DIY healthy gummies

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Oh, gummy bears…. Sigh…. I love how delicious you taste, but I seriously dislike your sugar content, fake coloring, and lack of nutrition. I don’t know about you, but when I give my kids (or myself for that matter) a treat, I always prefer it to be healthy!

Here are my criteria for healthy treats:

They need to be-

•Whole food based
•Refined sugar free
•Free of artificial coloring
•Tasty
•Nutritious

Wouldn’t it be awesome to feel good about giving your kids gummy treats?Well, I have good news! I have just the recipe for you. DIY healthy gummies. This is my kids’ favorite way to eat more healthy gelatin (I do put it in their smoothies too). These gummies are made with fruit and grass fed gelatin. They are gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free!

Here are some of the benefits of healthy grass fed gelatin.

1. Gelatin is contains a good amount of protein. With 6 grams of protein per tablespoon, it’s a great way to add a little more protein to your child’s diet.

2. Gelatin improves digestion. It naturally binds to water and helps food move through the digestive tract more easily.

3. Gelatin is good for bone and joint health. Gelatin contains lots of amino acids important in helping to prevent the cartilage in your joints from weakening. Gelatin also has very high anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Gelatin supports healthy hair, nails, and teeth. Gelatin contains a good amount of keratin, which is a very strong protein found in your hair, nails, teeth and skin.

DIY Strawberry Cream Gummies

Ingredients

½ cup pureed organic strawberries (or fruit of your choice)
½ cup full fat coconut milk (or filtered water, coconut water or milk of your choice)
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons gelatin powder (I used grass-fed gelatin)
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
2 capsules of probiotics (optional)

Directions

Purée fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed) in a blender. I personally love to use my immersion blender. If you don’t have one, you NEED one. They are amazing!

Place puréed fruit into a measuring cup for easy pouring into the molds.

In a small saucepan whisk liquid (I used full fat coconut milk) with the gelatin, honey, and vanilla over low heat, until dissolved (It is not recommended for the mixture to boil).

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Pour the gelatin liquid into the pureed fruit and whisk to prevent the gelatin from setting in clumps. Add anything else you might like (probiotics, maca powder, green powder, vitamins, etc) and whisk to incorporate.

Pour the mixture into your molds and place them in the fridge to set for about 15 minutes.

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Remove the gummies from the molds and store in the fridge in an air-tight container. I find that they last in the fridge for about 1-2 weeks. Enjoy!!

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Safer alternatives for a non-toxic Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day can be a tad commercial, but it’s so sweet to celebrate love with young kids, this can be easily overlooked. Far more distasteful than commercialization is the handful of hidden surprises that come with this annual public display of affection. Here are a few Valentine’s traditions to be wary of, and safer alternatives.

Commercial candy can fill the day with sugar overdoses, but for once that’s the least of its issues. Candy is also packed with artificial dyes, preservatives, and other unhealthy food additives. High fructose corn syrup can be contaminated by mercury. Pamper loved ones with the treat of organic fair trade dark chocolate instead. Need an excuse? It supplies key antioxidants called flavonoids and can literally help prevent broken hearts.

Costume and children’s jewelry is a common Valentine’s Day gift, but it can be contaminated with lead. If these and other similar trinkets are part of your family’s celebration, play it safe and give something else. Make bracelets out of paper!

Flowers are another ubiquitous Valentine’s pleasure, but conventional cut flowers are typically grown with pesticides and treated with hazardous chemicals to ensure longer lasting blooms. Help a healthier love blossom by handing out organic varieties instead. Houseplants last longer than cut flowers and they might even help filter the air.

School celebrations can be a minefield of less-than-lovely offerings on Valentine’s Day. From sugary cupcakes to candy and even temporary heart tattoos, there’s a lot to monitor. Talk to your school, teachers, or the PTA about instituting a card-only policy. Or offer to bring the treats in yourself and supply the class with healthier alternatives.

It’s time to bag the baggies! Use safer alternatives to plastic bags, wrap, and wax paper

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If you’re used to plastic baggies and wrap, chances are you reach for them automatically. Next time you do, consider giving them up—for health as well as environmental reasons.

Chemicals in plastic can migrate into food, especially fatty foods. Most sandwich bags are actually made from #4 plastic, which is currently considered ok by the scientific community. But it can be remarkably tricky to confirm which plastic your baggies or wrap are made of without calling manufacturers, and it’s never wise to place food in an unknown plastic. Some plastic wrap is #3 PVC, which can contain hormone-disrupting phthalates—not desirable.

It’s easy to understand why to avoid unsafe chemicals on and around your food. But it’s harder to grasp how using disposables can harm our kids and us. Think about it, though. Any plastic—#4 or #3 or something else entirely—used only briefly is a waste of resources. Plastic clogs our landfills and oceans, and may never decompose completely. Need a visual of where your baggie will likely end up? Do a Google image search for “great Pacific garbage patch.” Marine animals eat the plastic and then we wind up eating plastic when our families eat seafood. It’s an unhappy cycle.

The good news is that it’s easy as can be to use reusable baggies or to cover a (glass) bowl of fridge-bound leftovers with a reusable plate instead of plastic wrap. Reusing plastic baggies and/or wrap isn’t the answer; plastics designed for single use aren’t meant for reuse. When plastic breaks down over time, it’s more likely to release its chemical components into your food. Rely instead on non-plastic reusables. Look for easy-to-wash items made of glass, stainless steel, and lead-safe ceramics. These come in all shapes and sizes. For plastic baggies, swap in food-safe fabric bags. These are sometimes lined with waterproof materials, so read labels to make sure you’re not buying an unsafe plastic-lined baggie. For plastic wrap, swap in washable beeswax cloth in varying sizes. Bonus: reusables can save real cash! They also drastically reduce trash. The EPA says one year of school lunches creates an average of 67 pounds of trash.

If you must use disposables from time to time, look for unbleached wax paper and paper baggies lined with vegetable wax instead of petroleum-derived wax. There are cupcake liners made from this too, so stock up for the next bake sale.

There is truly life beyond plastic. Come on, give it a try.

Childhood Diseases on the Rise- What You Need To Know!

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Though the incidence of many kinds of cancer has been falling in recent years, the number of new cases of childhood cancer has been rising. So have the rates of many other childhood diseases, including autism, allergies, asthma, ADHD, learning disabilities, diabetes, and obesity. Increasingly, scientific research points to the toxic chemicals found in our homes, schools, and communities as a significant factor in this alarming trend.

Renowned pediatrician Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center, and honorary board member of Healthy Child Healthy World, is a leading expert on the issue of environmental influences and childhood health. Here are some of his thoughts about toxic chemicals and kid’s health, and what we can do to prevent harm from chemical exposures.

On developmental disabilities:

Developmental disabilities affect 10 to 15 percent of our children. Examples include dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and mental retardation. The incidence of autism spectrum disabilities is on the rise. Now some form of autism affects 1 in 88 American children, a significant increase of 23 percent since 2006.

On phthalates:

Phthalates interfere with the body’s naturally occurring hormones, which control growth, development, and behavior. The highest levels of phthalates are found in women and young children. Vinyl plastics and personal care products are main routes of exposure to phthalates. These chemicals affect reproductive development, especially in boys, and have been linked to early puberty, as well as brain and nervous system effects.

Try these tips to avoid phthalates.

On pesticides:

Children are exposed to pesticides from playgrounds and yards that are chemically treated. Conventional fruits and vegetables are another source of pesticide exposure. Some people use pesticides in their homes, spraying chemicals to kill cockroaches and other pests. The toxic effects of pesticides on children are severe, damaging the developing brain and, in extreme cases, resulting in a loss of IQ points. Taking off shoes before entering your home will decrease the amount of pesticides tracked inside. And choosing organic fruits and vegetables lightens the load of toxic pesticides in your child’s body.

For tips and resources to make your home pesticide free, click here.

Want to learn more? Check out this video of the presentation the above remarks came from, sponsored by Kiwi Magazine’s Kiwi College program.

DIY thankful tree

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I don’t know about you, but my kids are really into holidays! Now that my son Maddyx is almost 4, he is very excited about every holiday and wants to celebrate it as much as possible. He was devastated that Halloween ended and keeps asking why it’s “gone”. I needed something to get him excited for Thanksgiving and that’s when I decided to do a Thankful Tree!  You might be thinking, “what in the world is a thankful tree?”. A thankful tree is a fun way for kids to practice being thankful (I can hear all you mamas saying “AMEN!!” lol). Who doesn’t want to raise a grateful child? I know that I sure do! Here is how you can make one yourself. Don’t worry, this one is easy and you most likely have all of the supplies in your house!

DIY Thankful Tree 

Supplies Needed:

  • Large Jar or Vase
  • Some sort of filler for the vase
  • Colored Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Tree Branches (Real or Fake)
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Marker

 

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Step 1:

Draw a few different leaf shapes on colored paper. I used scrapbook paper, but construction paper would work too. I made about 18, but you can make as many as you want! If you have more children, you may make want to make more. Cut them out.

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Step 2:

Cut your twine into 8 inch pieces. Cut one piece per leaf. Tie a piece of twine onto each leaf.

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Step 3: 

Fill your jar with filler of choice. I used some decorative bark that I had, but you could use acorns or really anything that you think is pretty! Add your tree branches to your jar and then tie a pretty ribbon around it!

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Step 4:

Have your child help you hang the leaves on your tree. We are using our Thankful Tree as a center piece on our dining room table. Every day, let each of your children select a leaf and write something that they are thankful for. Maddyx did his first leaf today and he said that he was thankful for his friend Evan (so sweet!). Talk to your child about what it means to be thankful and explain what it means to have a thankful heart. We are going to make a trip to the library to get some books about Thanksgiving and thankfulness. We will hopefully read a book or do a fun activity each day. I hope you decide to join in on the fun!!!

 

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