How to stay healthy during flu season

The two causes of illness are toxicity and deficiency. Keep this in mind for the winter.
Let me start with “the flu” season.  The flu is not a dangerous disease in healthy people.  The flu and flu-like illnesses are caused by over 200 separate viruses.  Each year the most prevalent strains of influenza A and B are guessed to design the next year’s vaccine.  The flu shot actually covers less than 10% of the viruses.

^that’s a shame^

Flu vaccines are heavily promoted by the government and most doctors. You will walk into the grocery store and see a huge sign to get your flu shot now! And even hear the ad for it as you are walking through the store. The Cochrane review looked specifically at the flu vaccination of children and found that for children under 2, the flu vaccine was similar to that of a placebo. For everyone else, weighing the benefits versus the risks is recommended.  Keep in mind that most studies on the flu vaccine are biased as vaccine-manufacturers fund the studies. In the end, vaccinating against the flu was found to be far from fully protective against getting the flu.  Last, there are known risks of flu shots which include but are not limited to mercury and formaldehyde.  Studies have NOT been conducted on the long term affects of injecting people with these toxins year after year. Keep this in mind when you decide what is best for you and your family.  Source: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Super Immunity.

So, how can you stay healthy during this time of year when many people seem to be walking around with germs and colds?


Focus on your diet.

Be smart about what you put into your body.

Load up on green leafy veggies – salads, soups and load up all of your fruits and veggies!
Onions and garlic are a great group of vegetables to eat, as well as berries, mushrooms, pomegranates, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Avoid processed foods and refined sugars.  Use dates for sweetening.

Supplement with Vitamin D, but make sure it is a good brand. Read the ingredients.

Try elderberry (DIY with the recipe on the bag) and raw local honey daily.

Add a zinc supplement.

If you or your kiddos DO get sick, fevers are a good sign that your body is fighting the virus! There is no need to treat with medication which enters a toxin into the already fighting immune system and can actually get in the way of your immune system fighting the virus.

Fevers generally do not need to be treated with medication unless your child is uncomfortable or has a history of febrile convulsions. The fever may be important in helping your child fight the infection.

Even higher temperatures are not in themselves dangerous or significant unless your child has a history of seizures or a chronic disease. Even if your child has a history of a fever-related convulsion and you treat the fever with medication, they may still have this kind of seizure. It is more important to watch how your child is behaving.

If he is eating and sleeping well and has periods of playfulness, he probably doesn’t need any treatment. You should also talk with your pediatrician about when to treat your child’s fever.”

Highly question and research antibiotic use if you do become ill! Antibiotics ruin your healthy gut bacteria and weaken your immune system which lends way to more infections down the road.

Do preventative care – load up on the good stuff all winter long and keep the toxins out!

Post Source: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Super Immunity.





Tips for traveling with a toddler

We did two cross country flights over the last week with the littlest one who is 17-months old! Last year was a breeze since she slept most of the time, but this year, sleep was not to be had! I loaded up with ideas to keep her busy as well as snacks!  As soon as we got into our car to go home, she fell asleep, we moved her when we got home and she slept until morning!

Load up with healthy not sugary snacks that will wire them, and pick out some entertaining toys that easily fit in your bag!
Here were some of my favorite toddler travel toys:

Plastic cups from the snack area to fill with beads for pouring. Any plastic cups will do.
These condiment containers are just right for toddlers!
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Foam beads (didn’t get these in time but a friend recommended & they seem great!)

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mini etch a sketch. Works for toddlers and big kids too!

travel aqua doodle. This was great for the older kids too. Just add water to the pen after security (don’t recommend doing it on the plane!) and this was fun for drawing!

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touch and feel flashcards
These are cute to go through and practice words and touch the cards!


an empty water bottle. Yup! Easy as that. Bring some small things to put in it. I just grabbed some beads from home and we played dump them out and put them back in a bunch of times. The beads ended up everywhere but it was a great entertainment!

buckle toys. This school bag  was great and I filled it with her snacks. It is a small area but it fits a few things!  Perfect for 3&under – my 4-year old actually wanted it for her.

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Small books are great too!  We also brought her babies.
What did your toddler like best when traveling?

We had a blast spending time with family in California, it was worth it!

Follow your GUT!

Last week I attended a class put on by Philadelphia Integrative Nutrition on “How to Heal your Gut” and I wanted to share the information with you!

Have you heard of the MICROBIOME? The microbiome is primarily in your large intestine and colon. It is trillions of microbones that live in a symbiotic relationship.

{symbiotic refers to any diverse organisms that live together, but in this case, the relationship is not necessarily beneficial to both. Parasites, for example, have a symbiotic relationship with their hosts, but only the parasite benefits.} –


It is said that 70% of our immune system is in our gut which is huge!
A healthy gut regulates absorption of nutrients, helps us process toxins and allergens and regulates inflammation.

“All disease begins in the gut”  -hippocrates


  • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Your diet. (The SAD- Standard American Diet is a culprit- high in carbs, processed food and sugar and low in fiber)

A healthy gut starts at birth.  Babies delivered vaginally ingest good bacteria in the birth canal, while babies delivered via c-section do not have that opportunity. Breastfed babies ingest good bacteria from mom and build immunity from birth.

Leaky gut is one of the top issues when the normal gut flora is disrupted. Undigested food particles, microorganisms and toxins go through “leaky” openings in the lining, which has been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorder, and more issues.  A healthy gut does not have openings and prevents anything from going through.



We all want a healthy gut! Start with your diet.

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photo credit: University Health News

Remove irritants. This includes foods that are reactive to you, also alcohol, medications, simple sugars, and carbs.  Do an elimination diet to find out which foods are not working for you.

Eat a healthy diet, rich in pre-biotic & pro-biotic rich foods!
PRE-BIOTIC FOODS {fuel for good bacteria in the colon}: dandelion greens, Jersusalem artichokes, garlic, cabbage, onions, leeks and asparagus.

PROBIOTIC FOODS { help balance your microbiome }
raw apple cider vinegar, fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, miso

Love this infographic from Dr.Axe as a reminder of a healthy diet!



What else do you want to know about the microbiome?

Holiday Card Photography

This is my busy time of year for photography as most people want to get photos for their holiday cards!   So, what are some tips for capturing a great photo to feature on your holiday card?

I enjoy documenting time with photos, so showing this on a holiday card is fun. Rather than all of the kids looking at smiling, maybe they are laughing or all looking at one of the kids, or all looking at each other.  You can pose your kids, then say, “Everyone look at…Piper.”  “Tell Mary a secret.”   “Line up for a race, ready set go!”  “Read a book!”



Paperless Post. Love them. So easy to email out beautiful cards in minutes – less waste too!

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Have them follow your directions, but also do some silly shots and in between shots. Let them give you some ideas too! You never know, especially with toddlers!


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You might have some fun beach pictures, summer family outings, Halloween. Be different and find something that shows a snapshot of everyone’s personalities in your family.

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I love how Shutterflyminted let you see your photo in many cards at once.

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Holiday cards can be super expensive! Consider sending them via email with paperless post, or making your own!  Shutterfly has an option for uploading your own design if you are tech savy and have a program to design one.

Where do your Christmas cards end up ultimately? Do you save yours? A few years ago, I started saving cards from family and close friends and putting them on a circular clip. We take them out at Christmas time and go back and look at them by year.







Dairy free cheese roundup

Have you noticed the dairy free cheeses making their way into the supermarket? Things have changed so much for vegetarians and vegans over the past few years, with more and more people eating plant-based for health.  Here is a roundup of some of the new products on the market and what to expect.

Daiya – Allergen free cheese that comes in shreds, and looks similar to cheese in the package. It melts and stretches according to the packaging.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-21-55-am


My thoughts: It melts nicely with almond milk for a mac & cheese, or soup, and it melts for pizza, but maintains it shape/size.  I’m happy that it is free of soy, gluten and all common allergens. I like the taste if I want cheese, but I’m not a big fan of the ingredient list. Canola and safflower oil are best when expeller pressed, but still not healthy oils. The jury on pea protein is still out there and vegan natural flavors to me is another word for MSG.  I would rather eat something with real food ingredients.

Chao by Field Roast.  ” Rich and creamy vegan cheese that is coconut based and seasoned with a fermented tofu, traditionally called ‘Chao’ by the Vietnamese.



My thoughts: It looks like cheese! It tastes pretty darn good. I can use this for a grilled cheese with 2 of 4 of my kids and they really like it! It melts pretty well, but takes probably twice as long as cheese to get to the melted consistency.  I am not a fan of the ingredients. Modified corn and potato starch, natural flavor –> MSG. Fermented chao tofu – whether GMO or not, most soy is tainted with roundup due to the wind blowing the seeds from GMO to non-GMO farms.  Besides the filtered water and the sesame & coconut oil (which is not listed as refined or unrefined), this cheese is full of toxic ingredients😦


Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozz.  Cultured Nut Product.

“Just like traditional mozzarella di bufalo, our cashew-based vegan version is the perfect answer for everything from pizzas, to caprese salad, to paninis. Creamy, smooth, and with just the perfect amount of springiness. Melts and Browns. Delicious Hot or Cold.”

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I was excited to test out this cheese after I reviewed the soft cheeses about a year ago and was impressed. The ingredient list is great:Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Cashews, Organic Tapioca Starch, Agar, Sea Salt, Cultures.  I used this on pizza and it melted great! It has a bit of a tangy taste, you definitely have to get used to this one. I have used for grilled cheese, but it melted better on pizza. I prefer it melted rather than fresh. I have not tried it for mac and cheese, or italian recipes yet!  I would recommend giving this one a try!

I also want to try their new butter!



Kite Hill Ricotta

“Our ricotta has sweet, and cultured overtones, and a buttery, smooth finish. It is moist and incredibly versatile. Its silky texture makes for a great mascarpone substitute and is ideal for desserts.”

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My review: Wow. This ricotta is amazing! I used it in lasagna soup and I have it on toast with honey.  The ingredient list looks good, I would just LOVE to see organic almonds!

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Also from Kite Hill: Cream cheese!

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“Our cream cheese style spreads are made with all natural ingredients to create a complex flavor and a velvety smooth texture. Each batch is cultured to add depth, sweetness, and a subtle tang. Our spread is great smeared on a bagel, or served alongside fresh fruit or grilled vegetables”

Ingredients [view label]
Almond milk (water, almonds), salt, enzyme, vinegar, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, cultures.

My thoughts: The cream cheese is awesome. The kids aren’t into it at this time unfortunately, but I think it tastes just like the real thing! They also have various other products to try, check out their website!

What is your favorite dairy free cheese?

**Photo credits from specific websites of products reviewed.