Clean up your home and your body

As we clean our bodies, minds and homes this spring let’s aim for synchronicity!  Its time we see the whole process as a circle.  What good is it to clean up our house with toxic products that will make our bodies sick.  Think about it.  Why risk cleaning your baby’s tub with a cleaner that is poisonous if inhaled?!  Fortunately there are ways to keep our house spotless and our bodies healthy.  

Here are some regular household items that can be used for cleaning 

Baking soda

White vinegar

Lemon juice

Hydrogen peroxide

Olive oil

Liquid castile soap

Coconut oil 

Vodka

In this article, 27 non-toxic recipes for home cleaning, you can learn to create your own cleaning products.  Not only is it safer for you and your family, it is better for the environment and cheaper!  Win, win right?

If you feel you don’t have the time to do these things I invite you to reconsider.  

Consider this, some chemicals in common household cleaners are known or suspected to be carcinogenic. Some can disrupt your endocrine system. These are serious concerns, especially if you have children at home.

When these chemicals hit your skin and lungs, they bypassing your filtering system.  So this toxins go directly into your bloodstream, where they can cause a lot of harm.  

Im not saying you are going to get cancer if you don’t avoid harsh cleaning products.  But why add the load to your, already overloaded, system.  Our bodies will always have to battle toxicity, we create some just from breathing.  We are exposed to pollution in our air, water, food and almost everything that surrounds us.  The more we add to our bodies the bigger the dangers to our health.  

You have a choice, try to avoid as much poison as possible.  Consume organic and clean food as much as you can, pay attention to chemical content in everyday items (cups, plates, clothing, containers etc), research beauty and hygene products and ban toxic cleaning products from your home.  This is not an impossible task.  Inform yourself, there are so many sources out there and with the internet we have easy access!  

Living healthy and clean is very doable, you just need to put in the work.  You don’t have to do it all at once.  Maybe you can start by removing the products that are most toxic.  You can find a list of some of the worst offenders following this link.  

Planning ahead is a great tool for time management, use it.  Make the time for your health and your family’s.  Isn’t it worth it?

 

Here are some useful links

Environmental Working Group (has tons of info on toxic content of a bunch of products) I always review before buying things like sunscreen, moisturizers, make up etc.

Spring Cleaning, non-toxic way

 

 

 

Amazing Sauerkraut

Ladies let’s dish the rice cereal for once and for all!  Contrary to popular belief, rice cereal is one of the poorest choices for baby’s first foods.

Baby’s first food should be rich in fat, cholesterol, protein, iron and zinc; just like breast milk!  I started both my kids on egg yolks.  Soon after their first foods at around 7 months babies are ready for another magnificent and super nutritious food, fermented!  Fermented foods contain lactic acids, enzymes and probiotics which are great for the digestive system.  It is easy on their young gut and it makes it stronger.

So today Lucas and I prepared Marcos some “Stupendous Sauerkraut”.  I got this recipe form a wonderful book called Super Nutrition for Babies, I highly recommend it.  Since it was our first try I cut the recipe in half.

What you need (for whole recipe):

organic cabbage

organic cabbage

4 cups of finely chopped or grated cabbage

2 tablespoon of whey ( I used mommy whey*, from my breast milk)

2 teaspoon of celtic sea salt

Adorable assistant is optional :)

Adorable assistant is optional 🙂

 

Mix all ingredients in mason jar and pack tight.

Fill with water leaving at least 1 inch on top of jar.

This is half the recipe

This is half the recipe

Seal and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days. Then transfer to fridge.

* Making mommy whey is super easy.  Set aside some breast milk in small mason jar (or container of choice), close tightly, let sit on fridge for 2 days.  It will separate to cream on top and whey on bottom.  Remove the cream and what is left is the mommy whey :).

 

Ok, I’ll report in 3 days once the sauerkraut is ready and Marcos has tasted it.  Till then, stay tuned and healthy!

Water for Purification

water-wallpaper-01

 

We all know we should drink more water.  How much exactly will depend on many things.  Your sex, age, weight, level of activity and health are some of the considerations.  But let’s keep it simple for the purpose of this post.  If you go pee and it’s not light/clear you need to drink more water.  You can also use this hydration calculator to determine how much you need.

Water is required by every cell in our body to function properly. We know water helps the body get rid of toxins, we know its good for our skin and joints, we know its important for weight management.  But, did you know that our brains are over 75% water!  Dehydration affects brain function!  Staying hydrated will help you think faster and clearer.  It can even help prevent attention deficit disorder!  So, let’s stay smart people, hydrate!

Think how important it is, not only for us adults, but for our children to stay hydrated.  Keep in mind that commercial juices and sodas are so high in sugar they work against hydration.  I have to stress this, because I see it everyday, giving your child a “harmless” glass of store bought juice is not harmless.  Please be mindful of what drinks you give your children, they can’t make those choices yet so its up to us to care for their health.

Fruits and vegetables high in water content are a way to get some hydration.  And you can make fruit (no sugars added) and vegetable juices at home.  But the best way to keep our bodies oiled up is to drink plenty or water.

I know it’s easy to forget to grab a glass of water, but here are some things I do to make it easier.

Keep a water container in your nightstand.  For healing purposes Aryuveda recommends to store water in copper vessels.  It has been studied and proven that copper vessels help purify water!  I will start keeping my water in a copper cup over night so the first sip of the day is a cleansing one :).

As soon as you wake up drink 12oz (this is easy if you have that glass by your nightstand 🙂

Keep a glass right next to your fridge, that way every time you go past it you will remember to have some.

If you are breastfeeding, like me, have a glass every time you do.

Keep a glass or aluminum bottle in your purse, with water of course :).

Every time you get a craving for something unhealthy have a glass of water, not only will you be rehydrating but the craving might subside!

And don’t worry you are drinking too much, chances are you are not.

 

Ok, so to wrap it up, DRINK MORE WATER, JUST DO IT! 🙂  It’s practically free, readily available and tastes like nothing so if won’t make you gag.  What it WILL do is wonders for your health.  So, win win!

 

 

Whey Protein, do we really need it?

Image

 

I’m not a big fan of using products that substitute the real thing.  I especially dislike it when they trow in a health claim, it just adds insult to injury.  There are many products out there that claim to be a healthier alternative to the real ones, when in reality its just a money making scam.  Here are a few off the top of my head; vitamin water ( you are better off just drinking water and skipping the so called vitamins), cereals for fiber ( add more vegetables, fruits and legumes for extra fiber), margarine ( just use butter, seriously) and non-fat products (let’s just say they are loaded with artificial stuff, I could write a novel about this.)

Having said that sometimes a supplement can be beneficial.  But the quality and reason for taking are very important. Today I wanted to talk a little about whey protein. This is by no means an in depth analysis, just a brief note.  I use it, and sometimes put a little in Lucas milk, we call it a milk shake.  But I think it’s healthy to question our choices once in a while and so here is what I’ve gathered.

A lot of people use whey protein, not only bodybuilders. Whey protein provides all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein.  It is also believed to help maintain insulin levels stable, making it a popular aid for weight loss.  You can read more about its benefits here.  But beware, there are a few things to consider before adding this supplement to your diet.

Too much protein can be harmful to your liver by overtaxing it.  This can cause a lot of problems.  Everybody’s daily recommended protein intake varies.  You can use the chart in this page as a general guideline.  You can also use a protein allowance calculator.  This site is super useful in finding nutrition information about almost any food, you can use it to see how much protein you are already consuming.

Secondly not all whey protein is created equal.  Most protein powders out there are junk.  Not only do they contain tons of additives and sweeteners but they could contain trace levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury!  To top it all most commercial protein powders are processed in high heat, this denatures the protein.  You should take a look at this article by Consumer Reports to see if your protein powder is listed.

Here are some things I like to keep in mind when selecting whey protein.

Is it organic

Is it GMO free

Is it free from acid or bleach treatments

Is it cold pressed

What is the whey source, if from animal source are the cows grass feed and not treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.

Does it have fillers

Does it have added sugars or artificial sweeteners

 

This type of research is not hard to do using the internet, that way you can visit the brands website and get more details about what you are consuming.

It might seem like a lot, but when it comes to what goes into my body and more importantly to my kids, I try not to take any shortcuts.

After a little research here is one I would use, Source Organic.

Bottom line, if you are not a hardcore athlete chances are you do not need to use whey protein.  But as far as I am concerned it is not a bad idea to have one available and use it occasionally (ex: if you are about to skip your egg breakfast for serious lack of time)  If you are a vegetarian or trying to eat less meat, a high quality whey protein can be beneficial.  But remember quality is everything.  And when it comes to your children be safe, and use the highest quality available or don’t use it at all (you can also use organic egg yolks in a smoothie to boost their protein intake).

If you are not into protein powders and are interested in adding some protein to your or your kids smoothies you can use these natural ingredients:

Egg yolk

Peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter

Chia seeds

A high quality gelatin ( I use Grate Lakes Gelatin )

Yogurt (duh 🙂 )

 

Hope this was helpful!  And keep up the good work 😉

 

 

 

Cabbage Cleansing Juice

Cabbage has a super power.  It helps your body get rid of toxins.  But it’s benefits don’t end there.  Cabbage has anti-inflamatory, beauty, weight management, cancer fighting and brain benefits!  Can anybody say ka-ching!

Here is a simple way to enjoy the benefits of cabbage.  Try this cleansing tonic as part of your spring cleaning routine.

IMG_1047

three 1/2 inch wedges of organic green cabbage (a little over half a cup)

3 carrots

1 green apple

Juice all ingredients and enjoy!

my co-captain and favorite juice making assistant

my co-captain and favorite juice making assistant

Cheers!

Cheers!

Make your grocery cart a picture of health

There is a lot of information out there about nutrition.  Sadly, very much like the “food” we are offered,  a lot of it is a bastardized version of the true.  It is a fact that the food industry is shaped by politics/money, not by health standards.  An article titled 10 Things the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know, touches lightly on the matter.  I highly recommend you take 5 minutes to read this.  It is an ugly fact when money is worth more than a human life, but one we have to be aware of.  I won’t go on an on about the subject, for now, but I urge you to take some responsibility when it comes to feeding yourself and your family.  Ok, done with the tragic update :).

When it comes to food, you don’t have to be a victim, be a victor!   In that spirit, and because I enjoy  Mondrian’s work, I have created a chart to help you visualize a healthier shopping cart.  This is not a FDA approved project, just a simple way to get an idea of what you should be putting on your grocery cart.

Check it out:

chartclearer

Despite what the food industry tell you, it is very simple to eat healthy.  Eat real foods, the kind that don’t have infinite shelf life.

Here are some of the guidelines I go by when doing my groceries:

1.  90% of my food should perish within a week (probably sooner), if left outside the fridge.

2.  Most my cart must be filled with things that contain one ingredient, if there are more ingredients it should be under five and I should be able to recognize them.

3. Buy organic or local, when ever possible.  It matters people, here is why.

4.  I have to stay within my budget.  Yes you can eat healthy in your budget you just have to make better choices.  Here are some pointers.

5.  When I’m done my cart should look somewhat similar to my chart :).

I know making changes can be difficult, but your health is at stake.  Your children’s health is at stake, seriously , think about it.  Maybe your grocery cart won’t look like my chart all the time, but if you can add a little green every time you are on the right track.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for your family.  Do it in protest to big companies trying to control you.   Do it for what ever reason, but do it, I know you can!  Be good to yourself, after all you are worth it!

Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here!  So despite the fact that they are calling for snow next week, I am going to go ahead and put on my “spring attitude”.    As you know spring is a time of renewal and birth, of all things “so fresh, so clean, clean.”  So you might have heard of something called spring cleaning, yeah?  A time to look at our messy drawers, filled with old menus, receipts and random candy and put it all in a new box that we will sort next spring, maybe :).  While cleaning our homes and closets is a wonderful idea, I think I can do you one better.  How about we clean up our act this year?  How about we start cleansing our bodies from toxins and our minds from mental clutter?  How about we give ourselves and our families the gift of a healthy lifestyle?

And to make it easy for you I will share the secret for success in this endeavor.  Here it is… change your mind!  That is it.  While it can take time and effort to make lasting changes in our lives, it just takes one decision.  If you want optimal health for you and your family,  you have to make the choices that will take your there.  And aside from the love in our lives, isn’t health the greatest gift since it allows us to enjoy that love fully?

Think about all the nights you might have spent with your sick child, of all the therapies and pills a family member has had to endure because of a chronic condition and, I hate to bring this up but, about some one you have lost to a preventable disease.  I have seen all this things in my family or families dear to me.  I would like to say, no thank you!  No, if I can help it.

When we are very young we never think about health, we are just happy if we find a quarter under our pillows.  In our teen years the only thing that matters is that nobody can understand us and most things aren’t fair.  In our 20’s we are completely delusional, because we are indestructible :). Then when the dust starts settling we start seeing things that where not there before.  While we, hopefully, leave our 20’s wiser we also  begin to see the effects of all our previous choices.  Our bodies put up with years of use and abuse from us, but at some point we are bound to crack.  You might not think about these things now because you are healthy, because you are young or because you are used to the way things are.  But believe me when I tell you our bodies can only fight an uphill battle for so long.  And like they say in PR: “no es lo mismo llamar al diablo que verlo venir”  (calling the devil and seeing him come are not the same thing)  What I am trying to convey is that; it is easy to say that you will make changes later, that your child will eat better later, that you don’t have time or money, that “healthy people” just can’t appreciate a burger :), but think of all you have to loose if you miss your chance to make the changes that will lead you and your loved ones to a healthier life.

So I am here to tell you, with all the love I can muster, you either take good care of yourself (and your loved ones) now by adopting a healthier lifestyle or you take care of yourself (or them) later with pills, expensive treatments, hospital visits, you get the idea.

My friends, the sooner we start holding ourselves accountable for our choices the sooner we can get our of the hole we might be living in.  No matter what your circumstances, your health, your social standing, no matter what life has handed you, you have to take responsibility for your life.  If you believe, like  in your teens, that life is just brutal and unbelievably unfair then you might remain in a circle of despair for a long time.  Nobody wants that.  So let’s get out of the cycle, let’s take charge and change our minds.

Remember guys, “whether  you think you can or you can’t… you know, you are right”

Let’s do this together.  For the rest of the month I will be focusing on small changes we can make, easy recipes, stress management techniques and all things that will leave us feeling so fresh, so clean, clean.  🙂  Stay tuned, stay healthy and stay positive!  You can do it!

Remember you can share your ideas or concerns on my facebook page!

Image

Super Lucas is ready for clean eating by avoiding the middle isles in the grocery store!

Captain Mami

IMG_4613

I would like to share the post that started it all, a time not so long ago… 🙂

I am one of those women who believe that mothers rule at home.  The house is like a kingdom in which we legislate, negotiate, feed, clean, protect and educate (and I am not just talking about the kids here).  From nurturing to keeping the peace and order, it seems there is no task a mom won’t be appointed.  It is an excruciatingly difficult job at times and there are no sick days.  So when my son Lucas started calling me “Captain Mami”  I felt it was only appropriate to enforce the title :).   No, I did not teach him to call me that, he just did.  Of course I know I am not in this alone, but honestly sometimes it feels that way.

It is wonderful to be a mother.  You get the chance to re-discover the world through the eyes of your children; to re-visit a state of innocence and charm only available for a limited time.  It is filled with joy and love without compare.  But like everything else there is a counterpart.  Being a mom is also filled with poop, literally.  Sleepless nights, defiance, fear, loneliness, boredom and despair are also part of the deal. It is the definition of yin-yang.

Today for example I have endured a three-hour cry-a-thon efficiently carried out by Marcos, my two month old.   That inspired Lucas to follow suit, then Lucas quit and passed the baton back to  Marcos, who wins the gold today for overcoming all my attempts to make him stop.  Needless to say my head is pounding like the conga solo inGloria Estefan’s hit single Conga.  But if I have learned one thing this afternoon is to persevere.  If those two little brats, and I say this lovingly, think they are going to take over my ship they are going to have to try a lot harder ( I want my kids to learn to always try their hardest:).  I am responsible not only for my kids but for myself.

So here is my point,  you are in charge.  You decide if you are going to lose your cool or if you are going to endure.  Either way, regardless of what life throws at you, it is your choice how to react.  This is not only the case for hard-working moms but for everyone.  I know sometimes it might seem like it is too much, like when you think things can’t get worse, the baby starts crying.  But believe me when I tell you, how you decide to live is up to you.

Sometimes we need to cry, scream, throw our fists up in the air  and ask dramatically: “Why?!!!!!”.  Well you can sit there and wait for the answer, but the answer might never come and then you have overstayed you’re welcome to the pity party.  Please don’t mistake my words for cruelty, I DO feel for you and your struggles.  It is out of that place of compassion I tell you: “you are in charge, take charge and be happy”.  Use your most powerful resources, whether it is family, friends, God or sheer will power.

Being a mom is hard, but if you think I am wearing sweats and an oversize stained t-shirt as I write this, you are wrong ( though I have had those days:).  Today I am wearing a lovely dress and I am having a good hair day:).  Today Lucas told me he loves me, and that he can burp on the floor lol :).  Today I finally got Marcos to stop crying only to witness the marvel he is.  Today I decide that I will not go crazy.  And I take comfort knowing that if I do go crazy tomorrow, I can take a deep breath and take charge later.  After all, I AM Captain Mami and to be honest I LOVE it.

IMG_4733