’s awesome! It’s like Whole Foods meets Costco. Organic vanilla extract, for instance, is about $5 at my local health food store and $5.30 on Amazon. But it’s only $3.95 (YES!) on Thrive Market. Great deal right? And the raw honey?! Don’t even get me started how much that costs at the health food store. But on Thrive Market it’s just $5.45 for a 10.5 oz jar of raw honey. Sign up for a Thrive Market membership and get 2 months free and 10% off your first order.

Looking for more recipes like this?

This Paleo Ginger Beef Stir Fry recipe is in the new cookbook Ditch the Wheat: 120 Paleo Recipes for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Carol Lovett the author of the drool-worthy blog Ditch the Wheat. She has some amazing dishes (and gorgeous photos of every recipe) in this cookbook – ranging from kitchen staples (like sauces and marinades), entrees (like Asian dishes and good old-fashioned comfort food), side dishes, desserts, and even a section on fermented foods and kombucha.

Ditch The Wheat Paleo and gluten-free cookbook review - DontMesswithMama.comHere’s what’s inside Ditch the Wheat:

  • Over 120 drool-worthy recipes – mostly Asian takeout and some American classics too
  • The why, what and how of Paleo – great introduction to those just starting a Paleo or gluten free lifestyle
  • Tips and tricks, like how to cut a whole chicken and how to bake with Paleo ingredients
  • Basics, such as BBQ sauce, dressings and other marinades
  • Fermented foods, such as ginger bug, fermented sriracha sauce and sauerkraut
  • Breakfast favorites – don’t miss the Meat Bagel (wow!) and yuca hash browns
  • Crackers, wraps, breads, bagels and muffins, like grain-free tortillas and Paleo bread
  • Snacks and starters, such as the sweet potato nacho dip and onion fries (YES!)
  • Soups and salads, such as hearty beef stew, roasted tomato basil soup and BLT wedge salad
  • Main meals – don’t miss the cilantro maple sriracha chicken wings and smoky chipotle aioli burgers with crunchy mango slaw
  • Side dishes, such as loaded mashed cauliflower with bacon and green onions (oh yeah!)
  • Desserts, like apple crumble, strawberry swirl ice cream and birthday cake (which my kids have already requested I make)
  • Plus, there’s a guide on common Paleo ingredients, tools and equipment, and much more!

Click here to order Ditch the Wheat

Photo credit: Reprinted with permission from Ditch the Wheat: 120 Paleo Recipes for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Carol Lovett (Victory Belt Publishing)

p.s. Looking for tips to transition to a real food or healthy gluten-free lifestyle? Check out my free Real Food Guide email course and e-book.

Click here to subscribe to my Real Food Guide email course + free e-book -

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Are Fevers Good or Bad? The Answer Will Surprise You Fri, 04 Mar 2016 19:46:32 +0000 Are Fevers Good or Bad? The Answer Will Surprise You - find out why -

A low fever can actually benefit a sick child, and researchers have attributed parental tendencies to over-treat by “fever phobia”– a fear that fever is harmful –which they say originated after the introduction of anti-fever drugs like Tylenol (check out Tylenol Once a Month Raises a Child’s Asthma Risk 540 Percent).

In addressing this important concern of parents, it’s vital to understand that a fever serves to protect your body against infection and trauma in three major ways.

  1. A fever stimulates your immune system into producing more white blood cells, antibodies, and a protein called interferon, all of which work to protect your body against harmful microorganisms.
  2. By raising your body’s temperature a few degrees, a fever makes it harder for invading bacteria and viruses to survive and flourish. The higher your core body temperature is, the harder it is for harmful microorganisms to survive in your body.
  3. A fever helps to shuttle iron to your liver so that it is not readily available to fuel the growth of invading bacteria.

Longstanding belief, and even parental instinct, may compel you to fight your child’s fever to ease the persistent crying and discomfort. But most experts say not to worry so much about treating your child’s fever. In fact, they say, for children older than six months old, having a fever may be a good thing.

“Fever is often a good sign of a robust immune system,” said Dr. Kathi Kemper, professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “A fever in and of itself is not dangerous.”

Instead, many experts said comforting a child through a fever is an effective way to help a child get over a fever faster.

“We always recommend supportive care,” said Dr. Estevan Garcia, vice chair for emergency medicine at Maimonedes Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. “Make sure they’re hydrated, make sure they’re eating and drinking.”

According to Garcia, many parents fear their child’s high fever could trigger a febrile seizure. Febrile seizures are short convulsions brought on by fevers usually higher than 103 degrees. While it can seem scary for parents, the seizures are rare and considered harmless to the child if handled properly, according to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a part of the National Institutes of Health. Only about 4 percent of children experience febrile seizures with high fevers.

Kemper agreed and added that even simply rocking your child in your arms or trying to keep him or her quietly distracted helps.

“Treat the child not the thermometer,” said Kemper.

Are Fevers Good or Bad? The Answer Will Surprise You - find out why -

Still, many parents may feel concerned by misconceptions they may have heard.

A group of Israeli researchers obtained their results from a questionnaire sent to more than 2,000 parents, doctors and nurses regarding fevers in children older than 3 months. The researchers defined fever as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal body temperature, which is around 98.6 degrees.

Dr. Michael Sarrell and colleagues from the IPROS Network of the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association in Tel Aviv published their survey results in the Patient Education and Counseling Issue.

The investigators found that only 43% of parents knew that a fever below 100.4 degrees can be beneficial to a child, in contrast to 86% of the doctors and 64% of the nurses who responded to the survey. The majority of parents also said they would treat a fever below 100.4 even if the child has no other symptoms, something with which only 11% of doctors agreed.

Cold blooded animals like lizards will intentionally seek out warmer spots to lie on and rest to give themselves a fever when they are ill. All living creatures in the animal kingdom use fevers to strengthen their immune systems when they are ill.

The most common cause of a fever is a bacterial or viral infection, the vast majority of which your body’s self-healing mechanisms can conquer with proper rest and nutritional support. Heat stroke and poisoning can also cause fevers, more often in children than in adults.

A fever can actually help sick children, explained Dr. Donna D’Alessandro from the department of pediatrics at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “The body, basically, is trying to do the right thing,” she said. “Bugs like to live at body temperature. So if you raise the temperature, you kill them off.” And contrary to what parents may believe, she pointed out, the body can function very efficiently at temperatures as high as 100.5 degrees.

A fever cannot cause brain damage unless it reaches 107.6 degrees Farenheit (42 degrees Celsius) and stays there for an extended period of time. Since your brain has a built-in thermostat that does not allow your core temperature to rise above 106 degrees Farenheit (41.1 C) during an infectious process, it’s virtually impossible to experience brain damage from a fever caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The majority of fevers don’t reach 105 (40.5 C) degrees. The highest temperature that I have encountered thus far has been 104.5 degrees Farenheit (40 C) in a 6-year old boy who had suffered a heat stroke.

A small percentage of children can sometimes experience short-lived seizures when they have a fever, called a febrile seizure. These seizures are caused by a rapid increase in body temperature, not by a specific temperature. There’s no need to worry if your child experiences a febrile seizure, as they end quickly and do not leave after-effects.

Although it is usually best to allow a fever to run its course and to rely on your own self-healing mechanisms to get you well, it is recommended by some health pracitioners such as Dr. Ben Kim, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, that you seek medical attention for fevers that are accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • A stiff neck
  • A persistent cough that lasts more than a week
  • Unexplained heaviness or weakness in your legs or arms
  • Unexplained irritability, confusion, listlessness, and any other behaviour that is out of character for you or your child

If none of the above symptoms are present, a fever is best treated by getting plenty of rest, drinking healthy liquids, eating lightly, and making sure that you are not increasing your core temperature by wearing too much clothing or using too many blankets. Please be aware that though the risk is very slight, there are potential negative effects to taking anti-fever medications, especially in little ones, so heed all warnings on labels and stay vigilant with symptoms.

For more information on managing fevers in children, read How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, by Dr. Robert Mendelsohn and Treating a Fever Without Meds by Healthy Home Economist.


Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

Reprinted with permission from

Photo credit: / Kicsiicsi

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Cobb Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (Just 5 Ingredients) Wed, 02 Mar 2016 20:47:33 +0000 Cobb Salad with Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing - a real food makeover for this salad classic -

I love a hearty salad, especially Cobb Salad. It’s usually one of my favorites to order at restaurants. Who else doesn’t want bacon in their salad, right? What I don’t love is all the junk that’s in it, especially in the dressing. Even when I look for blue cheese dressing in the grocery store, it’s usually got a laundry list of ingredients (usually things I can’t even pronounce).

That’s one of the reasons I’m on this real food journey. I want to find a real food version for my old favorites because frankly… I just don’t need all that junk in my body. And certainly I don’t want my kids to eat it either. Not only that, it’s so easy and inexpensive to make your own real food products.

Let’s just revisit the ingredient list of a popular health food store brand of blue cheese dressing:

Canola oil, water, sugar, blue cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose to prevent caking, natamycin to protect flavor) white vinegar, buttermilk powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, natural flavor maltodextrin and cultured dextrose, lactic acid, citric acid, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate to preserve freshness, black pepper, tocopheryls.

Canola oil is the first ingredient and followed by sugar, as well as  bunch of ingredients that could contain gluten and MSG. No thanks! And it’s about $4-5 at my local health food store – whoa! That’s a lot to shell out for a bottle of dressing.

It’s so easy to make a Cobb Salad with this Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing with real food ingredients. And get this – you probably have most of the ingredients for the dressing itself in your fridge. You’ll save a ton of money making your own blue cheese dressing with only 5 ingredients – and it’s creamy, hearty and delicious.

Cobb Salad with Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 4-6 servings

Cobb Salad with Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing


    Cobb Salad
  • 4-5 cups of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken (try this slow cooker chicken)
  • 1 cup cooked bacon
  • 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn off the cobb (optional)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese (add 1-2 tbsp more depending on taste)
  • 1 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp green onions, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste (optional)


    Cobb Salad
  1. Add lettuce evenly on a [large platter rel="nofollow"].
  2. Layer chicken, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, corn and green onions.
  3. Homemade 5-Ingredient Blue Cheese Dressing
  4. Add all ingredients to a food processor
  5. Pulse in a food processor for a few seconds to get the desired consistency (I like my dressing to be relatively smooth with a couple of small chunks).
  6. Store in a Mason jar and use as needed.

p.s. Looking for tips to transition to a real food or healthy gluten-free lifestyle? Check out my free Real Food Guide email course and e-book.

Click here to subscribe to my Real Food Guide email course + free e-book -

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