No-Coffee Lattes Three Ways (AIP, Paleo)

No-coffee lattes three different ways for everyone trying to kick the coffee habit! These 3 delicious frothy, smooth drinks are perfect for summer (two are served cold) and have health-promoting ingredients like coconut milk, turmeric, basil and vanilla! Each of these coffee-free drinks are also dairy-free, AIP and vegan!

 

 

I’m sharing a recipe (actually THREE recipes) from my ebook Enthused: 80+ allergy-friendly recipes you want to eat!

I launched the book over a year ago, and it continues to be a fan favorite. It contains all my best recipes, nearly all of them you won’t find anywhere else (except a few preview ones I’ve shared here!)

 

Enthused contains my AIP GREATEST HITS: the recipes you’ll never get sick of and the ones that’ll make an elimination diet actually FUN to be on!

 

Here are preview recipes from the book:

Smoked Salmond Flatbread

Caramelized Onion & “Ricotta” Pizza

Harvest Chicken Hash 

 

I hope you enjoy these hot-weather friendly, caffeine-free lattes. The Salted Strawberry one is reminiscent of a strawberry latte I had on vacation once but you could also consider it a thinner consistency smoothie.

Basil-Vanilla may seem like an odd combination and it’s certainly for a more adventurous palate, but the earthy basil combined with sweet vanilla is quite decadent. It makes a great homemade ice cream flavor too… hm maybe that’ll be my next dairy-free ice cream recipe!

 

Ingredients:

The vanilla bean powder I use is THIS ONE. It’s not cheap but Madagascar Vanilla Bean isn’t cheap… but it’s the best quality and taste you can find!

My favorite coconut milk is THIS ONE. You can buy it bulk from Amazon in cartons to avoid aluminum or BPA-lined cans.

The coconut water matters in the Matcha Latte. I personally think Harmless Harvest is the best tasting coconut water. The cheaper ones in the cartons DO NOT TASTE LIKE COCONUT WATER. Anyone else feel that way? If it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, I don’t want it. Coconut water snob over here.

 

 

 

The No BS Minimalist Baby Registry

 

 

It’s easy to go overboard with your baby registry the first time around. You don’t know what you’ll actually need, everything looks so cute, and we fear being improperly prepared as new parents. After two pregnancies, I’ve realized how LITTLE we truly need to keep our babies healthy, safe and happy. Here is my no BS baby registry list for minimalists or those short on space (or on a budget) of my must-haves that you’ll actually use.

Think of it as the baby registry for minimalist who are still a tad control freak. And no you won’t find any onesies here. TRUST that you’ll get approximately 14,000 of those. DO NOT REGISTER FOR ONESIES.

SLEEP

Co-Sleeper: Arm’s Reach Mini Ezee 2-in-1 Bedside Bassinet

Our first go around we had the Halo Bassinet, but it was clunky, heavy and took up too much space. Plus I still had to physically sit up to bring baby into bed for midnight nursings and there was no storage besides a small side pocket (uh where do you put your snacks, Halo!?)

Our new house has even less space for a bassinet than our old apartment, so I needed something compact, mattress-height (for ease of bringing baby into bed) and MUCH more storage!

The Arm’s Reach has 4 big mesh pockets (two on each side), storage underneath, can convert into a freestanding bassinet OR drop the side panel for a true co-sleeper.

Swaddle: Halo Sleepsack Swaddle (save) or The Ollie Swaddle (splurge)

Most babies coming fresh from the womb are going to sleep better and calm quickly when swaddled. They’re used to being compressed in a tiny water sac after all. I love the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle for safety reasons. It doesn’t ride up over baby’s face like a loose muslin blanket swaddle (and I even had that issue with the Snuggleme swaddles). It has little sleeveless arm holes, a zipper for easy diaper access, and you can swaddle nice and TIGHT without it being too hot!

The Ollie Swaddles “grows with” the baby so you don’t need to buy multiple sizes (it’s a little pricey but I suppose the same as getting 3 Halo swaddles in different sizes…). It’s also recommended by Cara from Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep program!

Sound Machine: Marpac Rohm Portable White Noise Machine

This is the classic and original sound machine created without a wireless device. White noise can help drown out background sound for baby (i.e. from dogs barking, other children, you showering for goodness sake), and it also sounds a little like your blood swishing around to them (the inside of a womb is quite loud apparently!)  Someone recently told me they were concerned about the EMFs from these sound machines, so I would keep them across the room from the baby to be safe.

EMFs are a common concern for wireless baby monitors, your smartphone, WiFi and blue tooth too. They’re hard to avoid but you can take some easy steps to reduce exposure like keeping devices farther away from baby and turning your phone on airplane mode over night if you sleep with it in your room (I leave my phone in another room overnight).

Pacifier: Soothie or Wubba Nub

This is one baby item I don’t go fully non-toxic with… these pacifiers are BPA-free and made from hospital-grade silicone. They are the only ones that “stay” in that I’ve found, and other rubber-based “eco” pacifiers have a strong smell and have gagged both my babies. We don’t over-use pacifiers, but I do think there’s a time and place (i.e. in the car to console a crying baby when you can’t comfort them or to help a baby fall asleep when mom’s boob isn’t around).

The little stuffed animals attached to them make these pacifiers easy to find in the house or bassinet and gives baby something to hold onto. Since newborns cannot sleep with stuffed animals in their cribs, these Wubba Nubs make a cute comfort item. They’re also less likely to get lost since they’re so noticeable! We’ve had no safety issues at all with these!

 

PLAY

Ball: O-Ball – Multi-colored

Nothing more classic or versatile than an O-Ball in primary colors. They’re easy to grab even at 2-months-old, can be rolled to a 6-month-old baby sitting, and are brightly colored and contrasted. I love wooden toys but lightweight plastic toys can have their place in a balanced toy box too. I can’t think of a toy (besides an empty cardboard box) that beats the O-Ball in versatility and developmental appropriateness.

Soft Books: Melissa & Doug The Wonderful World of Peekaboo

Soft sensory books are the best choice for little babes – you can easily throw them in the wash and they have sensory facets that board books do not have. Most of them make crunchy sounds when baby touches them and are brightly colored (and cannot be used as weapons by older siblings).

Rattle: Untreated Wood Rattle or Haba Colorful Wooden Rattle/Teether

Every baby needs a rattle to hold onto and shake, shake, shake. For at least the first year of life, cause & effect “toys” are going to keep babe’s attention and rattles fill that need. Shake, it rattles, shake, it rattles… every time!

Play Mat: Skip Hop Silver Cloud Play Mat (save) or The Play Gym by Lovevery (splurge)

No matter where you live, baby needs his or her own play space. I like a designated playmat that allows for hanging toys for them to practice reaching and grabbing. It’s also a great padded space for tummy time. As a child gets older and starts exploring via crawling, I like to have a designated Safe/Yes Space.

We use this play yard (it’s huge) from crawling age until at least 18 months. I personally don’t think a Pack n’ Play allows for enough space for a kid to explore their environment and MOVE which is why I love a fenced in play yard. It allows me to cook in the kitchen and watch baby play safely with only toys I know are safe and won’t be a hazard. Kids need at least one YES space in their homes to just be kids! RIE parenting method speaks to this in more detail.

For the first 12 months of my eldest daughter’s life, I would buy her a birthday toy so by the end of the year, we had 12 toys/books/rattles in her toy collection (plenty enough!) I love Haba and Hape brand toys as well as Montessori-style toys from Etsy!

 

MOVE

Stroller:  BOB Jogging Stroller Flex 2.0

I am a fan of strollers to get mom out and moving and baby out in nature! The BOB Jogging Stroller can’t be beat – it’s air-filled large tires means it can withstand tough terrain like gravel trails, grass and even sand. We also have the Uppa Baby Vista which is great for neighborhood walks, but it doesn’t compare  to the comfort and ease of the BOB. My only complaint is the basket underneath is rather small, so I use my Diaper Bag Backpack to carry items and have a handlebar tray on mine as well!

Car Seat (Infant): Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat (no brominated flame retardants) or Uppa Baby Mesa Wool Infant Car Seat (no flame retardants in Jordan or Henry wool option)

These are my top two choices for an infant carseat in terms of safety and quality. They’re both very sturdy (which means they’re a little heavier than average) and are loved by many parents. You can get Britax and Uppa Baby attachments for your BOB stroller too!

I also want to add that the Uppa Baby Mesa is more comfortable for baby than Britax B35 which is more of a bucket style. Some babies won’t mind this but I have a particularly fussy baby who prefers the Uppa Baby Mesa car seat (we have both) where my oldest had no problem with the bucket style!

I do not recommend additional baby equipment such as bouncers, swings and especially walkers. You can read this article for why. Floortime, babywearing (wear as much as you want newborn- a few hours a day after newborn stage is totally fine) and tummy time are important for infant development. The more we utilize baby equipment, the less opportunity of our children have to use and develop muscles, motor coordination and sensory proprioception. Save your money and grab a wrap/carrier (below) to keep baby happy if they won’t nap in their bassinet, and keep them entertained on the floor rather than a bouncer or swing. 

 

READ MY ARTICLE ON WHY I DON’T RECOMMEND ADDITIONAL BABY EQUIPMENT HERE.

 

FEED

Nursing Pillow: My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow

For me, a nursing pillow is a must. It props baby up and closer to the breast, making newborn latch an easier to achieve feat. It’s more comfortable for both you and baby. My Breast Friend and Boppy are the two most popular brands, and while I love my double-sided Boppy (a firmer surface for tiny newborns so they don’t sink down and have trouble latching), My Breast Friend is more comfortable for mama and has a little pocket for snacks, your phone or your wallet so you can online shop while you nurse (my speciality).

Glass Bottles: Life Factory 4-ounce BPA-Free Bottles with Silicone Sleeve

These glass baby bottles are no-slip, easy grip, seal tightly and aren’t made of plastics which can leach into your milk or formula. They come with Stage 1 newborn nipples, but you can get Stage 2 and 3 nipples (2 for only $5) as your baby gets older and can handle more flow.

Manual Pump/Overflow Catcher: Hakka Manual Breast Pump

This silicone manual “pump” is a LIFESAVER in the early weeks of breastfeeding when let down is like a tourist-attracting geyser. You suction is to the your breast while baby nurses the other one, and it catches all the let down. I could easily catch 2 to 3 extra ounces of milk essentially negating the need for my fancy hospital-grade breast pump (which I do use too – but you’ll get a free one with insurance each pregnancy).

 

FIRST AID/COMFORT/BATH

First Cold: FridaBaby Nasal Aspirator and Little Remedies Saline Mist

Our first daughter gave our newborn second daughter a cold at about 2 weeks old. Spraying the Saline Mist (no additives or preservatives!) up my baby’s nose and sucking out the snot with the FridaBaby (don’t worry – it cannot get in your mouth) works like a charm. It’s entirely effective for keeping a stuffy-nosed baby comfortable before they learn how to blow their nose (when they’re like 7 years old, I swear). The saline mist is great to have on hand if you live in a dry environment as well!

Gas/Colic: FridaBaby Windi Sticks and Well Elements Gripe Water

Inevitably your baby will  get gassy at some point – whether it’s because they’re reacting to something in your breastmilk or in their formula, or because they simply have a brand new digestive system getting used to input besides amniotic fluid. These two non-toxic choices for calming baby tummy bubbles are gold.

The Windi sticks are a little peculiar at first (literally a tube you gently stick up baby’s butt) but they are safe and WORK like magic to release gas and help with constipation. The gripe water can come in handy during crying spells from gas or discomfort – it only lasts 4 weeks because it does not contain preservatives. Keep it in the fridge after opening and dispense any time baby is having some early months tummy trouble. They aren’t cheap, but trust that I would not spend $15 on butt whistles (that’s what I call them) if they were not worth the money.

Non-Toxic Bath & Body Products: Beautycounter Baby Bundle & Primally Pure Baby Powder

Using toxin-free products on baby’s skin is of upmost importance to me, and I know it’s important to many other moms as well. Beautycounter’s Baby Line is made without harmful ingredients, uber gentle on the skin and sensitive enough for baby’s who deal with dryness or other skin irritations. We’ve been using the products for years and love them! I gift this set and Primally Pure’s Non-Toxic Baby Powder to many a pregnant friend!

Baby Bath Tub: PRIMO EuroBath

This may have been the best $25 I’ve spent since becoming a mom. It allows for easy bathing by positioning baby in a comfortable, no-slip reclining position. Truly, the baby can’t slip down (but always be within arm’s reach or have one hand on baby when in the bath). It’s easy to clean and after 3 years of use, ours is still in great shape. It has two bathing positions – one for newborns and one for older toddlers so they can sit themselves up and play in the bath. It also saves water since you don’t have to fill up a whole bath tub to halfway submerge your kiddo.

 

DIAPERING

Non-Toxic Wipes: Water Wipes

LOVE! Some people complain about the sticker top but they recently made it more sturdy. These are the most gentle wipes out there. I am an Amazon subscribe n’ save member, we love them so much! We use them to clean up messy hands and faces for my 3-year-old too even though she’s been out of diapers for over a year. Register for a LOT of these (or for Amazon gift cards!)

Safer Disposable Diapers: Pampers Pure (save) Bambo Natural Diapers (splurge)

Look at Pampers coming out with a much safer version of their beloved diapers! These Pampers Pure are the most blowout-proof of all safer diapers I’ve tried (more so than the Bambo, although I love those for older babies). They’re soft, made without Fragrance (helps you avoid phthalates on baby’s skin!) and don’t contain parabens or 26 European Union designated allergens. We’ve been using these AND Bambo with our second baby and have had a great experience (no rash, rarely a blow out).

I choose not to use cloth diapers as they tend to be bulky (and obviously a lot more laundry) and can inhibit movement in babies – they have even been linked to delayed motor development (i.e crawling and walking). I choose to use more environmentally-friendly disposable diapers and make other choices for our family that sustain the environment.

You’ll also need a changing table, changing pad and a couple changing pad covers. 

 

BABY-WEARING

Wrap for newborn stage: Solly Baby Wrap

My Solly Baby Wrap lasted me through both kids’ newborn stages, but I did have to transition to the below carrier at 2 months old with my second due to neck and back pain (she wanted to be held a lot more than my first). I prefer Solly for newborns but once a kiddo hits 10 pounds, an ergonomic carrier like the one below is MUCH more comfy! The Solly seems to be more cozy for newborns though, so I do recommend both if you plan to baby wear.

Ergonomic Carrier for 10 lbs + (up to 35 lbs): Beco Gemini 

I own/have owned a LOT of baby carriers so I can vouch for the comfort of this Beco Gemini. It is suitable for babies 7 pounds plus but we started using at 10 pounds. My favorite parts of this carrier: you can cross the thick padded straps in the back to make an X for more diffuse weightbearing on your neck/shoulders, you can front carry AND back carry (for older babies) AND it has a little cover for baby’s head if you’re out in the sun or want to keep germ-y strangers away!

MEMORIES

You’ll want a baby book that you can bring to the hospital for footprints. I love the Mom’s One Line a Day journal! You can write one memory from each day for 5 years and go back and compare each year as it passes (for example, all of June 12th memories will be on the same page over the span of 5 years).

 

THINGS YOU DEFINITELY DON’T NEED

  • Baby Mittens – you can file or clip baby’s nails instead

  • Baby Shoes – cute but pointless and will get kicked off

  • Baby Bouncer, Swing or Walker – addressed above

  • More than 5 to 7 onesies for newborn size

  • Four strollers – choose just one with an infant car seat adapter

  • More than 2 to 3 glass baby bottles with different nipple sizes.

  • A convertible car seat – wait until baby truly needs one before you decide which one to get

 

MORE PRACTICAL ASK IDEAS

  • Amazon gift cards so you can restock wipes & diapers

  • Donation to child’s 529 education fund

  • Meal Train – have a good friend or family member set up a meal train so you have food delivered to you the first few weeks with baby

  • Hulu or Netflix 1-year subscription if you don’t already have one

  • Housecleaning fund for your first 3 months with baby

  • Healthy Meal Delivery

  • Babysitting “Coupons” from close family members you can cash in when you & your partner need a date!

  • Whole Foods gift cards for easy hot bar meals

 

 

 

Carrot Cake with Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

paleo carr

 

Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan Carrot Cake that isn’t loaded down with sugar is a tall order! I didn’t think I could do it but this healthy layered carrot cake with dairy-free cream cheese frosting is moist, dense and just the right amount of sweet!

 

It’s been a solid 5 years since I’ve wanted to create my own Paleo allergy-friendly carrot cake. I’ll be honest – I don’t love baking (the rebellious nature of cooking – throwing ingredients together without a plan – is much more enticing to me) but I know a good baked good when I taste one. This grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free AND vegan carrot cake is a healthier take on a traditional classic, and it’s much lower in sugar than other Paleo carrot cakes I’ve seen!

 

Carrot cake is one of my favorite baked goods, and I’ve been hard-pressed to find an easy enough egg-free recipe for our family. Five of my family members tried this one and they all enjoyed it – although my sweet tooth husband requested a sweeter frosting. Thankfully, you can easily up the sweetness level with cream cheese frosting by simply adding more corn-free powdered sugar (I love the Wholesome brand!)

 

What makes this carrot cake healthier?

Instead of processed grain flours, it is made with arrowroot starch (for density), coconut flour and almond flour. I find Paleo cakes made JUST with one flour lack the “glutinous” texture of gluten. The arrowroot keeps the cake moist as well since coconut flour can create a dry, crumbly baked good if not balanced. Almond flour by itself lacks the sponginess cake needs.

 

I didn’t load this cake down with a ton of sugar like you’ll see in a lot of “healthier” carrot cakes on the Internet that can contain 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar in the frosting alone. No thank you! Sugar is sugar to my body and while coconut sugar and maple syrup certainly are as close to real food as you can get with sweetener, my palate and body are still sensitive to too much. You won’t find this cake too saccharine or overwhelmingly sweet at all! Bonus: no tummy aches!

 

The cream cheese frosting is made with Kite Hill Almond Cream Cheese but you can use ANY dairy-free cream cheese I imagine. I kept it at 2-ingredients to keep this recipe more budget friendly but adding 1/4 cup palm shortening to the frosting would create a fluffier finish. It’s a tad thicker mouth feel than typical cream cheese frosting – that’s my only “warning” when comparing this cake against its traditional counterpart. Adding the palm shortening will ameliorate this. 

 

What substitutions can I make?

Arrowroot: Tapioca starch can be substituted for the arrowroot starch, if needed. I can’t say the same for cassava flour so proceed with caution there.

 

Nuts: Replace the almond flour with finely milled tigernut flour, if you are nut-free. Replace the pecans (I’ll be sad though) with raisins.

 

Chia Seeds: You should be able to replace the chia seeds with 2 large eggs but I can’t vouch for the texture. It’ll likely be fluffier. I haven’t tried it this way since two of our household members have egg allergies.

 

Almond Milk Cream Cheese: Use any vegan cream cheese (as long as you like the flavor). There are tons of cream cheese frosting recipes made from cashews on the Internet. I don’t do well with cashews myself so I haven’t tested any but they look delicious!

 

Enjoy this gluten-free carrot cake & let me know what you think in the comments!

 
[simple-recipe:8246a]
 

Nightshade-Free Cuban Picadillo

 

Have you ever tried picadillo?! It is one of my favorite Cuban dishes, but I haven’t been able to order it in quite some time since this whole no nightshades, no ‘dillo business started. It’s a savory, sweet and salty skillet meal. It makes incredible leftovers and is super affordable to put on your table too! Try this Paleo, AIP, gluten-free, low carb and nightshade-free Cuban Picadillo this week!

The below review was written two years after I tried my first box! I have now been ordering from Butcherbox every month for the last two years! It’s where we get 90% of our high quality meat & seafood!

 

I made this dish using my Butcher Box grass fed ground beef. Butcher Box is my go-to well-raised meat delivery company that sends you customizable boxes of their grass fed beef, pastured pork, and heritage chicken from only small, trusted local farmers.

I tried 5 different cuts of beef from them and was really shocked to realize I actually COULD taste a difference in their beef compared to the beef I buy from Whole Foods. Whole Foods is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but getting straight from small farms that aren’t contracted under a national grocery chain makes a big difference.

 

What’s also cool is each time you order, you’ll likely get a variety of cuts that you didn’t receive in your last shipment! I am someone who goes to the grocery stores 3 to 4 times a week, and that gets pretty exhausting. Usually I’m going to buy fresh meat or seafood, since I don’t utilize my freezer much. After having several pounds of grass fed beef in my freezer for a couple weeks and being able to grab and defrost on the fly, I now realize why people buy deep freezes!

Buying in bulk or freezing when you find cuts on sale really saves you not just money but time in the long run. I loved our Butcher Box so much, they asked me to write a few thoughts on their beef for their website. I don’t only buy grass-fed, pastured and wild caught meat and seafood because it’s better for ME, but more so because it’s better for our environment, local economies, and for the animals.

“Grass-fed beef, particularly the high quality cuts from ButcherBox, is a health food staple in our house. Animal welfare is a topic I hold close to my heart, and I need to know that the beef we purchase comes from healthy, happy and properly treated cattle. Not only are grass-fed cattle treated more humanely, but they also have a lower environmental impact and generally come from smaller, local family farms rather than factory CAFOs. On top of all that, grass-fed beef is plain and simple the more nutritious choice, packed with more vitamins and omega-3s than grain-fed meat by a landslide!”

 

Here are my favorite cuts of Butcherbox Meat after ordering monthly for 2 years. Add these to your first custom box! And look out for monthly deals like 10 pounds of ground beef for only $49!

Ground Beef

Steak Tips

Chicken Breast

Chicken Drumsticks

Flat Iron Steak

Wild Salmon

Baby Back Ribs

Breakfast Sausage (nightshade-free too!)

 

 

30 reviews

Nightshade-Free Cuban Picadillo

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:25 Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (omit for AIP!)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano flakes
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pounds Grass Fed Ground Beef
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 3/4 cup pitted and sliced green olives
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large stainless steel skillet, cook bacon, onion and garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the onion is tender and fragrant.
  2. Stir in cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and cinnamon and continue to stir for 30 seconds until toasted and fragrant.
  3. Crumble ground beef into skillet and season with sea salt. Cook, stirring every couple minutes, until no longer pink. Ensure you break up the ground beef into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  4. Add butternut squash, red wine, molasses, olives, and raisins to the skillet and bring to low boil over medium-heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Serve over cauliflower rice or white rice for a traditional Cuban meal.

 

 

5 Natural Ways To Relieve TMJ Pain

Five natural ways to relieve TMJ pain that causes facial swelling, difficulty chewing and sore, tight neck muscles. Try these five natural pain-relieving techniques the next time you’re experiencing TMJ, jaw or head pain.

 

I developed TMJ pain after I had my first daughter three years old. Between the funky nursing positions, looking down all the time, carrying her on my hip, back and in front of my body, my neck and back alignment suffered. The stress of parenthood and post-partum anxiety resulted in overnight jaw clenching as well. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had a jaw of steel from clamping down so hard while I slept.

My first post-partum visit to the dentist required imaging which showed my left TM joint was completely worn down and misaligned. My bite was off, and I was getting frequent headaches, neckaches and sinus infections. I also suspect I have temporal tendonitis – pain and swelling along the temporalis tendon that connects to the lower jaw. Symptoms of temporal tendonitis can mimic migraines and TMJ and can also cause pain/pressure behind the eye, chronic sinusitis, and tenderness to the touch. There are days where the left side of my face is so swollen that I can’t smile, laugh or chew. On those days, it’s no coincidence that my neck and traps are incredibly tight.

 

1. STRETCH IT.

Often times tight neck, shoulder and back muscles can be the culprit for increased jaw pain and vise versa! Tech neck, nursers’ neck, and other maladaptive head positioning causes shortening of the dozens of muscles that make up the neck, back and shoulders. Specifically, tight anterior traps, SCM (sternocleidomastoid) and scalene  muscles can cause pulling on the muscles surrounding the jaw, worsening TMJ dysfunction and alignment and leading to pain and inflammation.

You may also need to adapt your exercise. I no longer lift weights overhead or work my trapezius muscles (unless I’m performing bodyweight exercises in yoga). Once I quit lifting weights, the chronic trap tightness mitigated practically overnight.

My favorite TMJ stretches include:

  • Lateral neck flexion to release scalenes: bend neck towards shoulder and use hand to apply gentle but firm pressure to skull to increase stretch

  • Later neck flexion with extension to release SCM: open mouth slightly, bring ear toward shoulder and extend neck backward at about a 45 degree angle to target SCM. Massage SCM by stroking downwards from the jaw towards the sternum. The SCM is the large neck muscle that pops out if you stick your neck out.

  • Forward neck flexion with assist to stretch occiput: bend chin towards chest, place hands behind head with fingers intertwined, rolling neck from side to side targeting back of neck where it meets the skull (occiput). You may also feel this stretch down the middle of your back. 

2. ICE ROLLER

One of my Instagram community members recommended the Ice Roller to me – available on Amazon. This freezable roller can be easily glided across the jaw, temple, cheeks and neck to relieve pain, inflammation and swelling. If you’re looking for an alternative to a cold pack you have to hold against your face (which results in shortening and tensing of the shoulder and neck muscles you’re trying to relax), try this affordable TMJ cold relief tool!

You’ll find it stays cold for up to an hour out of the freezer. Use it for 10 to 15 minutes every hour or as needed on your affected jaw and neck muscles.

 

3. ESSENTIAL OILS

Surprisingly, the natural tool that has helped me avoid over-the-counter pain relievers the most: essential oils! My top three favorite products for TMJ and sinus pain relief: Deep Blue Muscle Rub, Past Tense Roller and the Peppermint Oil.

How to Use Deep Blue Muscle Rub: Massage the muscle rub into your neck, shoulders and occiput (the very back of your head where your skull meets your neck). Better yet – have someone else massage you so you can rest your muscles! The cooling and numbing sensation of this muscle rub formulated with essential oils like wintergreen and eucalyptus and peppermint oil are shockingly powerful.

How to Use the Paste Tense Roller: Roll a small amount of the oil over your temples and jaw, avoiding your eyes. This is stronger smelling oil (wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, basil and cilantro to name a few) but it works remarkably well for any tension headaches caused by tight muscles and a misaligned TMJ. Use as needed.

How to Use Peppermint Oil: Mix a very, very small drop of Peppermint Oil (any brand will do here) into the Beautycounter Charcoal Mask. Apply over your entire face including your temples and forehead. The peppermint oil works to minimize any headache as well as relieve congestion and swelling due to poor sinus drainage from a misaligned TMJ.

 

 

4. SELF-MASSAGE WITH FOAM ROLLING AND LACROSSE BALL

As I’m sure you’ll agree, you would really like a massage right now, wouldn’t you? If you can’t get into a practitioner, learn some self-massage techniques to bring you relief.

HOW TO SELF-MASSAGE FOR TMJ

1) Foam rolling is an excellent way to combine self massage with breaking up tight fascia (the layer of tissue overlaying muscle, pulling on joints in dysfunctional patterns if tight). Focus on the following muscle groups with your foam roller: trapezius, erector muscles (the long muscles that line your spine) and the muscles surrounding your scapula.

2) Dig deeper and more specific with a lacrosse ball. This exercise is not for the faint of heart but can provide immediate relief. Face away from a wall and place the lacrosse ball at shoulder/trapezius level. Press your body into the ball, rolling it up, down and around, settling into a trigger points. Turn around to face the wall and do the same with your pectoralis muscles. Tight pectoralis muscles can pull your shoulders forward and hike your anterior traps into sustained tension, pulling on the scalenes and SCM muscles of the neck.

 

5. STRESS REDUCTION

TMJ pain is often related to stress, especially if you can’t pinpoint a postural cause or misaligned bite issue. Clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth during sleep can irritate the joint and result in chronic daily inflammation and pain. Tensing of the neck muscles and exposure to environmental stressors such as pollen, mold or household toxins can cause generalized inflammation at the TMJ chain.

My favorite stress reduction activities include yoga, meditation, acupuncture, taking a nap to this soothing music from Youtube, a long, leisurely walk outside and spending time with friends.

If chronic stress is related to your job, a relationship or other life circumstance, remember you get to CHOOSE your circumstances, for the most part. If you can’t choose your circumstance, you can certainly choose your perspective surrounding it.

Self-awareness is key when managing stress. If you think you’re not stressed, do a quick scan of today’s to-do list. Are you in constant go-go-go mode? You may not even have the time to sit around and think about how much stress you do have in your daily life. I’ve been loving the book “Do Less” by Kate Northrup.

Figure out ways to simplify your life, enjoy time outdoors and rest without guilt.

If you need outside help with your TMJ issues, seek help. Depending on the root cause, a variety of professionals may be able to help including a conventional or holistic dentist, oromyo functional therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, neuromuscular dentist, or even a physical therapist specializing in the head and neck.

Healthy Rice Krispie Treats

These healthy homemade “peanut butter” Rice Krispie treats are quick & easy – made without marshmallows and dipped in chocolate for the ultimate kid-friendly comfort food. Refined-sugar free and made with just a bit of natural sweetener!

 

 

What makes them healthy?

These naturally gluten-free 5-minute rice cereal treats are made with sprouted rice cereal which makes them easier to digest. They don’t contain any sugar or soy-laden marshmallow (or difficult to make homemade marshmallow). In addition, they contain gut-healing Vital Protein Collagen Peptides, grass-fed ghee, organic sunbutter and just a bit of natural sweetener (organic honey and pure maple syrup).

 

How flexible is this recipe?

Very flexible! You can use any crunchy cereal of choice. One Degree Organics makes a plain sprouted brown rice cereal and a cocoa flavored sprouted rice cereal for a “Peanut Butter” & Chocolate version of this recipe! Use cashew or almond butter in place of the sunbutter if desired.

 

How can I make it dairy-free?

Make it dairy-free by replacing the ghee with a 50/50 ratio of coconut oil and palm shortening or even coconut oil and coconut butter! It’ll be a little coconut-y tasting if you do the latter – just a forewarning!

 

My recommended brands of chocolate.

I prefer to source fair-trade, low-sugar dark chocolate for this recipe. My favorite affordable healthy dark chocolate bar is the Equal Exchange Panama Extra Dark Chocolate. It’s not too bitter like a lot of dark chocolates and melts smoothly for this recipe.

 
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Gluten-Free Protein Breakfast Cookies

These gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free collagen-filled “breakfast cookies” make a wonderful on-the-go breakfast or snack throughout the day! They’re chunky, warming and made without refined sugar. These cookies can be made nut-free by subbing the almond flour for tigernut flour.

 

protein breakfast cookies

 

Wondering which collagen to use in this recipe?

I prefer Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides to other brands I’ve tried. It has a mild taste that you won’t even notice in these cookies, and it also mixes well with hot and cold beverages in other uses like smoothies and coffee. It’s also sourced from grass-fed cattle and is an easily absorbable form of protein for when you need a quick energy hit.

 

Make them nut-free for a school-safe snack.

Simply replace the almond flour with Tigernut Flour 1:1 or make your own sunflower seed flour by grinding raw unsalted sunflower seeds into a fine flour. Do not replace the almond flour with coconut flour – coconut flour is highly absorbent and the cookies will turn out too dry to eat.

 

Play with the add-ins.

Make them even tastier by adding dark chocolate chips and some shredded coconut! Replace the sunflower seeds with finely chopped walnuts, if desired. It’s a very forgiving recipe so have fun with it!

 

protein breakfast cookies

 
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Why You Should Switch to Non-Toxic Deodorant

GET 10% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER AS A PRIMALLY PURE ORDER WITH CODE “GRAZEDANDENTHUSED10” AT CHECKOUT!

This past weekend I asked someone, “If you don’t trust what the government allows in our food supply, why would you trust what they allow in our personal care products?” (or our water, our prescription drugs, our household cleaners for that matter…). The person looked a little perplexed, and it definitely got them thinking.

I explained that the US government hasn’t passed a major federal law governing the safety of our personal care products since 1938. Companies aren’t even required to disclose exactly how or where their products are manufactured, which is why toxic chemicals like heavy metals make their way into our bathroom cabinets, our lip glosses, and our kid’s “baby oil” from contaminated sources in overseas production facilities and even on our home turf in America. Not only that, the FDA does not have the authority to mandate recalls of personal care products they deem harmful. They can only suggest the company participates in a voluntary recall at their own financial burden. Haha, yeah right.  (source: FDA website) 

It’s not like scientists haven’t discovered the potential and proven dangers of the toxins in our personal care products. They have. In fact, the European Union has banned 1,400 of the 1,500 chemicals that American cosmetics company Beautycounter has banned from their products. America has only banned 30 of the 1,500 chemicals known to be potentially harmful or confirmed to be harmful.And just because a shampoo gets washed out of your hair or a mascara touches just your eyelashes doesn’t mean these chemicals aren’t getting absorbed through your skin and mucous membranes.

One of the biggest potential offenders in your bathroom

is actually your deodorant.

Why deodorant? Well we put it on every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and we apply it to our underarms. Our axillary lymph nodes can be found in this area of our body. Other lymph nodes can be found in the groin and in the neck. They are part of our larger lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering and draining fluids, bacteria, and toxins as well as acting as an important part of our immune system. Yes, the lymphatic system is INCREDIBLY important in preventing autoimmune diseases!!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH CONVENTIONAL DEODORANT?

Current research is challenging the safety of typical over-the-counter underarm antiperspirants, but it still isn’t clear the quantity of chemicals absorbed through the skin. Maybe the research will turn up that we were always in the clear, but I’m going to say likely not since it has been proven that toxic chemicals applied to the skin do pass the skin barrier and can be absorbed into our bloodstream.

And frankly, our bodies were MEANT to sweat! It’s one of our detoxification mechanisms, so why would we block that using an antiperspirant? Especially one full of these chemicals like these!

  • Parabens (endocrine hormone disruptors)

  • Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy metal toxicity)

  • Propylene glycol (a synthetic chemical solvent)

  • Silica (a Prop 65 carcinogen)

  • Phthalates (endocrine disruptors linked to permanent birth defects)

  • Formaldehyde contaminated synthetics (a carcinogen)

  • Triclosan (which can lead to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction and has been banned by the FDA last year in effect as of September 2017).

What’s in a popular Dove women’s anti-pespirant that is potentially absorbing into your bloodstream? Mmmm… 

Active Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (15.2%). Purpose: Antiperspirant. Inactive Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ppg-14 Butyl Ether, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Peg-8, Fragrance (Parfum), Dimethicone, Silica, Polyethylene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Steareth-100, Bht, Hydroxyethyl Urea.

source: Dove website

One could argue that the dose is in the poison. We don’t slather on deodorant over our entire bodies, mascara is only applied to our eye lashes, and foundation only touches our face.

But the Environmental Working Group is disproving that notion. The poison may be in even the lowest dose of a partially-carcinogenic chemical (which are found in MANY of our personal care products).The Environmental Working Group has its own team dedicated to cancer prevention research. This is from a 2015 article titled “Rethinking Carcinogens”:

The Halifax Project team investigated 85 common chemicals not known to be carcinogenic on their own and found that 50 can disrupt cancer-related pathways (known as the Hallmarks of Cancer) at low doses typically encountered in the environment. The researchers go on to propose that combinations of these chemicals could cause cancer by disrupting multiple pathways and overwhelming the body’s defenses. This thinking is in-line with the current understanding of cancer as a multi-step process. They also noted that even in the lowest doses, these potentially cancer-causing ingredients were disrupting cancer-related pathways. You didn’t need to glug a bottle of parabens a day!

It’s simply that the everyday choices we make overtime make our bodies more prone to developing and having difficulty fighting cancer. One of the first products I switched out for safer was my underarm deodorant.

Although it hasn’t been without-a-doubt confirmed that the aluminum and hormone-disrupting chemicals found in deodorant definitely cause breast cancer, I’m not willing to put chemicals on top of the lymph nodes nearest my breast (and that breast cancer frequently spreads to).

I went without deodorant for 3 years between 2013 and 2016. I lived in colder climates for most of the time, so it wasn’t a big deal, but once summer hit in Austin, Texas, I knew I needed to bring deodorant back into my routine! Now that I live in Florida where it’s pretty much 80 degrees or warmer year round, yeah I can’t away with no deodorant anymore!

After trying 3 different brands of safer deodorant from Whole Foods that neither prevented perspiration or covered up any sweaty smells, I had almost given up. But then I discovered Primally Pure.

PRIMALLY PURE CHARCOAL DEODORANT 

Primally Pure is this truly inspiring skincare and beauty company started by Bethany McDaniel. Bethany is a fellow new mom whose passion for safer products has extended to a full line of highly effective solutions to our everyday problems like dry skin, fine lines, stinky underarms, chapped lips, and even beard itch (man problem, ladies!) She’s been a huge inspiration for me throughout my journey in motherhood and switching to safer products. Bethany is one of the most generous and kind people I’ve “met” in our Paleo community of business owners! And her products are innovative, environmentally-conscious, and well-researched.

Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant is the only safer deodorant I’ve tried that doesn’t just look pretty but it works. It is SO effective, I put it on in the morning and I don’t have to fear what I’m going to smell like by the end of the day. Showers are a luxury these days since staying home with an 8-month-old doesn’t give you much time for self care.

I use the Charcoal Deodorant because it contain non-nano zinc oxide to beat odor, arrowroot starch to absorb moisture, grass-fed tallow and coconut oil to sooth and moisturizer, baking soda to deodorize and best of all detoxifying charcoal and clay! 

Compare THAT to the list of ingredients in Dove deodorant above! Start small with your lifestyle changes – even just switching to a safer deodorant can make a big difference in your overall toxin burden.

Paleo & Gluten-Free Pregnancy Batch Cook

 

My Paleo & Gluten-Free Pregnancy Batch Cook

 

I’ve been asked to share how I’m preparing in advance to nourish my body during the immediate post-partum period when sleep is at a bare minimum, and daily or twice weekly trips to the grocery store aren’t manageable. Because of my food allergies, I don’t request any sort of meal train from friends or family as it’s important for my autoimmune health that I’m not eating any triggering foods immediately post-partum as my immune system “turns back on” after birth. For more information on what happens to the immune system during pregnancy and post-partum, please read this article.

 

Since my husband is not a maverick in the kitchen, I wanted to stock the freezer with at least a couple weeks of meals for the family (myself, my husband and my almost 3-year-old daughter) that we can pop in the fridge overnight to defrost and heat the next day. For me, the meals need to be nourishing, high in protein (filling, cortisol-regulating and important for producing quality breast milk) and tasty enough for me to look forward to meal time (so I actually prioritize it instead of constant snacking).

 

By choice, I’ll be maintaining as close to an AIP diet as possible after birth to hopefully reign in my immune system as much as possible. After my first daughter’s birth, I had a minor Hashimoto’s flare but a terribly itchy and somewhat painful 4 week chronic hives episode. I had never had hives before, but since it’s a symptom of a wonky immune system, I realized that it was likely a result of my immune system being suppressed during pregnancy and then turning back on a bit too aggressively post-partum. Avoiding excess sugar and focusing on protein, fat, fresh food carbs and bone broth is how I feel my best, so that’s my game plan for hopefully regulating my immune system as much as possible this time around.

 

How to Safely Store Your Batch Cooked Food

The safest food storage options for batch cooked food you’ll be storing in the freezer are:

  • Glass storage containers like Pyrex brand. Pyrex containers can leak liquids, so I always store them upright and flat in the freezer. The lid can be removed and the container can be brought to room temperature and placed in a preheated oven. Stock up on a dozen glass containers with lids in different sizes – trust you can never have enough storage options!

     

  • Food-grade silicone storage bags like Stasher Bags (come in a variety of sizes). If buying another brand, read the materials list carefully. Some silicone bags are a mix of plastic and silicone or contain PVC as well. Stasher bags do not leak – I’ve even tested this with liquids!

     

  • Plastic is of course the most budget-friendly option, but I only use it when I’m storing something that’s been wrapped in parchment paper and then placed in the plastic bag. Plastic is most likely to leach into your food if you’re placing warm or hot items into the bag or container as well, so if glass and silicone are not in your budget, cool your foods completely before storing in plastic and never re-heat in plastic.

     

 

3 Places You’ll Find These Recipes

 

On my blog – that’s easy – they’re linked below!

In my print cookbook The Healing Kitchen – available on Amazon!

In my ebook Enthused

 USE CODE BATCHCOOK FOR 50% OFF MY EBOOK ENTHUSED!

 

When to Start Batch Cooking

Around 35 weeks pregnant (unless you’re pregnant with twins and have a higher likelihood of delivering early) is a great time to start hunkering down in the kitchen!

 

So you don’t overwhelm or fatigue yourself, create your recipe list and divide them up over the next 3 weeks (weeks 35 through 37). Create your shopping list for each week and remember to factor in your daily meals too! I’ve found it challenging to batch cook and not have my daily meals also lined up because then I just wind up eating my batch cooked food and my freezer remains empty!

 

Most recipes will stay safe in the freezer up to 6 months, although it’s unlikely you’ll be batch cooking that many meals. For me, I just want to get through the first few weeks on as many freezer meals as possible while establishing the breastfeeding relationship and then hop back into the kitchen to make fresh food from there on out.



 

Breakfast Recipes

After frequent nights of interrupted sleep and marathon nursing sessions, most mamas are going to wake up hungry and potentially with dysregulated blood sugar. One of the easiest ways we can ameliorate wonky insulin and cortisol levels is by starting our day with a mix of protein, fat and some carbs (especially if you’re nursing). These Paleo freezer-friendly breakfast recipes will ensure you have some high-quality protein on hand that you can eat one-handed. Round out these breakfasts with a quick-steamed kale or spinach side for some extra greens, or a smoothie made from organic greens, berries, dairy-free milk and Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

 

2 pounds homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties from The Healing Kitchen or buy 2-pounds Breakfast Sausage from ButcherBox, form into patties, cook and freeze. Their breakfast sausage is nightshade-free and seriously delicious!

 

16 Grain-Free Breakfast Burritos
Make gluten-free breakfast burritos by rolling up your choice of grain-free Siete tortillas (I like the cassava ones) with a protein filling. Here are some ideas: Bacon & Egg, Ground Beef, Zucchini & Onion, Pulled Chicken, Cooked Spinach & Onion. 

 

Garlicky Greek Lamb Skillet from The Healing Kitchen

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

Crispy Salmon Hash from The Healing Kitchen (double batch)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

 

In the freezer: 3 packages nightshade-free, grass-fed sausages, 3 pounds US Wellness Meats Braunschweiger, 3 packages each frozen organic blueberries, raspberries and strawberries (for smoothies)

 

In the pantry: 1 large container Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (for smoothies), 12 packs Paleo Angel Power Balls for quick collagen and gelatin protein bites with healthy fats from coconut (Vanilla Cupcake is my favorite)

 


 

Make-Ahead Proteins

Blood-building, protein-rich foods are necessary parts of a post-partum diet for many reasons including restoring your iron levels and providing sufficient protein in your breastmilk for baby’s optimal growth and development. Thankfully, protein is the easiest of the food groups to batch cook ahead and store in the freezer, preserving all the yummy flavor and texture of your favorite meats. My batch cook protein plan includes grass-beef, grass-fed lamb and pastured chicken, which is also rich in B vitamins and selenium.

 

2 lbs Taco Beef  for the Above Breakfast Burritos ( Taco Beef from The Healing Kitchen)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then fill each Siete tortilla with a small amount of beef. Fold in the sides and roll. Wrap in parchment paper and store in a single layer in a sealed plastic bag or two to save space.

2 lbs Anti-Inflammatory Meatballs

Freeze in a single layer on the baking sheet and then store in a sealed silicone or plastic bag to save space. If you’d like to defrost in batches, store in a glass container in layers separated by a sheet of parchment paper, so you can remove one layer at a time. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a 300 degree oven until just warm. 

 

 Speedy Shanghai Stirfry with Turkey from The Healing Kitchen (double batch, freeze in two containers)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

 

Mojo Pulled Chicken from The Healing Kitchen

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container.

Defrost in the refrigerator and use this seasoned pulled chicken in a variety of ways: to top salads, as a protein addition to soup, in cauliflower rice bowls, or in Siete Tortillas for a quick taco night. 

 

Lamb with Olive Tapenade “Rice” (double batch, freeze in two containers)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then store in a sealed glass container. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

 

Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders (double batch, freeze in two layers separated by parchment paper)

Cool on a wire rack completely and then store in a sealed glass container, each batch separated by a layer of parchment paper so you can choose to defrost just 1 pound at a time. Reheat in a 300 degree oven and then place under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp up.

Sweet Plantain & Beef Casserole from Enthused

Bake in a Pyrex casserole dish with a lid option, so you can simply cool the casserole, cover with the lid and store in the freezer for reheating! Reheat in a 350 degree oven until warm.


 

Gut-Healing Soups

Bone broth rich soups and easily digestible vegetables are some of the most healing foods a woman can eat at any point in her life, but particularly while recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. Women who tested positive for GBS may have undergone antibiotics during labor which constitutes a focus on rebalancing the gut flora with gelatin and mineral-rich broths. Sure, soup isn’t the easiest food to eat one-handed and you certainly don’t want to eat it while baby-wearing, but find 15 minutes to enjoy a bowl or two a day for this important healing meal ritual.

Freezer storage tips for all soups: I like to cool the soup completely in the refrigerator in an ajar 7-cup large round glass Pyrex container. This size allows me to defrost one or two meal’s worth of soup for the family (or 4 meals worth of soup for myself). Often times, I can split a recipe into 2 7-cup containers, so we don’t get “soup burnout” by eating the same soup multiple days in a row.

Yellow Chicken Veggie Soup

 

Hamburger Stew from The Healing Kitchen

 

Amazing Acorn Squash Curry (vegan) from Enthused

 

Italian Sausage & Roasted Vegetable Soup from Enthused

 

Chicken Soup (I don’t use a specific recipe here – just a good ol’ classic chicken soup made with onions, carrots, celery, herbs, chicken, chicken broth, and any other veggie additions you’d like)

 

Snacks/Breads/Low Sugar Treats

Rosemary & Prosciutto Stromboli (triple the recipe for 3 large strombolis and then cut in half)

Cool completely in the refrigerator and then wrap individually in parchment paper and store flat in a sealed plastic bag. Silicone isn’t necessary since your food will only be touching parchment. 

 

Avocado Carob Fudge Bars (cut into squares for an easy breastfeeding or labor snack full of healthy fats)

Store in the freezer in a sealed glass container. When ready to eat, pop a few in the refrigerator for the next couple days or defrost on the countertop for 10 minutes prior to eating. 

 

No-Sugar-Added Cherry Pie Bars (cut into squares for an easy snack or healthy, low sugar treat)

Cool completely and freeze in a parchment lined plastic bag in the freezer. Lay flat to save storage space. When ready to eat, remove a few squares and defrost on the countertop for 15 to 30 minutes. 

 

Thin Crust Pizza (quadruple the recipe so you have 4 crusts ready to go for on-the-go pizza night)

When it’s time for pizza night, defrost however many crusts you’d like to make on the countertop. Top with your favorite toppings and bake in a preheated oven until warm. 

 


 

Flavor Additions & Sauces

Freeze all of these sauces in sealed glass containers. I prefer to freeze in small 4 to 6 ounce containers, so I can defrost just the amount I need for whatever meal I’m making.

Garlic Cream Sauce from Enthused

Sofrito from Latin American Paleo Cooking by Amanda Torres

I like to have this nightshade-free Sofrito on hand to add spice and flavor to a quick stir-fry or sauteed cauliflower rice, or even to toss with cooked, pulled, plain chicken. 

Real Caesar Dressing from Enthused

(for quick kale caesar salads and chicken caesar collard wraps)

 

How to Avoid Toxins In Your Makeup

Steps on how to avoid harmful toxins in your daily makeup routine! Did you know your makeup likely contains heavy metals like lead and mercury, hormone disruptors like phthalates and parabens and carcinogens hiding under words like “fragrance?” Learn all about how to identify toxins in your makeup and my favorite safer makeup brand!

 

Oh makeup… as Lauren Conrad put it at the ripe age of sixteen, “It’s like art for our face.” And I couldn’t agree more. Makeup is an artistic expression for many of us, a way for us to stand out or make a statement, and often times just a fun morning ritual that makes us feel more awake and ready for the day. 

 

Makeup’s history spans thousands of years at this point with the first “products” created from earthly clay, copper and ash.

 

In modern day times, most cosmetics in the marketplace contain a mix of:

  • parabens (widely recognized hormone disruptors)1,4-dioxane (a potent carcinogen),

  • heavy metals (like lead, mercury and arsenic),

  • phthalates (endocrine disruptors and carcinogens)

  • plant extracts,

  • alcohol,

  • PEGs (often contaminated with carcinogens),

  • fragrance/parfum & flavorings (which require no disclosure or testing and can contains hundreds of thousands of chemicals),

  • hydrolyzed wheat protein (thought to be unlikely to cause a gluten reaction except in very sensitive individuals),

  • retinyl palmitate (a cell disrupting potential carcinogen),

  • mineral oil (which can be contaminated with more dioxane),

  • aluminum,

  • titanium dioxide

  •  and water. 

 

You can probably figure out which of those ingredients you want to be putting on your skin every morning and kissing your kids or partner with and which you do not.

 

 

The Cosmetic Industry Is Hardly Regulated 

The FDA does not approve cosmetic ingredients before they hit the market with the exception of colorants. 

The FDA does not require “fragrance” or “flavoring” ingredients to be expanded on or made transparent to the public. Those words can mean absolutely any chemical, whether or not it has been tested for safety. 

The FDA is currently unable to issue mandatory recalls of cosmetics with known toxins in them such as lead or arsenic. That’s right. If L’Oreal knows their lipstick contains lead (as third-party testing has revealed), they have no obligation to pull it from the drugstore shelves. 

The FDA has no legal limits on heavy metals in cosmetics despite Health Canada’s guidance on the issue. 

 

Heavy Metals in Cosmetics Are Rampant

“Natural” mineral makeup is often times more likely to be contaminated than non-mineral makeup as the mining and manufacturing process of minerals makes heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium more bioavailable. 

The vast (vast) majority of cosmetics companies do not test their sources or their end products for heavy metals which can be contaminated in harmful amounts with repeated chronic exposure (such as daily or weekly use). Repeat exposure is key here. The FDA has recommended  cosmetic companies set the level of allowable lead in lip products to 10 ppm but it does not require this limit nor does it test marketplace products nor issue recalls if products exceed this amount.

 

What Makes Beautycounter’s Makeup Different: 

Beautycounter triple tests each batch of color cosmetics for 12 of the most common heavy metals including lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel, cadmium and copper. We aim for non-detectable levels in every batch and often times achieve that or very low levels of 0.5 ppm (which is why we don’t believe any cosmetics company can truly call themselves “heavy metal free” for true transparency). I have yet to find another cosmetics company going to this level of testing for every single batch of ingredients and final product.  

 

Is Talc In Makeup Harmful?

In recent years, talc has gotten a bad rap in the media after a well-publicized lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleged their baby powder directly caused reproductive cancer. It turns out it wasn’t talc that was the issue but the asbestos-laden talc that J&J was sourcing for their best-selling baby powder. Sufficient evidence exists that J&J hid their knowledge of this asbestos contamination for decades from the public.

 

What Makes Beautycounter’s Makeup Different:

Beautycounter sources only certified asbestos-free talc which is both tested by our trusted source as well as our own third-party tester for every single batch.


Beautycounter’s newest pressed powders deliver on performance AND safety which is all a modern, health-conscious gal could ask for!

 

 

MY 5 MUST-HAVE HIGH-PERFORMING SAFER MAKEUP PRODUCTS

These five Beautycounter makeup products perform like my old MAC & Sephora favorites & I’m always getting compliments on my makeup when I wear them! 

 1. Tint Skin Foundation: a lightweight, breathable and buildable foundation that helps you achieve that bright, hydrated and slightly luminous glow. It’s not a heavy matte foundation, which I prefer, as heavier foundations cause me to breakout or my skin to look dull and dry.

2.Luminous Highlighter & the limited edition First Light Highlighter Palette: These new highlighters are the best I’ve ever used (and I’m coming from MAC & Sephora) – finely milled cocoa butter powder helps them go on naturally but provide a noticeable and gorgeous glow. Apply to your cheekbones, bridge of nose, cupid’s bow, shoulders & anywhere else you want a natural glow with either the Powder Brush or Fan BrushThey can be used as eyeshadows too!

3. Color Intense LipstickI personally prefer a more matte, long-lasting lipstick so Beautycounter really upped the ante with this lipstick line. Safer lipsticks have the reputation or wearing off fast but not here! Don’t be fooled by the name – there are plenty of neutral colors including Brunch, Backstage, and First Date (for a light rosy pink). No gluten or soy either and you can rest assured you won’t be slathering your lips in lead or mercury as well! There’s even a limited edition Holiday Mini Lipstick Vault that contain 8 colors for less than $10 EACH!

4. Velvet Eyeshadow Palette in Classic: To me, this is the perfect all-in-one day to night palette. Browns, neutrals and golds look beautiful on all skin tones and you can really achieve the most natural to a bold, dramatic look with this palette. I recommend the All Over, Crease and Precisioneyeshadow brushes for applying Beautycounter’s eyeshadows. Great mix of mattes & shimmers for all ages.

5. Touchup Concealer Pen: A sleepy mama’s dream come true for under-eye darkness, redness or breakouts. I love this Chanel-inspired concealer pen and how long it lasts me too. Just a few dabs under my eyes and in the corner of my nose where I’m prone to redness, and I’m looking like I got more than 6 hours of broken toddler-banging-on-our-door sleep! 

 

 


Save 20% on 6 daily safer makeup staples with Beautycounter’s Flawless in Five discounted and customizable makeup kit

It saves you almost $40 while switching over 6 natural-looking daytime makeup routine necessities. 



Tint Skin Foundation (10 colors options for all skin tones) OR the best-selling Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 20)


Touchup Concealer Pen: 5 color options from Fair to Dark


Eyebrow Pencil or the NEW Brow Gel: 3 color options for the pencil and 5 for the gel!


Mascara: choose between Lengthening and Volumizing 


Satin Blush: 7 color options (Nectar, Date & Melon are my faves!)

and Lip Gloss: 13 hydrating, sheer color options from barely there neutrals to pretty pops of color  

Once you choose your foundation color, the website customizes the rest of your color recommendations, but I’m happy to help with that too! Reply to this email for free makeup color matching with me!