Creamtop Goodness!

I was so excited to find creamtop whole milk at Whole Foods last week. It's the next best thing to raw milk, which hasn't been in our budget lately but is something that I am determined to start drinking. Creamtop milk is non-homogenized. All that means is that the cream settles at the top of the milk, just like pumped breast milk. It can be scraped off and used in coffee, or it can be used to make butter and whipped cream. Regular homogenized milk, which is what people are probably most familiar with, is processed so that the fat globules are distributed evenly throughout the milk. It is more of an aesthetic thing, really. I am of the opinion that my food should not be tampered with if at all possible. I try (and sometimes fail) to eat things the way God intended and the way my ancestors ate before the invention of pasteurization, homogenization, and fake food (think Twinkies). Milk has fat in it for a reason. The butterfat is what allows the body to absorb the vitamins and minerals. It is also a very important source of preformed vitamin A.

Many people view skim milk as the healthiest form of milk, but this is simply not true. Fat-free, 1%, and 2% milk must be bulked up to get people to buy it. It is fortified with synthetic vitamin D and non-fat dried milk. The dried milk is oxidized cholesterol, which is very bad for your heart. Also, the lactose (sugar) in milk needs the fat to keep insulin levels from shooting up.

L.M. Montgomery, who wrote the "Anne of Green Gables" series, mentions cream and milk often. Cream was given to the weakest child in order to nourish and strengthen the sick child. There was also a "mean" character who was known for feeding her children skim milk so she could make money by selling the cream. Her children were very undernourished. It's so interesting that Americans today are full of diseases--heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. The skim milk is not doing a bit of good, and it may actually be contributing to the poor health of people today. Just think of the "French paradox"--they consume everything in its full-fat form, yet they have a very low rate of coronary heart disease. You have to look at their entire lifestyle, though--they walk a lot, drink red wine, and don't consume enough food in one sitting to feed 4 people. There are many cultures like this--many whose eating habits consist of mainly fat and protein such as the Eskimos of long ago. It is the GOOD fat, not the bad fat (good=olive oil, butter, coconut oil, milk fat, fish, nuts, avocados)--(bad=vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine). Many people are only drinking skim milk in an attempt to lose weight. I did this for so many years--so many years that I'd love to take back! Do some research on CLA and learn how good fat can actually HELP you lose weight. Something to think about.


Toddlers and Omega-3s

Being the mother of a 2.5 year old, the subject of toddler meals has been one of great frustration. "If you eat that carrot, you can have another blueberry!" "NO CARROT!" "oooohh eat this bite of chicken--it's so yummy!" "No chicken!".....You get the point. It's only natural to worry about my son's health when his diet is not varied these days. He LOVES bread, so I only give him whole wheat products. He is not a fan of meat or eggs, so now I have to deal with the protein and omega fats issue. Omega oils are important for cognitive development, vision, and behavior. Most Americans are deficient--especially in Omega 3's which are found in some organic eggs as well as butter made from grass-fed cow's milk. I went in search of a vitamin, and came across this at Whole Foods. They are not filled with anything artificial, which is a must for my little dude. Dr. Sears is one of my favorites--he writes many great attachment parenting books and his views are in line with mine for the most part. The best part is that Josiah loves these vitamins and views them as a treat after his "meal". ;)


This, Not That

The world of health food is a mind-boggling one. I can't tell you how many books I've read about it and how many articles I've poured over in the quest to find out the truth about what's healthy, and what's not. About 2.5 years ago, I couldn't have cared less. But after the birth of my son Josiah, I realized that it was not only my own health I had to worry about, but his as well. Parenthood can make you very unselfish. In my quest to keep him healthy, I've learned so much about the world of food marketing and what my own body needs to live a long, healthy life. I've learned to tune out the health claims of most foods. While I can't say that I am completely junk-food free, I am trying and I do believe that I will get there someday. I love what Michael Pollan says: "EAT REAL FOOD...NOT TOO MUCH...MOSTLY PLANTS" or something along those lines. His book "IN DEFENSE OF FOOD: AN EATER'S MANIFESTO" was extremely enlightening for me. It really did change my life. It taught me how to read ingredient labels and what to NEVER put into my body again. I love this topic so I will be sharing more about eating real food in the future. For now, I just wanted to share some of my favorites, as opposed to foods that claim to be healthy.











The catch? The healthier versions are more expensive. Which is so very wrong. But it takes more time and money to make the better foods--they are not quickly processed so that's why they're more expensive. They are, however, much better quality and much better for you and your heart. The way I look at it, you're saving money in the long run by not having to shell out money for all the health care you will be needing in the future.


Dream Home

My new favorite website is www.apartmenttherapy.com. Since we're moving into a tiny apartment in 2 weeks, I'm trying to get some ideas. I've always loved small apartments and homes. Maybe because I grew up in a tiny house! :) They just seem so cute, charming, and homey. So of course I'm super excited about the IKEA they're building here in Denver! Take a look at these babies...


Real Butter!

I'm pretty passionate about my butter. Sad, but true. It's just that Americans have fallen for some pretty bad jokes when it comes to food. A great example is margarine. It's one of the worst jokes played on the people of this country, in my opinion. I mean come on--a fake plastic-y man-made substance boasting about being heart-healthy? Ummm...alright. Weird, and a total lie.

First of all, how did poor butter get its bad reputation? It can get complicated, but I'll attempt to summarize the truths and myths about real butter. Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite people, Sally Fallon:

"In the 1940's, research indicated that increased fat intake caused cancer. The abandonment of butter accelerated; margarine--formerly a poor man's food-- was accepted by the well-to-do. But there was a small problem with the way this research was presented to the public. The popular press neglected to stress the fact that the "saturated" fats used in these experiments were not naturally saturated fats but partially hydrogenated or hardened fats--the kind found mostly in margarine but not in butter. Researchers stated--they may have even believed it--that there was no difference between naturally saturated fats in butter and artificially hardened fats in margarine and shortening. So butter was tarred with the black brush of the fabricated fats, and in such a way that the villains got passed off as heroes." (http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/butter.html)

Basically, the wrong message was sent about to people about good fats and bad fats. If you look at the heart-health of Americans throughout history, you will find that heart disease and cancer were extremely rare diseases all throughout history. It wasn't until the 20th century that it became one of the most common diseases in Americans. If you take a look at the traditional diet of our ancestors, you would see them eating real churned butter, along with plenty of whole-fat dairy products and other animal fats. In today's society, those are supposed to be evil foods! So instead we eat margarine, skim-milk, low-fat or fat-free cheese and yogurt, and even "egg-product" out of a mini-milk carton! HAHAHA...I'm sorry, it just makes me chuckle a bit every time I think about it. Our hearts and our bodies are sicker than they've ever been throughout history! Obviously, these fake food products are not helping us. What it IS helping are the paychecks of the medical community and processed-food industry--especially the corn/soybean farmers. Next time you're in the store, walk down an aisle and see how many products boast of being heart-healthy, when really it is just a big scam on the part of the food industry. I've heard that the best way to shop is to only shop the perimeter of a grocery store, which will include the BEST heart-healthy products in existence--fruits and vegetables!

Last, I just want to share how margarine is made, in case I haven't swayed you yet. It begins by taking already rancid, poor quality vegetable oil and adding carcinogenic solvents to it while extracting it from the seeds. The oils are steam-cleaned to remove all vitamins and anti-oxidants. The pesticides and solvents are not removed. There must be a chemical reaction during the hydrogenation process, so finely-ground nickel (toxic) is then added to the oils. The oils are put under very high temperatures while hydrogen gas is added. This turns the oil into a semi-solid, AKA partially-hydrogenated oil. This is also where trans-fats come into play. The end product of this process is a lumpy grey substance that smells horrible. Because it smells so bad, it has to be steamed-clean once again to remove the odor. The margarine is then bleached and yellow dyes are added to give it that buttery yellow color. Artificial flavors are also added so that it will taste like butter.

Doesn't that sound delicious? At least it's "healthy"! haha...

The best butter out there is butter made from grass-fed cow's milk, of course. Grass-fed is always better in all dairy products. It contains the full amount of nutrients. There are two brands that I always look for, and I am more than willing to shell out the extra moolah for my health. These two brands are Kerrygold Pure Irish butter (http://www.kerrygold.com/usa/product_butter.html) and Organic Valley's pasture butter. The latter is seasonal, and you can only get it during the summer months. Luckily for me it is on sale right now at Whole Foods since they are no longer making it this year. There are many other great types of pasture butter. If you can't afford grass-fed butter, then at least buy cheap butter over margarine.



Pretty Birds!

I love birds in any type of decor! Just wanted to share some Etsy treasures I found.


Feeling the Wool Love

It's true that I have a massive love for wool. Some might consider it an obsession. By some, I mean my husband. ;) He obligingly tries on every wool sweater I buy for him at thrift stores. I've already rummaged through the sweaters he'd been given throughout the years as gifts, and found a sweater of 100% Alpaca wool! Now why is that so exciting? Let me share all the good stuff about wool!

Wool is a natural fiber, meaning it is not artificial fiber, which is man-made. A wool sweater can last for years! Sweaters made from polyester (or a blend with polyester) usually end up pilling. Pilling is when little balls form all over the sweater and it gets really fuzzy and not so nice-looking. Polyester does not breathe easily, which is not great for your skin. Wool, on the other hand, does breathe easily. One of my favorite things about wool is that it is antimicrobial. This means that it essentially self-cleans. It does not retain smells, so you rarely have to wash it (which is great, because most wool sweaters are hand-wash only). Because of this, wool makes wonderful diaper covers if you cloth-diaper. You can put a wool cover over a cloth diaper, and it will keep the wetness inside--won't even soak through the wool! It only needs to be washed about once a month when used as a diaper cover. As many people know, wool is also very warm which is great during the winter.

Now, for the different types of wool! Sheeps wool is the most widely-used type. Merino sheeps wool is a very soft wool--almost cashmere-like. It is one of my favorites, and when I see a merino wool sweater at a thrift store, I grab it. Lambswool is also very soft and fluffy because it comes from a young sheep. It is the most hypoallergenic of all wools and is great for clothing and blankets. There are other types of sheep wool as well, but I'd rather not type a novel here. ;)

Alpaca wool is a fine, silky, lightweight wool. It has the ability to keep you extremely warm. It is normally very expensive to buy an alpaca wool sweater, but if you keep your eyes open then you may stumble upon one in a thrift store!

Mohair is produced by the angora goat. It is used in good-quality sweaters and other fabrics. It is strong but very lightweight, and it does not stretch easily.

Angora is not actually from the angora goat. It is from the angora rabbit's fur. Angora is the warmest and possesses the best moisture-wicking properties of any natural fiber. Because the fibers are so fine, they are usually blended with other types of wool to make a piece of clothing. Angora wool is very soft and has a "floaty" look to it.

Last but never least, is one of my favorites--cashmere. Cashmere comes from the kashmir goat which is native to China, India, Tibet, and the middle east. The wool comes from the downy layer beneath the goat's coarser outer hair. It is combed off of the goat instead of sheered. Because of this, only a small amount of wool can be obtained from each goat per year. This is why cashmere clothing is so expensive. My favorite aspect of cashmere is that it is incredibly warm in just a thin, single layer! No need to bulk up with heavy sweaters when you're headed to the mountains--just one thin layer under your coat. Cashmere sweaters can also be easily found at thrift stores. But beware--some acrylic sweaters feel similar so be sure and check the label.

Well, now you know all about my passion for wool. I'm kind of a fabric junkie so I'll probably write more about other types in the future. Cloth-diapering is to blame. It's funny how much I learned just from doing that!


In Transition

Well, I just got started on Sharretoille, but already it has come to a temporary halt. We just moved from Germany to Denver, Colorado so I haven't had much time to write. Lots more to come, though...so keep checking in!


Product Rave: Seventh Generation Detergent

Put simply, I love this stuff. I'm not sure if it's the fresh scent of blue eucalyptus & lavender or the fact that my clothes aren't tainted with harsh chemicals. My laundry comes out clean without smelling like I doused it in perfume. It's great for cloth diapers. Most laundry detergents/fabric softeners are overflowing with toxic chemicals. Yes, TOXIC. For example, alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols (try saying that quickly 3 times!) have been implicated in chronic health problems and can, in trace amounts, stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. And anyone with sensitive skin can tell you that when they break out with a rash, the laundry soap is usually the culprit. Companies are not required to list all the ingredients in laundry products, so the few that you see on the bottle are only the beginning. The fragrance found in most detergents (and many beauty products) is actually carcinogenic and considered hazardous air pollutants. So why use a detergent that is so sketchy about its ingredients? Why even risk damaging your health when there are wonderful all-natural brands on the market these days? Seventh Generation releases all its ingredients and has tons of great stuff--from dish detergent to diapers to tampons. Yep, tampons. They have a great, informative website so feel free to browse:


The Joy of Giving in June

Each month I am going to spotlight one of my favorite charities, as I feel that giving helps one lead a simpler life. It doesn't have to be your money~it can be your time or your possessions. It makes you realize how blessed you really are. There is always someone worse off than yourself, so it's important to really look around yourself and finally feel satisfaction with everything you do have--especially family, friends, and health.

Here is my charity suggestion for the month of June:


Project cuddle is an organization that works with desperate pregnant women who are at risk of abandoning their babies. Newborn babies are abandoned on a daily basis in the U.S. It is an extremely devastating discovery when one of these babies is found, unless of course they are rescued before it is too late. Project Cuddle is working to try and prevent newborn abandonment by providing a crisis-line for frightened girls who are about to give birth. They are given free counseling and are given the opportunity to work with a family who wants to adopt the baby. There are many ways to give to PC--monetary donations, cell phone donation, volunteering (hanging up flyers, answering the crisis hotline, etc.) and even becoming a rescue family--a family who wants to adopt one of these babies. Check out their website for more information.


Why Raw Milk?

The milk you buy in stores today is considerably different from natural, raw milk. Raw milk has many health benefits, which are all stripped away once it undergoes pasteurization. Milk straight from the udder was once used as a medicine, and it helped heal all sorts of diseases before the 20th century. That's because it is loaded with all the nutrients a human needs. It is a perfectly-balanced food, and a person could actually live off of it and nothing else!

However, not all raw milk is the same. Healthy raw milk comes from cows that are fed organic green grass--not soy meal or other commercial feeds. Absolutely no pesticides. It does not come from cows that are kept in manure-laden pens and that are part of large dairy farm operations. This is because there is usually not enough open fields of grass to feed all those cows.

What are some of the health benefits? According to www.raw-milk-facts.com, these are some of the major healing attributes of raw milk:

Immunoglobulins IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE, IgD: Large, complex sugar/protein (glycoprotein) molecules (also known as antibodies) used by the immune system to find and deactivate pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

Transforming Growth Factor Beta: Stimulates growth and repair of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Epidermal Growth Factor: Biochemically regulates cellular growth, cellular division and cell type. Fosters rapid tissue repair.

Glutathione: Powerful antioxidant that offers protection to cells from free radicals.

Interferons: Specialized proteins that inhibit replication of viruses within cells throughout the body.

Interleukins: A large group of signaling molecules that help regulate the immune system.

Oligosaccharides: Groups of 3-10 sugar molecules that protect against pathogens by competing for binding sites on the intestinal epithelium and provide support to friendly probiotic bacteria.

Proline-rich Polypeptide (PRP) or Colostrinin: Anti-inflammatory hormone that helps regulate immune system activity by stimulating the thymus gland.

Transferrin: Immune system glycoprotein that binds free iron, which, in turn, inhibits bacterial growth

So, where can you get clean, raw milk? Click on this link to find a location near you.


~NOTE~ Raw milk is not the same as the organic milk you can buy in grocery stores~~~


Oil Cleansing-a best kept secret to beautiful skin?

The Oil Cleansing Method. Slathering oil all over your already oily face. Sounds crazy. But according to http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/, this is exactly what your skin is yearning for. The mantra is "oil absorbs oil". Natural oils are actually protective and healing to your skin. Acne cleansers sold on the market today strip your skin of their natural oils. Because of this, your face will actually go into over-drive and produce excess oil which essentially clogs the pores causing blackheads. Massaging oil into your face will loosen the clogged pores and give your skin the release it has been asking for. According to those who have tried this method, it will leave your skin smooth, clean, clear, and beautiful--actually glowing! It is a cleansing/moisturizer in one, so no need to apply a chemically-laden moisturizer afterward....sounds great to me!

So how does this method work, exactly? You can use many different types of oils, but most people suggest using 2 mixed together--a "cleansing" oil and a "moisturizing" oil. The two best types of cleansing oils are jojoba oil and castor oil. Moisturizing oils include coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, or pretty much any type of plant-based oil. Here are the measurements according to the website, using castor oil and sunflower seed oil:

  • Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% Sunflower Seed Oil.
  • Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% Sunflower Seed Oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% Sunflower Seed Oil.
You can also add a few drops of essential oil to this mix for a more fragrant experience. When you have your oils ready to go, simply massage the mixture deep into your skin--especially blackhead-prone areas. Then take a hot washcloth and lay it over your face, "steaming" the pores so they will open up. When the cloth cools, repeat as many times as you wish. It is like your own mini-spa experience! Then simply wipe the oil off with the wet cloth. You can do this while in the shower or bath, since your pores are already being steamed. It only needs to be done once a day at first, and then you only need to do it a few times a week after you've been doing it for awhile. For deeper cleansing, you can use witch hazel as an astringent in the morning or evening. For real tough blackheads, dab on a bit of pure lavender oil--which is a great cleansing agent but very potent.

Zac and I have been doing this for a few weeks now, and it feels wonderful. One of the best parts is knowing that I'm not putting tons of ingredients that I can't even pronounce on my skin. Plus, it's cheap and very relaxing. Definitely worth a try.