Nuts and Balls……….

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I adore my nuts and balls, soap nuts and wool dryer balls that is ;o) On our journey to lessen our environmental impact as a family and to clean up/ minimize the amount of toxic products we expose ourselves to daily, we have cut out commercial made laundry soap and dryer sheets. Mind you this is coming from a previous laundry soap, fabric softener AND dryer sheet all at one time ADDICT. I felt as thought the laundry soaps smell was my personal perfume and signature scent so changing to an all natural, unscented version was especially difficult ( to stop using commercial deodorants was the HARDEST) for me to try. I started my journey with the homemade soap recipes off the Internet. They were OK, nothing spectacular and still some of them called for bars of grated hand soap. The dry powder was a pain and messy with all the spills from the children “helping” me do laundry and the liquid was gooey/ lumpy and really just a pain in the ass. If I made too much and had to store it, the soap would separate and settle which required my husband to hook the paint stirrer attachment up to the drill to remix, which made for another mess to clean up.  Needless to say I fell back into the commercial laundry soap routine after awhile just do to shear convenience. Thankfully I found soap nuts.

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These are nuts from a Sapindus tree (sometimes a shrub) located in several areas world wide. The berry from the tree is harvested, de-seeded and the outer cracked shell is what is packaged and sold as a laundry detergent. The quickie version of why it works is that the skin of the nut/berry contains a surfactant that breaks the bond of oil and dirt causing them to release while being washed. I bought a 5 pound bag for around $40 almost 2 years ago and with my family of six, doing one load of laundry a day, we STILL have half a bag left –VERY ECONOMICAL !!! When we are finished with the nuts we throw the rest of the shell into our compost barrel.

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Use 4-5 seeds in the bag and placing into washing machine. You can reuse this for many washes ( around 6 times at my house)

So while my love affair began to take off with the soap nuts, my dryer life was still lacking. I tried vinegar and those plastic spiky balls that were an absolute waste of money then finally I spent one late night on a Internet time sucking search stumbled upon the wool dryer ball. I found a great little farm right here in the U.S.A. (Stoney Mountain Farm) that makes the most beautiful handmade dryer balls right from their very own herd.

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SOooooo stinky cute

I think this one is just relieved to get some of that coat off LOL

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Look at these balls !!! Gorgeous I tell you :o)

ImageI was worried that my laundry would smell like barn animals when I used them, especially with added heat and I am happy to say that besides the 1st load smelling a bit like hay (which was fine for me, I like hay) my laundry smells wonderful and clean. Truly clean, no perfumes, no oily textures or petroleum based coating on our clothing. These dryer balls have held up for almost a year now too even with the daily drying. The best is when I add a few drops of lavender oil to a old washcloth the last 5 min of the dryer time….snifffffff…HeAvEn !!! Oh and what sealed the deal for us is that our bed sheets are the absolutely the best, a perfect combo of crispy and soft. There is nothing else like clean sheets on the bed. When I return from trips to middle of nowhere Haiti, the one thing I ask for is that hubby could have clean sheets ready for me so I can scrap the dirt off of me, shave and then jump in our awesome bed…….sad I know LOL.  Do you have any green laundry tips or recommendations?

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Someone please explain this to me ?

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I am sure if you are following Paleo blogs, you know that in the past few weeks there has been much fury around the articles and books that came out with headlines such as  “Paleo Debunked” and “The Paleo Myth”. These authors are stating the grains are required as part of a healthy diet and that a meat heavy (Atkins really) diet is bad for your body. Granted they pass over the part that industrialized, Frankenmeat is bad, Paleo/ Primal is a clean veggie heavy diet, systematic inflammation can cause or aggravate preexisting autoimmune disorders and that to be healthy you should eat a healthy animal/ plant yourself but hey whatever, minor details I guess.  Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, within the Paleo community have been posting their rebuttals to this. The “Non Paleo” authors feel as if (and this is my Cliff Notes version) there is no proven science showing that grains/ carb heavy diet can cause issues within our bodies and the inflammation theory is basically a just that, a theory. For lack of care,openness,want, its my blog I will do what I want too, time on my part, I am not writing this to create an argument between the Pro and Anti Paleo/ Primal crowd since everyone already know which side of the fence I’m on, but I am writing this post because I am at a lost on what to do with this.

This article right here.

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You know that particular article that goes on (again my summarizing) at length to describe Otzi the Iceman and how he had tooth decay and was in general bad health. The bad health is described in the European Journal of Oral Sciences by a study done by Frank Ruhli, a paleopathologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, who states Otzi was in bad health and pain due to…………………………………………… wait for it…………………………a GRAIN and a CARB HEAVY DIET !!!!!!!!!   Really, REALLY !!!, really, …………………grains…………….. how funny.  

Armed for battle today

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These are my beautiful children

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Aren’t they SOOOoooooo cute

They are my life and joy, my greatest accomplishment and probably the top thing that defines who I am …..

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Why yes they are very close in age only 2.5 yrs between the oldest and youngest.

Today, I feel as they are also going to be the slow death of me LOL

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COME ON GUYS ITS FRIDAY !!!!!!!

What you missed this year at PaleoFX……………..

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I recently returned from simply the most amazing weekend in Austin TX attending the PaleoFX Symposium.  Many bloggers in the Paleo/Primal community have already beat me to the punch of summarizing the awesomeness so to make this short, sweet, (OK I’m not really that sweet) and to the point I came up with a list of the top 3 things you missed. 

Top #3 reasons you should be punching yourself in the face for not attending PaleoFX this year…………..

1) Direct Access to Speakers- Just unbelievable!! Over the course of this weekend, not including the generous question and answer time after each panel/speaker’s presentation AND the time the speakers took to answer questions at the side of the stage before the next panel, you also had the chance to run into them at the bathroom, out to eat, and even walking down the street. I personally (just a plain old Mom/whole foods consumer/Paleo blog and book admirer) was able to enjoy dinner and conversation, I mean REAL, 1-on-1 conversation with the following experts: George Bryant the Civilized Caveman, Juli from PaleOMG, Darryl Edwards the Fitness Explorer, Dr. Cate Shanahan author of Deep Nutrition, Nora Gedgaudas author of Primal Body, Primal Mind,  Roger and Marissa (amazing couple) with Relentless Fitness, plus Michelle and Keith Norris who are the ones who made all this PaleoFX magic happen. Heck, even Robb Wolf sat down for a chat while we were waiting for our flights at the airport, yes, THAT Robb Wolf. Please take the time to check the list of all the speakers at PaleoFX this year, bask in the exquisiteness of it all and then imagine getting to hear each one of these folks speak for 3 days. Yeah, nothing short of mind-blowing.

2) The Amazing Paleo Community- When I flew in from out of state, I showed up not knowing a soul. I was worried that while PaleoFX was going to be extremely informative it was going to make for a long, lonely weekend. I expected to be one of the only chubby, homely girls surrounded by gorgeous, healthy, ripped, fitness models and men with the bodies of Greek gods. I had this misguided, preconceived notion that really struck an insecurity cord within me and if I didn’t invest so much into the trip with time off of work and costs I just very well could’ve backed out of the whole thing. Man was I ever wrong! My heart breaks for those who held back from coming because they felt the same way. I. found. my. tribe. OUR TRIBE!! People who loved themselves so much they were willing to swim upstream against the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) current and treat themselves with healing, REAL food, a slower pace of life, functional fitness and the thirst to seek further knowledge. I found people who truly wanted to heal themselves from years on the S.A.D., harmful prescription medications, and the time spent carrying around of lots of heavy baggage (fat, addiction, unhealthy emotions and otherwise). Folks there were desiring more information on how to help themselves and family members with health issues like MS, Autism, ADHD/ADD, and a host of Autoimmune Disorders. They wanted to know how to preserve current resources and the best way to encourage more slow food movements, raise up local farmers and find better quality of products.

3) The Food- The food, of course, the food. OH GOD, the food!!! Food is the foundation of this whole lifestyle movement and personally is my love language. First off, the symposium is held in Austin, TX, the unofficial (maybe official now) “Paleo Capitol of the World”. You could actually go to a restaurant, a real restaurant, which is fully aware of what Gluten Free/Primal/Paleo may actually be. Not just one special restaurant, MANY restaurants. Popular ones from this particular weekend were the Wholly Cow Burger, The Original Whole Foods, Salt Lick, Green Pastures, 24 Diner, Cherry on Top and Lick Ice Creams. Lick is a small, local place that serves homemade ice cream in a variety of unique and delicious flavors made from fresh milk provided by a small local family farm. Next on the OMG food list were the vendors at the symposium. There were bison farmers, local American olive oil farmers (Texas Olive Ranch), CSAs, a gluten free bakery, kombucha and kvass booths, primal fudge folks (its called LoveBean fudge-you must try-YUMMMM), a homemade seasonings booth (Paleo Powder), Weston Price Foundation, Organic Ghee and Ghee/ Coconut Oil blend, Kotinos Olive Oil, SeaSnax and so many more. Then the cooking demonstrations from some of the popular bloggers such as NomNomPaleo, Civilized Caveman, PaleOMG, Paleo Parents and Diane Sanfilippo. It was Real Food heaven, pure heaven.

I wish I could have spent more time visiting the fitness side of PaleoFX this year, the guest speakers were so encouraging and helpful, but alas, my stomach took control and I devoured the cooking demos and presentations. This bothered me because there were so many great topics and I could not be in 3 places at one time. But the brilliant minds at PaleoFX came up with the next best thing……. VIDEO/AUDIO on-demand!!! Yes, you too can watch (or hear) the same lectures, speakers, and panel talks I did. I can’t wait to catch up on the ones I missed and I am counting down the days till PaleoFX 2014.

Coming off my Paleo high, missing my tribe

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As I mentioned before I recently returned from the most amazing weekend in Austin TX attending the Paleof(x) symposium. I had the chance to meet all my literary and blogging heroes such as Dr. Cate Shanahan author of Deep Nutrition, Nora Gedgaudas author of Primal Mind, Primal Body, Robb Wolf pioneer and author of Paleo Solution, bloggers such as George the Civilized Caveman and Juli from PaleOMG plus many, many more AMAZING guest speakers (Nom Nom Paleo, Darryl Edwards, I could go on and on-check the list) and extra AMAZING attendees just like me. When I say just like me, I mean LITERALLY just. like. me. They are not perfect. They are broken but in the process of healing, they were once sick and now heading into vitality,  not drop dead gorgeous having the bodies of Greek Gods and Goddess but instead dare I say “normal”, in every shape and size. I absolutely loved being able to discuss brewing kombucha, organ meat recipes, where to buy grass feed meats, taking shots of olive oil, learning recipes on how  to make my own bacon, difference between bison and a beefalo, functional exercises that are really child like play that create an environment of team mentality and encouragement, deciding which is better straight ghee or the ghee/coconut oil blend and all the other conversations the general lay person would find strange. I felt as though I had found my long-lost tribe. I loved that these people appreciate the gift of life that they were giving and they are trying to make the best out of it for themselves, their family and anyone else who will listen. I loved the lectures, the dinners and the after parties. I loved the overall kindness,the freedom of information. I loved the openness of each person, their story and their journey to this point….I WAS IN LOVE WITH IT ALL……..and then I came home. Don’t get me wrong home is where my heart is, it is me, it is what my husband and I created for our family, but it was back to being the weird lady with the really restrictive diet and the weird way this family raises their kids. “No TV!?!”, “The kids have to do their own laundry!!”, “Why can’t they play video games?”, “Playing in the rain will give them ring worm”. “Put shoes on them they will get sick”. “Why can they only have a few pieces of candy?” “Lunchables (or gluten birthday cake, colored candy, sugar cereal, pop tarts, McDonald’s and so on) wont hurt them every once in a while, let them be kids”, “What is wrong with commercial laundry soap, dryer sheets, chemical cleaning products, air fresheners, and such?” and “kombucha is fermented EWWWWW”. I’m losing my high and it sucks………it sucks BAD. My tribe is gone and I’m back to walking upstream in a SAD (diet) creek. Come on Paleof(x) 2014 !!!

Chocolate Gluttony

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Everyone who knows me knows I have a dark chocolate fetish. My dear husband even went out and was able to find the BEST Valentines gift for me this year, I mean these were ABSOLUTELY delicious with the Smoke & Stout Caramel Chocolate bar being my favorite. I literally pigged out and ate all of them in one sitting because yeah, I’m like that LOL

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This also brings my to my other addiction….Choffy. Choffy is 100% roasted and ground cacao nibs that are placed into a french press and served like coffee or tea. It is sort a cross between the texture of tea but the full flavor of coffee, a very dark chocolate taste. It is wonderful with french vanilla creamer but I usually use coconut or almond milk and a little bit of vanilla stevia.  I literally drink 32oz at a time. Choffy also does not contain high amounts of caffeine just theobromine which is safer, makes you  less jittery and gives you that chocolate, love buzz .

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You can find more information on Choffy and who you can order it from here

This brings me to today’s chocolate treat and recipe. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures because frankly it was an experiment that we ate all of them in a frenzy thus the pictures became an after thought. I recently attended the 2013 Paleof(x) symposium in Austin, Tx and ran across this little piece of heaven that a family was selling. It was cute to see a family business with quality products thriving in this economy, I love it.

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This fudge is AMAZING !! You can find more product information at the Lovebean Fudge website

Anyways I used my homemade sunflower seed butter and mixed  2 parts butter to a 1 part ratio of this fudge smearing it across our bananas for breakfast and Oh.My.Gosh. chocolate ecstasy. I just sat their in heaven thinking of how wonderful these flavors are without all the added industrialized, processed, mutant shit  chemicals and taste better then anything General Mills or Betty Crocker could have ever served. My next recipe plan is to recreate a chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie my family use to love to so much pre lifestyle change.

anniversary of the strange kind…..

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Today 5 yrs ago my oldest was diagnosed with autism, and for some reason the whole April Fools Day/ Autism Awareness month was just one huge extra slap in my face during that moment. At the time I did NOT want to be a part of this club, it literally and physically broke me into pieces. So here we are 5 yrs later and while reflecting today I am amazed by the growth and peace that has come during those years. He is amazing and what he has done for my life and nothing short of remarkable. Thank you son for making me a better human. “If we don’t make sense to them, that is fine because we make sense to each other. It is not a tragedy, its not a sad story, it is not the movie of the week. Its my family” -Paul Collins author of “Not Even Wrong”

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