6 Benefits of Healthy Sodas (AKA Fermented Drinks)

When I eliminated store bought sodas from my diet because of all the unhealthy ingredients, I missed having flavored fizzy drinks.

Until I discovered fermented drinks!

They are now referred to as our healthy sodas!

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What are fermented drinks?

Fermented drinks have been a staple of the human diet for centuries. Without modern refrigeration techniques, people sought other methods to preserve food and mitigate spoilage. Fermentation is one of the methods of preservation utilized by all cultures.

During fermentation, live bacteria break down food components such as sugar, making it easier for you to digest and absorb its nutrients. You can ferment cabbage into sauerkraut, and you can also ferment a sweet tea into kombucha or jun.

There are several fermented drinks you can incorporate into your diet:

  • kombucha- a black tea with sugar fermented using a SCOBY

  • jun- a green tea with honey fermented using a SCOBY

  • water kefir- a sugar water fermented using grains

  • milk kefir- milk fermented using grains

  • ginger beer- using a ginger bug which is fermented

  • mead- a honey and yeast drink brewed similarly to beer

  • sima - a Finnish drink with lemons, sugar and yeast

  • boza or bouza - a middle eastern drink make from hulled millet and sugar

  • kvass -a Russian beverage from fermenting rye bread, and can also be made from beets

  • lacto-fermented orange juice or lemonade- fermented using a culture

  • hard apple cider - fermenting fresh apple cider

Why should I drink fermented drinks?

  1. When you consume fermented food and drinks, you’re essentially bathing your GI tract in healthy, food-related organisms and bacteria. If the good bugs in the gut outnumber the bad bugs, you’re less likely to experience sickness, and you may reverse some chronic illnesses.

  2. Fermented, or cultured, drinks are another way to incorporate more fermented foods into your family’s diet.

  3. You can replace Coca-Cola, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, etc with what we refer to in our house as healthy sodas.

    1. You can change the flavors on kombucha, jun and kefir during the second fermentation giving you ample options for your healthy sodas

  4. May replace probiotic supplements, as fermented drinks will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system.

  5. Fermented foods and drinks are essential for good digestion and nutrient absorption. Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat.

  6. Fermented drinks are budget friendly, especially if you make them at home as they cost only pennies per serving versus $2.00 per bottle at the store. You may also cut down on the number of supplements and vitamins you need, helping your budget further.

Kombucha gallon

Kombucha gallon

Water kefir half-gallon

Water kefir half-gallon




Traditional food is medicine

If you've come to any of our ranch classes, you've been introduced to Weston P. Price Foundation (WPF). This organization provides :

“accurate information on nutrition and health, always aiming to provide the scientific validation of traditional foodways. People seeking health today often condemn certain food groups — such as grains, dairy foods, meat, salt, fat, sauces, sweets and nightshade vegetables — but the Wise Traditions Diet is inclusive, not exclusive. “

WPF advocates a diet consisting of traditional foods.

WPF shows you how to include all these nourishing traditional foods in your diet through wise choices and proper preparation techniques.

What is traditional foods?

So what do they mean by saying traditional foods?

In essence, traditional foods are those whole and ancient foods that have been eaten for centuries and even millenia. They are the foods that your ancestors (think a handful of generations ago when all cooking was from scratch) would have eaten. They are simple, naturally grown or raised, nutrient-dense, thoughtfully prepared. They are not fads (in fact, they tend to go in direct opposition to most conventional nutritional advice these days).


Traditional foods are:

  • Foods in their original form, as they were created— not processed, not packaged.

  • Foods that have a long history of supporting good health.

  • Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense.

  • Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, dairy, fats.

Traditional Foods Aren’t:

  • Low-fat, low-cholesterol, vegetarian or vegan

  • A one-size fits all diet (rather it has to do with a healthful variety of foods that are local to you, so if you live on the coast you may eat more fish, but if you live in a fertile valley you may eat plenty of raw dairy and vegetables).

  • The so-called “health foods” that you’ll find with bold labels on the store shelves.

"In the simplest explanation, traditional foods focused on four basic principles: 1) avoidance of modern, refined foods; 2) celebration of unrefined, whole and natural foods; 3) respecting the importance of nutrient-density in our food and 4) preparing and eating foods in the same manner that nourished our ancestors and kept them well. In essence, if your great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, don’t put it in your mouth."

From Nourished Kitchen

Which Foods are Traditional?

  • Pastured, grass-fed and free range meats (cow, goat, lamb as well as wild meats like deer, moose, elk, etc.) and poultry. Also included are organ meats from any of these animals, which were highly prized by traditional cultures.

  • Fish that are wild, and preferably from less polluted waters (like Pacific/Alaskan salmon, for example). Cod liver oil is also a historically-valued natural food supplement and an important source of nutrients.

  • Eggs from pastured hens.

  • Raw (unpasteurized, un-homogenized) dairy products from cows and goats that are grass-fed (not grain-fed). This especially includes cultured dairy products like yogurt, kefir, creme fraiche or sour cream, and cheeses.

  • Whole grains that are soaked, sprouted or made using sourdough fermentation methods.

  • Organic or ecologically grown vegetables and fruits.

  • Bone broths made from the bones of the above-mentioned animals and fish.

  • Lacto-fermented vegetable and fruit condiments, such as sauerkraut, chutneys, pickles, ketchup, various dressings and sauces, etc. Also, fermented beverages, such as kombucha, water kefir, beet kvass and others.

  • Fats such as butter, beef tallow and other animal fats, unrefined coconut oil, palm oil, extra virgin olive oil.

  • Raw nuts and seeds, that have been soaked for improved digestion.

  • Wholesome sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup, dried fruits, small amounts of unrefined sugars like Sucanat or Rapadura.

  • Unrefined sea salt, which is full of minerals. Also, fresh or dried herbs and spices.

How many traditional foods are you currently including in your diet?

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10 Healing Health Benefits of Ginger

I have a confession to make.

I didn’t know about ginger until a few years ago!

How did I live without ginger? I use it all the time now. I LOVE the taste it gives dishes, and in drinks.

And, as I get older, I’m counting on ginger to help me with my memory and keeping all my teeth healthy!

Did you know that ginger is closely related to turmeric?

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And did you know that there are at least 10 health benefits of including ginger in your diet?

Ginger helps with nausea

Ginger has a long history in being used to help with sea sickness, and relieves nausea and vomiting after surgery, and especially great when undergoing cancer treatment.

But it is most effective in treating morning sickness. According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea.

Ginger may reduce muscle pain and soreness

Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises.

Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with osteoarthritis. In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.

Ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties

Ginger may drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors.

Ginger can help treat chronic indigestion

Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion.

Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition. After eating soup, ginger reduced the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes. In a study of 24 healthy individuals, 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50%.

Ginger powder may significantly reduce menstrual pain

One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain.

Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period. In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.

Ginger may lower cholesterol levels

High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the "bad" cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In a 45-day study of 85 individuals with high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers.

Ginger contains a substance that may help prevent cancer

Ginger contains a substance called 6-gingerol, which may have protective effects against cancer. However, this needs to be studied a lot more.

Ginger may improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer's Disease

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process. They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also improve brain function in elderly women. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.

Ginger can help lower the risk of infections

Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria.

It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

With all these benefits, it makes sense to use it as often as you can in your diet!

5 Ways You Can Use Amazingly Healing Nutmeg in Your Menu

Did you know that nutmeg has many health benefits?

I knew I enjoyed the taste of nutmeg, but I had no idea of how many ways it is healing until I started doing some research.

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Who knew nutmeg was so good for you! I have always used it when I make creamed spinach, and in French Apple Pie, but there are so many other ways you can include it in your menu!

Nutmeg can be enjoyed all year long, not just in the fall and winter!

On Vegetables

You can use ground nutmeg on fresh vegetables (no canned veggies allowed)!

  • Sweet Potato

  • Red Potato

  • Carrots

  • Pumpkins

  • Squash

  • Cabbage

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Spinach

Add a pat of butter, olive or coconut oil and a dash of ground nutmeg. Voila!

On Fruit

Fruit always tastes wonderful by itself, but a dash of ground nutmeg kicks up the flavor!

  • Cooked apples

  • Bananas

  • Peaches

  • Nectarines

  • Pears

  • Pineapple

  • Mango

Cut up the fruit, sprinkle with ground nutmeg, and squeeze a little lemon juice. Combine several fruits and make yourself a fruit salad. No canned fruit allowed!

On Breakfast

I don’t know about you, but sometimes we have breakfast for dinner. Quiches are a favorite.

  • Quiche

  • Scrambled Eggs

  • Omelets

  • Pancakes

  • French Toast

  • Muffins

  • Oatmeal

Just after you remove the food from cooking/baking, sprinkle ground nutmeg so that the nutmeg seeps into the food.

On Desserts

Most of us use ground nutmeg in pies and baked goods, but it’s also great on them!

  • Fruit Pies

  • Cakes

  • Custard

  • Cookies

Sprinkle on the dessert soon after you remove it from the oven, so that the nutmeg can integrate/seep into the dish rather than the powder sitting on top of the dish.

Adding ground nutmeg in this manner to the desserts might allow you to reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener you include when cooking because the nutmeg adds a sweet-tasting flavor all of its own.

On Drinks

Add a twist to your drinks by sprinkling a little ground nutmeg on them.

  • Coffee

  • Hot Chocolate

  • Hot Tea

  • Eggnog

  • Cider

Final takeaway

There are many ways how you can add some ground nutmeg into your daily diet and start feeling the healthy benefits!

Make sure all items are the cleanest foods you can eat: fresh, organic, no chemicals/pesticides/preservatives, no imitation flavorings to see the best results!

How to Have the Perfect Holiday Ham!

One of our family traditions is to have ham for our Christmas dinner, and then hopefully we have enough ham slices as leftovers for small sandwiches for New Years Eve!

But there were a few years that we didn’t cook a ham.

Why?

Because I was reading labels when I started on my quest to cook and feed nutritious food for my family and didn’t like what I found in the store.

Have you read a store ham label? Here’s an example:

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A portion of ground pork added? That’s not a ham!

Water added? Why do they add water? What else do they add?

Not liking what we found in the store, we raised our own pigs and knew what our hams contained.

And the taste! So much better than what you can find at the grocery store!

So, the first step to having the perfect holiday ham is to purchase from your local farmer/rancher!

The second step is to make sure that the farmer/rancher gives the pigs 24/7 access to the outdoors, preferably on grass (which will eventually be mud because they are pigs!).

Most of the hams you find at the store are from pigs that have been confined in a ‘barn house’ and don’t see any grass or mud for that matter.

A pig in confinement doesn’t get much exercise. A pig on pasture will get plenty of exercise, and their by utilize their muscles.

When you see a pasture raised ham versus a store purchased ham, you’ll see the difference in the meat!

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The third step in having a perfect Christmas or New Year’s ham, is to cook it to perfection!

To do that, you can use this Honey Glazed Recipe or you can use this new recipe that a friend just shared with me. It works so well, that I just had to share it with you!

Click here to print

I just might have to cook two hams this holiday season: one for Christmas and one for New Years using each recipe!

Good thing I have a freezer full of hams!

And, if ham is not on our Christmas menu, remember this recipe for when do you want a moist and delicious ham.

Wishing you a joyful and healthy holiday season!



Four Ways Bone Broth Can Improve Your Skin

So we’re all getting older every day, and some of us have reached the age when our skin starts looking less young!

Drinking my morning cup of broth!

Drinking my morning cup of broth!

I’ve written about the benefits of bone broth here, here and here, and I’d like to share how bone broth helps you have glowing skin. I might sound like a broken record, but bone broth is truly a healing food!

You see, the health of your skin is a reflection of the essential nutrients you’re eating (i.e. healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) together with how well your body is digesting and absorbing these nutrients.

Today, many of us are having problems absorbing the nutrients we are eating because we don’t have a healthy gut lining (other wise known as leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability). What this means is that our intestinal lining has small holes which allows undigested food particles, bacteria and other substances to pass into our bloodstream where they don’t belong.

Our bodies see these substances in our bloodstream as foreign invaders and this triggers our natural immune response (in skin: acne, rashes, hives, eczema and psoriasis). Frequent immune responses trigger inflammation throughout your body, which can cause or aggravate existing skin conditions.

Bone broth contains two proteins that help heal and seal the gut lining: gelatin and collagen. Both help seal the small hoes in your gut lining, thereby preventing the substances from entering into your bloodstream and directly benefitting your skin!

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  1. Bone Broth Promotes Skin Elasticity for Smooth, Firm Skin

    As mentioned earlier, bone broth contains collagen. Collagen is the most important nutrient for skin elasticity and is responsible for the plump, firm, youthful appearance of your skin.

    When your collagen begins to break down (as it does with age and toxin exposure), signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear.

    Studies show that our bodies begin to produce less collagen once we hit the age of 25, which is why getting more collagen in your diet from foods like bone broth is important to promote skin elasticity and fight the signs of premature aging.

  2. Bone Broth Promotes Fewer Breakouts

    Several essential vitamins and minerals are concentrated in bones, including zinc, which is an important mineral for fighting acne and maintaining clear skin.

  3. Bone Broth is Rich in Anti-Aging Nutrients

    Bone broth contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are molecules found in the skin’s dermis, along with collagen and elastin. With a gel-like consistency, the role of GAGs is to fill the space between collagen and elastin, which helps keep the skin plump and supple.

    No need to use those hyaluronic acid injections as wrinkle fillers. Just drink bone broth!

  4. Bone Broth Helps Brighten Your Skin

    Good circulation is essential for bright, glowing skin, and the alkaline minerals bone broth provides encourage better oxygen flow throughout your body.

    Other trace minerals found in bone broth, such as iron and zinc, are also needed to promote wound healing, which can help reduce the appearance of red marks and scarring.

With so many skin benefits, I should have been drinking broth all my adult life, but I didn’t. But, I have noticed that skin feels better since I started drinking broth daily, and I get less acne than I used to!

I’m waiting for my wrinkles to go away as I drink more broth! In the meantime, I keep telling myself that each wrinkle (as well as gray hair) has been well earned!


School is back in session so it must be broth time!

One of the things I enjoy about summer is that it's almost a pleasure to drive my commute because traffic is easy! I know immediately when school is back in session because the traffic situation is like night and day- it goes from easy to frustrating immediately.

So as we transition and adjust to the school schedule, let us not forget that this is an important time to keep our bodies healthy to combat the stress and germs of a hectic schedule and exposure to other sickness.

Did you know that drinking broth daily can help keep sickness at bay?

Bone broth boosts the immune system. Bone broth contains amino acids:

  • arginine which is essential for immune system and liver function

  • glutamine which helps with metabolism

  • glycine which aids in antioxidant production and quality of sleep

Bone broth contains minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb:

  • calcium

  • magnesium

  • phosphorous

  • silicon

  • sulphur

Bone broth has gut-supporting benefits and therefore supports the immune system function and healthy inflammation response.

  • collagen/gelatin and the amino acids described about help seal the gut lining and support gut integrity

Its just amazing how one simple little drink can be so effective in our bodies! It's a power drink!

If you have an Instant Pot, making broth is easy-peasy! Gone are the says of having to watch over the stock pot as it simmers over 12-24 hours. In just 45 minutes you can have healthy and delicious broth. Below is the recipe.

As always, what you eat is only as healthy as the actual ingredients, so make sure you use bones from grass fed livestock that haven't been exposed to chemicals or GMO feed.

How to use bone broth in your diet?

  1. Make a broth based soup like chicken noodle soup

  2. Cook your grains in it (rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat)

  3. Drink it in a mug (for breakfast, lunch or after dinner)

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Click here to print recipe.

With the Instant Pot and the different ways you can incorporate broth/stock into your daily eating habits, there's an easy way to stay healthy!


Things happen at just the RIGHT time!

So I've been focusing many of my posts on how eating good, clean, nourishing food can heal your body. But many of us have other issues with our bodies, particularly structural issues that cause us pain or limited functions.

I've lived with scoliosis since it was diagnosed when I was 13 years old. So that's 40 years of curvatures!

I used to joke that I had a hippy, baby carrying side, and then my flat, boyish side!

In the last 2 years, I had noticed that my curvatures were becoming more noticeable, and my clothes were fitting awkwardly. I was becoming more self conscious of myself.

I tried working with the chiropractor, but I'd had to keep going to get adjusted. The adjustments weren't 'sticking'.

I tried getting Rolfing therapy (a body massage working the fascia- the connective tissue protecting the muscles). I saw some change, but it also required going back for more therapy.

Through a series of events stemming from the farmers market, I met a brilliant young lady who works with postural alignment and who had scoliosis herself. She looked fabulous so I decided to work with her.

In one word, it was AMAZING! Like, life changing amazing! And it's only taken me 40 years to find it!

Here's a before and after of my front (5 weeks difference):

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Here's the before and after of my back ( I didn't realize I was sporting a wedgy both times :D) :

Lindsey is teaching me Egoscue exercises that I can do myself, that will help me keep myself better aligned. The basic concept is that our bones don't hold our body together, but our muscles are what hold the bones together to form our structure.

Lindsey evaluates my posture and then has me work on existing or new exercises to address a particular postural issue. Then my homework is to do all the exercises daily until the next session.

I'm getting taught how to fix myself (lets face it, manhandling sheep, lifting 50 lb bags of feed, sitting at a computer all day at the office and weeding the garden are all repetitive activities that will affect your posture).

Each exercise is stretching and strengthening my muscles so that I can 'hold' my bones in their correct location.

And I can tell you that I can FEEL the difference when I skip a day and when I am diligent about getting the exercises in the daily schedule.

There's one particular exercise that brings me instant relief. When Lindsey first had me do it, I could barely keep the position as I was so out of balance. Quickly, it has become my go to when I feel that 'kink' in my lower back. And it's such a simple little exercise! It's standing pigeon-toed with my toes touching- AHHH...instant relief in my lower back and hips! (CAUTION: Every body has it's own struggles so what might work for me might not work for you. Please see a certified therapist that will work with your particular issues.)

I mentioned earlier that I was becoming self conscious of my body which was what propelled me to look for therapy. But after the first session, I realized that my scoliosis was affecting much more than the visual alignment of my body.

During the first session, Lindsey had me perform a few exercises. As I finished every exercise, she evaluated the effect on my body and asked me what felt different. After the second or third exercise, it occurred to me that I could breathe easier. The exercise had opened up my ribcage so that my lungs had more room!

It was AMAZING! I hadn't even realized I had any issues with my lung capacity before that!

Because of my curvature, my center of balance is on my right side and over my right leg. This means that my right knee and ankle bear the weight of all my body. I'd grown so used to this, it was such a surprise to me to feel 'weird' after the first few exercises during our first session when my center of balance shifted more to the center. My right leg actually felt lighter!

If you scrutinize my before and after photos, you'll see that my left hip dropped, that my right ankle has straightened, and that my right hand is better aligned (the before photo just shows the back of my hand but the after photo shows just my thumb and index implying that my shoulder rotated enough that my arm is hanging better aligned).

It was AMAZING! How cool is it that with just a few simple exercises, you can give your body much needed relief!

It's taken me 40 years to get my body into this shape, so my perfect alignment isn't going to happen overnight! But seeing and feeling the progress and results that I've achieved so far, I'm happy to do my exercises daily and thrilled to be in control of my body's posture!

So, not only can you heal your body with nourishing food, you can also heal your body with egoscue therapy!

Maybe this is the right time for you to heal your body?


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When you try something new, you're going to learn something!

So I am SUPER pleased to share that we have a freezer stocked with ground turkey and turkey bones/necks/wings/feet! This is a new item for us and as with any new experience, we've learned lots!

Things we've learned by raising turkeys:

  • Turkeys poop A LOT! But the result is that they are putting a whole bunch of fertilizer into the soil when they do this and it results in lush, green grass.
  • Herding turkeys into their turkey tractor (movable turkey coop) is easier than herding chickens (who act spastic when you try to herd them).
  • When customers heard that we would have ground turkey for sale, they came by to visit me when they were at the market to check when we'd have it available. I love this, as I like to chat with my customers, but I also felt the excitement of being able to provide a product they wanted.
  • I learned from many of my customers that turkey was one of the few meats their digestive system could tolerate, so it fills me with great joy that I am able to help them by providing them meat they can eat.
  • I learned that mixing the white and dark meat in the ground makes for a moister meat.
  • Did you know that ground turkey and ground chicken have the same nutritional content?
  • Raw ground turkey, as with ground chicken, has a softer consistency that ground beef or pork.
  • I'm not a body builder (I get my strength by lifting 50 lb bags of feed and 100 lb lambs), but as I get older, I want to make sure that I eat the best protein to keep me strong. Turkey accomplishes that!
  • And lastly, I learned that my lovey does a fantastic job of taking care of things while I'm out of town on other business! I couldn't have gone through with this new enterprise without his help and advice/suggestions.

In the next few weeks, I'll be posting some new recipes


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Start your morning with a cup of healthiness....

A year ago, I decided to quit coffee. Cold turkey.

Have you ever gone through caffeine withdrawal? It's awful. I felt like a heavy steam roller had run over my entire body. Everything hurt. It was worse than any bad flu I've had. I wanted to die. It was awful.

After 2 days, I started feeling human again, and ready to face the world.

I don't know about you, but I like to start my day with a cup of hot something. Since I had quit     coffee to be healthier, I tried experimenting with different teas to start my day. But they just didn't have the same effect as coffee.

Then I took my own advice, and started having a cup of broth in the morning. It was different. It wasn't sweet (I like my coffee and tea with honey/cane sugar/agave). It was more savory than what I was used to. But after a few days, I noticed that I had more energy and that I was less hungry by the time lunch time came around, so I kept at it.

After a few weeks, I noticed that my nails weren't breaking like they had been (doing ranch chores/work is hard on my hands and nails) and that my digestive issues seemed to occur less often. I was also looking forward to my morning cup of broth! I liked how it made me feel!

Even during my travels, I've kept up my morning cup of broth. I love how it makes me feel energized!

But my travel broth cups (which I shared in my last post) only come in chicken, beef and vegetable. So when I'm home, I always make sure that I have lamb stock available so I can enjoy my cup of lamb stock in the morning!

It's so easy to make lamb stock (well, any stock/broth is easy to make really). And it can be used in so many ways, not just for your morning cup of healthiness!

Will you try making your own lamb stock, and enjoying a cup of warm stock in the morning?

To help you, I've shared my recipe below. Try it! You might just love it!

To print, click here.

Four Healthy Things to Pack When You Travel

So I'm in a season where I'm having to travel quite a bit for my corporate work. I'm going on week #7 of having to take a flight to go into work, and live out of a suitcase and in hotel rooms all week.

I've become proficient in how and what I pack for these trips, especially as I want to stay healthy while I'm on the road. Everyone knows that finding healthy food while on the road is hard, so you have to take it with you! And being in contact with so many people in the airport and plane creates alot of exposure to any sickness that is going around.

With the amazingness of Amazon, that is possible! All of the items below I purchased from Amazon.

These four items have become a must have for every trip:

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These travel size, airline approved, 2 oz bottles of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are easy to pack into your carry-on.  I pour one of these into a glass of water and add some honey whenever I'm feeling parched, and it's a wonderful!

Did you know that ACV helps regulate blood sugar levels and improves skin health? When my schedule is hectic and I don't eat, I can feel the effects of low blood sugar, so I make sure that I keep ACV on hand. It also helps my skin from drying out when I'm on the plane.

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I've written about the benefits of bone broth. With this crazy schedule, I haven't had time to make my own broth, so I make sure to pack my Keurig paleo bone broth cups so I keep my gut healthy while on the road. And they are tasty too!

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I love many things from Trader Joe's, but my new favorite is their Nothing but Fruit & Nuts Date-Hazelnut-Cacao snacks. They are the perfect size to throw into your handbag or carry-on. Any they taste almost like a cookie, but alot healthier than one! When I'm running from one meeting to another, or need some sweetness while I have my glass of wine in the hotel room, these are perfect!

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And lastly, my mini diffuser has been essential in keeping me healthy. It fits nicely tucked into the corner of my carry-on with my essential oils (EO) case. I use it in my hotel room during the night with some Four Thieves EO to keep any sickness at bay!

When I have had a stressful day, I have been known to put in some Rosemary or Lavender EO to relax myself.

What I have yet to find is some travel size bottles of my favorite wine! Now that would make my packing complete!


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What do cognac, cast iron, garlic and lamb have in common?

Since I've started eating more lamb, I've found a good use for all my cast iron skillets! (Does anyone else have way too many cast iron skillets of different sizes, together with cast iron dutch ovens?)

Anyway, back to the title- What do cognac, cast iron, garlic and lamb have in common? The answer is- in less than 20 minutes you can bring all of these items/ingredients together and serve a melt-in-your-mouth meal to your family or friends! 

Lamb loin chops are the filet mignon of lamb (which has always been my favorite). The loin chop looks like miniature T-bone steaks, and is the leanest and most tender cut of lamb and best cooked at high temperatures in a cast iron skillet or grill.

For those on a paleo diet, you can replace the butter with ghee.

And, don't forget, that to make sure you are providing a healthy meal, source your lamb from your favorite grass fed sheep rancher!

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6 Wonderful Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

What do wine, yogurt, beer, pickles, cheese and bread have in common? (Aside from making a delicious meal :D)

They have all been made through FERMENTATION!

Fermentation has been around for ages, and happening every day and everywhere. Cultures around the world have been fermenting longer than when we first started writing down recipes.

Kimchi is Korean. Sauerkraut is German. The French perfected cheese, bread and wine. The best yogurt I ever tasted was one I purchased at a farmers market in France.

Very simplistically, fermentation is the process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics. In short, it adds all sorts of healthy goodness and nutrition to your meal!

When I was starting to use food to heal my body, and nourish my children, doing any fermentation felt overwhelming. But when I learned that cheese, bread and wine were fermented (my staple comfort foods), I convinced myself that if I could make healthy cheese and bread from scratch, I could eat my comfort foods without guilt!

So I taught myself to make cheese (a great reason to have your own dairy cow right?) and bread. Then yogurt (and yes I got close to making an identical yogurt to the French yogurt I had tasted), milk kefir and kombucha quickly followed. Then I made pickles as lovey loves them (not a favorite of mine). I tried making sauerkraut, and eventually made one I liked!

And then I found fermented ketchup! If there's a heaven on earth, I've found it in fermented ketchup! You should really try it.

The BEST part of fermented foods, aside from being delicious, is that they are beneficial to your body. So every bite is a step towards a healthier you!

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Another benefit of fermented foods is that it is budget friendly!

If you've started adding healthy foods into your diet and menus, you know that it can get expensive really quickly. Fermented foods (and drinks) will cost you only pennies per serving. You can turn a cabbage into several jars of sauerkraut to be used on burgers or with sausage. A half gallon of raw milk will not only give you cheese, but you'll also have the whey to use in further ferments.

So fermented foods are not only good for your body, but good for your budget too!

If you don't know where to start with adding fermented foods, or don't know how to make fermented foods, check out our list of events to see our class schedule.


Do you want a healthy 2018?

Is one your 2018 resolutions to start feeling better? I know every year I want to be healthier than the previous one. It's an ongoing goal for me and my family!

One of the ways to jump start this resolution is to have more broth and stock in our meals. 

I've posted about how broth cured my acid reflux and some of the benefits of stock and broth previously, but I'd like to mention another benefit of eating more broth and stock in your diet.

I can now eat gluten and not have my body shut down like it used to!

I'll call it a miracle! In the past, I'd eat any gluten and I would almost feel it immediately. It was horrible. Since the holidays, I've eaten a few gluten foods (by mistake and on purpose) and I'm not reacting like I had. 

I'm ECSTATIC!! 

I'm still not going on a gluten binge, but this now means that I can eat my comfort food (bread and pasta) occasionally and not have it make me feel like death warmed over.

And how did I do this?

I incorporated broth and stock in my diet, daily, over the last years. 

The gelatin in the broth and stock is beneficial for restoring strength in the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy), helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

It's that simple!

Add broth and stock into your diet, and start feeling healthier! (Well, you should also watch what you're eating too! If you're still eating McDonald's and other fast food, you might want to take a break from them and cook meals from scratch, i.e. nothing that comes out of a box or a can).

To help you get started, we're offering a broth and stock class on January 20th at the ranch. Read more details and register here.

We'd love to have you at the ranch and help you get started with your healthier you!


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All I want for Christmas is a honey glazed pasture raised ham!

A big part of Christmas to me is all about the traditional foods we ate growing up. My parents are English, so Christmas meant mince pies with brandy butter, a fruitcake with marzipan and white icing, flaming plum pudding with charms inside to indicate one's fortune for the following year, creamed spinach, carrots and peas, and a glazed ham!

See the crackers on the table, and everyone's crowns? And the mustache whistles? And there's mince pies in the center of the table.

See the crackers on the table, and everyone's crowns? And the mustache whistles? And there's mince pies in the center of the table.

Growing up in Brasil and Argentina, my mother had to make everything from scratch as one couldn't find any of these products in the store or ready made. In June, mom would go to the butchers to purchase some suet for the plum pudding and once it was made would then soak in brandy until it was ready by Christmastime. For the fruitcake, she learned to make her own dried fruit as ingredients. For marzipan (and the Christmas crackers- the ones that pop and have a toy and a joke inside them), she'd always have a friend who traveled back and forth from England bring some back for us.

Ham was a treat for us. I'm not sure why, but we didn't eat ham throughout the year, so our Christmas ham was special. I remember as a little girl standing on my kitchen stool, watching my mother score the ham, and meticulously place the cloves at each crossing. I'd watch her baste the ham every half hour or so, and see the ham turn golden brown in the oven.

Our Christmas meal was always on Christmas Eve. We'd set the table with our Christmas china and tablecloth. We would dress up in our best clothes and it was quite a to-do! Mom would walk in with the ham once we were all seated, and dad would carve it. After we finished our meal, we'd pop the crackers and share the jokes, and mom would go into the kitchen to prepare the plum pudding for it's entrance. Everyone had their cracker crowns on, the lights would be dimmed, and mom would walk in with the plum pudding in flames, and we'd sing "Bring Us Our Figgy Pudding"! Mom would then serve us a helping of plum pudding with plenty of brandy butter sauce, and expectantly we'd eat the pudding hoping to find a charm in it (each charm was a forecast of the next year's event- fortune, marriage, etc).

With full tummies, and feeling festive, we'd follow dinner by going to the midnight Christmas Eve candlelight service. It was magical!

Now that I'm a grown woman with children of my own, I look back at all the effort my mother made to make the holiday magical.  I've tried to do the same with my children. My daughter assures me I did!

Except she or her brother never cared for the plum pudding! They didn't mind it with heaps of brandy butter sauce, but they would have preferred to skip that part of the meal- except that that would have required us to miss the flaming pudding which I decreed was not an option!

This year will be a special treat for us, as this will be the first time that we will have our very own home grown ham! I decided to raise Red Wattle pigs this summer to see if they could help root up the brush from under our beautiful oak trees. They didn't do a good job, but the resulting bacon, pork chops and hams far outweigh the fact that they failed to root up the brush!

And since we believe that healthy food comes from healthy animals raised as naturally as possible (i.e. no GMO, no soy, no hormones, no antibiotics), I feel proud to serve our ham knowing that the food I'm providing my family and friends is the healthiest that can be provided!

So after a call to my mother to have her share with me the recipe for our Christmas ham, I'm counting down the days until Christmas Eve so that I can roast my very own home grown, healthy pasture raised ham!

You too can have your very own healthy ham for Christmas! Below is the recipe, and you can click here to place an order for one of our hams.

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It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

This Christmas we are definitely keeping things simple! I've barely put away the Thanksgiving decorations, and the thought of fighting through the piles of boxes in the storage room is making me drag my feet!

I don't know about you, but I just don't function well when I see clutter and disorganization. And that's the case with the storage room.

I can't even walk into the storage room!

I can't even walk into the storage room!

I know exactly where all the Christmas decorations and dinnerware are, but I need to pull everything out that's sitting in front of it. Added to that, the sagging shelves are really bugging me, and all I want to do is take everything out, rip up the shelving, install new ones, and do some more decluttering (why do we need to keep a big container of Small Farmer's Journal magazines?).

But, I don't have time for all that.

So, Christmas decorations might happen the eve of Christmas eve this year!

But, I will be preparing myself for Christmas with my Advent wreath and readings. I look forward to it every year!

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Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. It starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and culminates on CHRISTmas day, the celebration of the birth of Christ.

My favorite advent reading brings in old testament and new testament scriptures showing the expectation and preparation for Christ's coming. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of CHRISTmas can be fully understood and appreciated.

My favorite advent wreath has a candle for every day of advent, and a donkey that one moves along as you light the candle.

During my quiet/devotion time, I light a candle and read the day's reading. It's a special time for me. It's simple. It brings everything into it's right perspective. If nothing else gets done this CHRISTmas, the Advent wreath will be used!

Don't throw your turkey carcass away!

I know! I know! The last thing you want to do is spend more time in the kitchen after you've slaved away roasting your delicious turkey, making the mashed potatoes, green beans, creamed spinach, gravy, pumpkin and pecan pies! But making turkey stock is so easy, you'll soon realize it took longer to prepare the main meal than it took to make the stock!

You can make this on your stove top, or your crock pot, or if you have one, your insta-pot (It's on my Christmas wish list!)

Once you taste your homemade turkey stock, you'll make it part of your annual Thanksgiving tradition! Not only is the flavor deep and rich, it's also good for your body and will help keep that winter crud away if you take a daily drink of it. Or use in soups or rice.

Turkey Stock.PNG

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How I got rid of my acid reflux!

When I was pregnant with both of my kiddos, and wasn't on the all natural bandwagon yet, I had terrible acid reflux the last trimester. Anything I ate caused it. I ate pounds of Tums to no avail. I was so thankful when I birthed them, as the reflux went away!

In my late 30's, I started getting acid reflux again. Every time I ate, I experienced from light to strong acid reflux. I hated it! It seemed that anything I ate caused it. And I love eating!

By this time, I was on my natural, preventative methods mindset, so I started researching what I could do to keep from getting that terrible heartburn after every meal.

I found that a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water will quickly get rid of the heartburn, but I really wanted to find something to keep the acid reflux from happening. I wanted it GONE!

I remember precisely how I learned how to prevent it. I was at church having our fellowship meal after Sunday service and the women were at the table discussing homeschooling, children's discipline, female problems, etc... and I mentioned I was having terrible acid reflux at every meal. One of the ladies at the table promptly said, "Do you make and drink bone broth?".

I was like, "Huh? Bone broth? What's that?". After she explained what it was, I realized she was referring to what I knew as "Caldo" (Portuguese for broth). When I was growing up in Argentina and Brasil, my mother used to 'stew' leftover bones to make a broth, and we'd use that for soups.

But I hadn't been making broth since I moved to the US for college. And I was suffering for it!

My church friend volunteered to come over to coach me on how to make broth (it's super easy) and when it was done, I took a sip of it. It was delicious!

I had a cup of broth every day for a week.

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And by the end of the week, I didn't experience any acid reflux!

I was SO HAPPY not to feel the acid reflux, I think I told everyone I came into contact about this life changing drink for an entire month! Whenever I hear of anyone complaining about heartburn or acid reflux, I'm quick to ask if they use bone broth in their diet.

I'm so thankful to my church friend who reintroduced me to broth, and now it's my mission to pass this tried and true healer onto as many people as I come into contact with.

As such, we're offering a Stock & Broth class at the ranch on October 28th so that you too can experience the benefits and find relief!


Oh my gosh! This is perfect lamb meatloaf!

When I started cooking paleo, gluten-free, and staying away from many of the prepared sauces, the one basic dish that I struggled with was meatloaf.  There didn't appear to be an easy replacement that would fit my new diet restrictions.  I tried many, many recipes but none of them were "Oh my gosh! This is perfect!". So I went on a meatloaf diet (as in we didn't eat meatloaf for a few years). Then I found the perfect paleo lamb meatloaf! Meatloaf is now in our meal program. The world is right again! And to make it even better, its easy to make, and healthy! And, it allows you to be creative with the spices, so no two meatloafs are the same.

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