Reasons to eat more raw foods and easy ways you can get some, today

Most Americans are familiar with the general makeup of the food pyramid. We have been taught what the FDA deems “appropriate dietary standards” since we were young, but in the past decade, there has been increasing controversy over exactly where the FDA’s recommendations are coming from. Many health professionals and vegetarian advocates argue that meat is not an essential part of a healthy diet, and even accuse the Food and Drug administration of making recommendations based on monetary gain and not on actual scientific facts.

Regardless of the controversy in congress, and whether you choose to eat animal products or not, it is difficult to deny the fact that eating more raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is anything but beneficial to your overall health. Read how incorporating more raw foods into your daily diet can  make you feel better.

3 Reasons to Eat More Raw Foods, Today

1.Weight loss – By trading the processed foods in your diet for more natural, raw foods, minor to noticeable weight loss is inevitable and usually a welcome perk to this dietary change.

2.More nutrients per bite – We’ve all heard that cooking our vegetables depletes their nutrients. Before steaming those carrots, try eating them raw. Dip them in a little bit of hummus and reap the nutritional benefits.

3.More nutrients means more energy – By eating more raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, instead of processed foods laced with sugar, modified ingredients and unwanted fat, raw foodies experience a new found energy in lieu of their usual afternoon crash. Many raw food converts find that they no longer need coffee or soda to give them a boost of energy, and even confess that their headaches, body aches and digestive issues have all subsided.

Try this recipe for a deliciously energizing raw food smoothie:

In a blender, add:

-1 banana

-a handful of seasonal, organic berries

-a few cubes of fresh pineapple

-2 skinned kiwis

-a handful of fresh, organic spinach

-a handful of fresh, organic Kale

-1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

-1/2 cup of carrot juice

Delicious!

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

How Do I Use Homeopathic Remedies?

On a recent trip to the Vitamin Cottage off of 15th street near Downtown Denver, one of the Natural Products Network team members witnessed a woman browsing the rows of homeopathic remedies and asking an employee numerous questions. That trip provided the inspiration for this article because although homeopathic remedies have been around much longer than most types of Western medicine, many people have no idea what they are, how they work or how to use them.

Homeopathy was first discovered by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 when he came up with the principle that “like cures like.” Thus, each homeopathic remedy is made from an extremely diluted substance that has similar qualities to the symptoms it is targeting.  It is thought that when the body encounters the homeopathic, it responds and combats the corresponding symptoms. Although, homeopathy has had its critics, it’s sheer staying power and number of users around the world say a lot about its effectiveness. In fact, homeopathic remedies are used by England’s Royal Family and widely prescribed by Physicians in Europe and Asia.

When choosing a homeopathic remedy it’s a good idea to first check with your health care provider. You may be pleasantly surprised how many Western Physicians are becoming more knowledgeable about homeopathy and can advise you accordingly. Recently, a friend of mine told us about a doctor she discovered at Kaiser who is both a Naturopath and a MD – pretty exciting stuff! If your primary doctor isn’t receptive, consider reaching out to a Naturopath for a recommendation. Whomever you go to, the most important thing is that you don’t feel belittled or patronized for wanting to explore another health option—especially one like homeopathy that has been around for a long time and has many fans around the world.

Regardless of which remedies that you end up choosing there are general rules that apply to all homeopathic remedies. First, never touch them as this can disturb the remedies. Instead, always pour them into the bottle cap first before putting them into your mouth and letting them dissolve under your tongue (If you use a liquid, squirt it directly under your tongue without touching the dropper to your mouth). Next, don’t eat or drink anything for at least 20 minutes before or after you take the homeopathic so that they can be absorbed directly into your system. One of our favorite brands of homeopathic remedies is Hyland’s which offers a number of solutions from their popular Cold n Cough 4 Kids to their legendary Calms Forte formula. Hyland’s also makes an effective natural acne treatment.

Also, when deciding on a healing path with your health care adviser, work on one set of correlating symptoms at a time so you don’t overload yourself with too many remedies.  Even though little to no adverse side effects have been reported, starting with too many homeopathic remedies too fast can be overwhelming. Lastly, if you purchase your remedies from a health food store, ask the cashier not to scan them at checkout. Although some argue that scanning is fine, there is also a belief that it could weaken the energetic quality of the homeopathic—so there’s no point in taking the risk.

Sun renewal products

Feeling a little lackluster after months spent in the sun? Not to fear, here are great natural products that can help you you rejuvenate and restore after a long, hot summer.

John Masters Organics Hand and Body Butter

The first thing that many notice after being in the sun is dull, dry skin in need of some extra care. John Masters Organics new Hand and Body Butter works wonders to refresh and enliven the skin after playing outdoors. It features a deliciously intensive blend of cacao, shea & cupuacu butters combined with the nourishing properties of broccoli & cranberry seed oils. It is especially good for dry, thirsty skin and it smells like a tropical vacation. The key is the trio of butters which are very healing to the skin. Plus, just a little bit goes a long way. One tube lasted us much longer than other lotions and kept our skin moist and happy. It’s especially great on dry elbows and heels–two areas that often get neglected.

Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica, Calendula Spray and Leg Cramps

Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica provides topical relief of muscle soreness, bruising and swelling due to overexertion or injury. Not only does the arnica work great naturally, the product is easy to apply and not at all greasy. We love to rub it into sore muscles while watching TV at night. Bonus points if you get someone else to massage it in for you. The Calendula Spray helps to naturally calm and nourish skin to relieve sunburns, skin chafing, minor cuts and scraps. We love that you can spray it, so you don’t have to touch delicate skin. Hyland’s Leg Cramps helps to naturally relieve dreaded cramping that is common after all those outdoor activities. In fact, as many as one in three adults are estimated to suffer from leg cramps.

Kroeger Herb Sunny E and Anti-Fatigue

Since 1957, Kroeger Herb has built a reputation for producing high-quality wellness products. Their fabulous Sunny E harnesses the power of Vitamin E to help reduce inflammation and skin damage caused by the sun. One thing that makes Sunny E unique is that it is formulated with pure maple syrup, which helps promote absorption. Their popular Anti-Fatigue blend features B Vitamins to refuel the body and fight exhaustion by recharging the adrenals–one of the first areas of the body to register stress.

Make sure to check with our friends at Organic Gardening Magazine who will be giving some of these products away soon as part of their online Gear Giveaway!

Superfoods to feel younger

They say that age is just a number, and watching what you consume CAN make you look and feel much younger than your years. Here are some of our favorite Superfoods that can help turn back time.

Schizandra Complete Concentrate
This amazing herb has been used for sleep disorders, liver disorders, mood disorders/depression, sexual dysfunction, and to increase energy.  Schizandra is known to boost the body’s resistance to fatigue, anxiety, illness, and mood swings. In fact, Dr. Oz recently touted Schizandra as an “anti-aging miracle.” www.hannasherbshop.com

Two Leaves Tea Company
According to WebMD, drinking tea helps to reduce heart disease and possibly even helps prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Two leaves tea company was one of the first to use a pyramid shaped tea sachet that allows tea drinkers to experience whole leaf tea in the comfort of their own home. They offer a number of great tasting and nutritious teas including the popular Better Belly Blend and African Sunset. www.twoleavesandabud.com

Nude Food
Nude Foods has coined the term Nudetrition™ to describe their nutrient-dense, quality Snack Bars and Breakfast Boosts. Each product features naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy oils, and other nutrients. By using only the highest quality, all natural, and when possible, organic ingredients, Nude Food delivers some of the tastiest and healthiest foods and snacks around. www.nudefood.com

Vega SaviSeed
Native to the Amazon Rainforest, these amazing seeds boast 17 times more Omega-3 per ounce than wild Sockeye salmon. In fact, they are considered the the richest plant-based source of Omega-3 on the planet!  Plus,Vega SaviSeeds are sustainably grown and proudly produced in partnership with Peruvian farmers. Try the Cocoa Kissed variety…delicious! www.myvega.com

Eden Organic
Eden Foods is a pioneer in the natural foods industry. One superfood product they offer is their array of fabulous organic beans. Not only are beans inexpensive, they are high in antioxidants which help to fight cell damage, which is one of the keys to preventing aging. They are also a great source of protein,  fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, potassium and magnesium. Also, Eden cans are bisphenol-A (BPA) free which is just one more reason to love them! www.edenfoods.com

Protect your kids from overlooked health risk

A leading health risk often overlooked as a possible cause for disruptive and irritable behavior in children, lead poisoning is a serious condition that if left untreated can cause various health threats. In fact, according to the CDC, lead poisoning can damage the kidneys, the nervous system, the reproductive system, cause elevated blood pressure and is especially harmful to the developing brains of young children and fetuses.

So how does a child end up with too much lead in his or her system? Most people know about the dangers of lead paint found covering walls of many older houses and apartment buildings. However, not too many people consider their child’s exposure to water run through lead pipes or the massive amount of environmental lead residue. The EPA estimates that more than 12 million children primarily living in urban areas are exposed to around 10 million metric tons of lead residue resulting from the use of leaded gasoline and paint. Even juice boxes can be a source of lead!

According to the Mayo Clinic the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include:

• Irritability

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Sluggishness and fatigue

• Abdominal pain

• Vomiting

• Constipation

• Unusual paleness from anemia

• Learning difficulties

You can get your child tested for lead poisoning, often for free. Start by checking with your local health department regarding lead screening guidelines specific to the risks in your area.  If your child does indeed have lead poisoning, you’ll want to talk to your health care provider before starting any treatment, but there are a number of natural remedies that might help.

Natural Strategies for combating lead poisoning  include utilizing homeopathic remedies specifically for lead accumulation. For instance, Hanna Kroeger Herbs makes a Plumbum (Latin for lead) remedy specifically to help dispel lead from the body. Helpful herbs for combating lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity include Alfalfa and Dandelion. Make sure to always buy organic or wild herbs that haven’t been treated with pesticides. And of course, it is important to identify the source of lead so that your child isn’t exposed again. Finally, don’t forget to test yourself and other family members for lead poisoning if your child tests positive! Other people in your family could also be at risk!

Healthy pantry makeover

Is your pantry healthy or is it a health trap? Here are some ideas on how to reinvent your walk-in so you have quick, delicious and nutritious meal options on hand that your entire family will love. Check out our recent segment on Good Morning Colorado as we talk about some healthy options!

Free Choice Foods
Sometimes when people think of gluten-free foods, they think that they will have to compromise taste. Not true with Free Choice Foods! Their gluten free, wheat Free, dairy Free, vegan main meal dishes are made with wholesome, premium, natural ingredients and taste great! We especially love the the Cuban Style Black Beans & Rice, Middle Eastern Lentil Pilaf with Cashews & Raisins and Chickpea & Potato Curry with Roasted Peanuts. In fact our mouth is watering right now  just thinking about them! www.freechoicefoodsusa.com

Rudi’s Organic Bakery
The Rudi’s story started more than 35 years ago when the founders couldn’t find a nutritious bread for their kids. Fast forward to present day and Rudi’s Organic is now a premier brand focused on making products free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans-fat and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Rudi’s Organic breads are made in small batches using a centuries-old practice that allows the dough to ferment for 12 to 24 hours before the mixing and baking processes begin. Try their new Sandwich and Bagel Flatz! Perfect for kid lunches! www.rudisbakery.com

Simply Organic
There are so many things to love about Simply Organics. They offer a variety of spices and  mixes for quick sauces, salad dressings, chilis and more. Plus, they embrace small organic farmers, helping them improve their agricultural methods and profits through programs like Fair Trade and Well Earth®. Two of our favorite products include the organic Chili Mix which can be prepped in minutes with  common pantry items and the versatile  Carrot Cake mix which can be used to create a variety of different recipes. www.simplyorganic.com

Mix1
We like to stock up on these natural and healthy shakes because they don’t have to be refrigerated. Thus you can put a case or two in the pantry and then chill them later. Developed by a naturopathic doctor, each shake features complete protein, antixoidants, vitamins and minerals and fiber. Perfect for those with active lifestyles to grab and go as a healthy meal replacement, snack on-the-go or at work and/or pre-post workout. Try the new 90 calorie options (lean chocolate and vanilla). www.mix1life.com

Middle Earth Organics
This is Italian food at its finest:  simple, traditional recipes; no shortcuts. Their policy is to process everything within 3 HOURS or less of being harvested to give sauces a distinctly fresher flavor without added sugars or sweeteners. Ingredients include pungent green olive oil from Puglia, porcini mushrooms from the Apennines, baby capers from the island of Lipari and Peranzana olives from Calabria. Make sure to try their organic “raw” cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Wowsa! They do not have a Web site, but products are available at many healthy stores and online.

Healthy summer snack ideas

Choosing healthy snacks can make a big difference on how you and your kids feel throughout the day. Here are some nutritious snack ideas that will keep you and your kiddos coming back for more! We’ll be talking about natural snack strategies this Friday on Daybreak – make sure to tune in if you live in Colorado!

Naked Edge Snacks
It’s fun to eat Veggie-Go’s from Naked Edge Snacks! Each of these delectable, chewy treats are made from whole ORGANIC fruits AND veggies and NO added sugar. Perfect to keep in your purse or glove box for an afternoon pick-me-up. We especially love the Cinnamon Spiced Beet variety. Once you try it, your kids will be begging for more beets. Imagine that!  www.nakededgesnacks.com

Bobo’s Oat Bars
Made with Natural and Organic ingredients, Bobo’s Oat Bars have a moist and delicious homemade taste that is unlike any other snack bar on the market. These one-of-a-kind bars are available in ten amazing regular flavors including four exciting new Gluten Free flavors. Forget artificial ingredients, additives, sweeteners and other harsh chemicals — each tasty treat is baked from the heart using only pure ingredients. www.bobosoatbars.com

Justin’s Nut Butters
This Colorado company only uses the highest quality natural and organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested and found as locally as possible to make their delicious array of nutbutters, peanut butter cups and bars. Products include classic peanut and almond butter and innovative varieties such as Chocolate Hazelnut and Maple Almond. www.justinsnutbutter.com

Snikiddy Snacks
All lines of Snikiddy Snacks are vegetarian and gluten and wheat free. No artificial colors or preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or cholesterol. Plus, the best part is that they are absolutely delicious. We especially like Eat Your Vegetables™ which are the newest snack line from Snikiddy. They contain a full serving of veggies in each ounce serving (13 chips). www.snikiddy.com

Ela Family Farms
Since 1907, Ela Family Farmshas being growing fruit in western Colorado. This 4th generation farm is proud to offer certified organic products that reflect their dedication to quality. For instance, their legendary applesauce features only one ingredient–pure, delicious, organic apples. Now that is something that you can feel good about eating! www.elafamilyfarms.com

Avoid hidden toxins in kid products

When you become a parent, you want to extend your eco-awareness to your kids so that they too can reap the benefits. Sure, you’ve chosen cloth diapers and are careful about recycling and packing nutritious, organic lunches, but what are you missing? Chances are some things you haven’t even thought of. Check out four of the most common mistakes parents make when trying to raise healthy, happy, natural kids.

1. Hidden Chemicals

Just because a product is labeled as natural or even organic does not mean that it is a healthy choice. In fact, many common seemingly healthy products aimed at kids are filled with harmful chemicals. Check out this amazing book, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, to find out the truth about the dangers of common preservatives and food additives. What you’ll find is that there is concrete scientific evidence against common substances like MSG found in a variety of foods (not just Chinese food!!). These harmful additives are used as flavor enhancers and represent a billion-dollar-business. The problem is that they are also making us sick.

The good news is that we can do something about this. Check the labels of foods and stay away from packaged foods that contain an abundance of chemicals. Also, be careful because seemingly harmless ingredients such as “enzymes,” “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “natural flavors” and “spices” are sometimes food additives in disguise! Two of the biggest culprits aimed right at our kids are Campbell Soups and Lunchables.

2. Toxic Toys and Clothes

We live in a world where quantity is often chosen over quality — especially when it comes to our kids’ clothes and toys. Even the most environmentally aware parent can get caught up in a wave of seemingly never ending consumerism. Worse yet, parents often end up buying an abundance of toys and clothes for their children that are actually toxic and harmful to their health.

In fact, according to the New York Daily News, dangerous levels of lead and hazardous chemicals continue to pop up in some popular children’s products like Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit and the Dora the Explorer Activity Tote. Also, conventional clothing can retain toxic chemicals that can cause rashes. So what is a parent to do? Check out wonderful websites like WildDill.com that offer a variety of clothes and toys that are safe, educational, high-quality and eco-friendly.

3. Over Juiced

Sure, consuming some juice is OK for our kids’ health, but nowadays over consumption of juice is becoming a real problem. So much so that even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement about “The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics.” According to the AAP, drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain. Also, according to NRP, a California environmental group has found amounts of lead in bottled juice, juice boxes and packaged fruit that exceed federal limits for young children. And compounding this problem, juice boxes are often not recycled and end up littering our landfills.

4. Carbon Kid Print

When is the last time you calculated your carbon kid print? Um….never? If you are like many parents who calculate their individual footprint and its impact on the environment, you might realize that you’ve never even included your kids in this equation – or started a conversation with them about how they can have a positive impact on the environment. Thankfully there is this wonderful website called Carbonfootprint that can help you tally the results and use it as a teaching moment. 

Use Foods Around the House to Heal Indigestion, Acne and Sore Throat!

While the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t usually taken literally—it should be. Apples, like a lot of other common foods you’ll find in your fridge, are packed with healing nutrients that can save you a trip to the doctor the next time you’re not feeling so well. While us westerners often think of food as nourishing our bodies, we hardly ever look to it for medicinal purposes. However, for centuries different cultures such as the Chinese and American Indians have used food to help them feel better.  And we are not just talking about eating food, but also utilizing it in tonics and salves—and even placing it on the body to help draw out toxins.

Despite the disconnect often experienced when thinking of the notion that food can heal, nearly every person can think of a food related remedy that has been passed down in her or his family. The interesting thing is that a lot of these “old wives tales,” as they are often called, actually work and have been backed up by science. Furthermore, with health care costs on the rise, now is the perfect time to explore how to utilize common foods to promote better health. So open your mind—and your fridge— and let’s get started looking at the healing powers of food.

Tomatoes – There are oodles of studies that show that the chemical that makes tomatoes red, known as lycopene, may lower the risk of cancer. Tomatoes are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium and Potassium and can be used topically to draw out toxins. Next time you have a breakout try rubbing fresh tomato juice on your skin during your cleansing process.  Also, when you have a sore throat, try cutting a tomato in half and putting each side, juicy side down, on your neck where it hurts. This really works! You can also enjoy the healing benefits of tomatoes by making delicious sauces. Some of our favorite natural tomato products are made by Muir Glen.

Onions – Ahhh, the onion. Did you know that onions contain as many as 150 phytochemicals including quercetin which works to help to dispel free radicals in the body? Probably not, which is why you are reading this article in the first place, right? Anyway, the next time that you find yourself really stuffed up or feeling like you might have a touch of the flu, try making a huge pot of simple onion stew. First, find the biggest and deepest pot that you have and fill it with water until it’s about half full. Then cut 3 whole onions, put them in the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the onions are tender. After you’ve removed it from the heat, check the temperature of the steam with your hand (don’t burn yourself!) When it’s not too hot, poor the onion broth into a cup and sip it slowly while continuing to inhale the wonderful, healing vapors. This simple remedy can help clear you up and get you back on track.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Without going into a long narrative about how Apple Cider Vinegar works to help the body, we’ll save you a lot of boring reading by stating simply that it has been suggested that it works because it helps balance alkaline levels in the body. (Western diets are often more acid than alkaline…thus more alkaline can be ideal).  If you find yourself eating out a few times a week, try making Apple Cider Vinegar your new best friend. After eating heavy restaurant food—or just something that didn’t quite agree with you—put a tablespoon of Unfiltered Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar) in a large glass of water and sip it very, very slowly. Don’t be surprised if by the time you are finished your tummy ache is completely gone. Apple Cider Vinegar is also a wonderful natural acne treatment.

Natural sun protection products

From the picnics to the camping trips, the summertime means getting outside. Thankfully, there are a number of natural sun protection products that make it possible for your family to stay protected while enjoying all the warm weather fun. Tune in to Channel 2 this Tuesday in Denver as we talk about natural sun protection on Daybreak!

Urban Baby Bonnets
Urban Baby Bonnets was created by a mom who wanted to find a safe and stylish way to protect her daughter from the rays. Super cute natural and organic options keep your little one’s face shielded from sun, wind and light rain. There’s something for everyone, including little boys who want to look cute, too! Also, since the rims of the hats do not flop, they are more comfortable for the kiddos. Everything is handmade–no sweatshops, no outsourcing, just beautifully made, heirloom quality bonnets and clothes that you will love! www.urbanbabybonnets.com

Patagonia UPF Clothing
Patagonia is known for making clothes featuring sustainable materials to help to protect the environment for generations to come. They have launched many ground-breaking programsincluding their Common Threads Initiative, which focuses on helping reduce environmental footprint. Their UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing collection is a must for the outdoors because it provides built-in sun protection that won’t wear off. You’ll find snazzy styles for every member of the family. www.patagonia.com

Mountain Ocean
Mountain Ocean is a company committed to using only superior natural ingredients to make various products that are perfect before, during and after a day in a sun. The Almond Oil and Skin Trip both soothe and nourish sun-soaked skin, while the Lip Trip uses PABA-Free sunscreen and other targeted ingredients to maintain proper moisture balance while protecting your pucker. www.mountainocean.com

Vitamin E, A and C– Many people don’t realize they can help protect themselves from the sun by taking Vitamin supplements. However, according to Discovery Health, when vitamins C and E are combined they help prevent sunburn and make the effects of the sun much less severe.  Also,Vitamin A is great tool to help heal skin from  sun damage. The key is to find high-quality products that feature targeted nutrients, like these from Hanna’s Herb Shop.

Kroeger Herb Sunny E

Kroeger Herb Sunny A

Nature’s Plus Vitamin C, Lovites, Chewable (ascorbic acid)

Celebrity mom's favorite natural products

Have you ever wondered which natural products that celeb mom’s choose for themselves and their families? Check out some of the healthy products that high-profile stars love and make sure to tune in for our Celebrity Mom segment this Monday on Colorado’s Best!

 

Hank and Jojo
Hank & JoJo was formed to produce eco-friendly products that help to protect our little ones’ health as well as their futures. Their beyond cute retro tube socks are a favorite of Tori Spelling and Gwen Stefani. These amazing little kickers fit best from 3m to around 18m, but many kids can wear them up to their 2nd birthday. They are made from Bamboo with AZO-free dyes and packaged in a lead free mini tin lunch box. www.hankandjojo.com

Dr. Hauschka
Dr.Hauschka natural skin care products and holistic home remedies respect the body’s natural rhythms, working with these processes to restore balance and bring about lasting beauty. Both Jennifer Lopez and Julia Roberts are fans of the line. In fact, Jennifer Lopez said that she loves the Rose Day Cream. www.drhauschka.com

Organic Kidz
These stylish Stainless Steel Baby Bottles are an eco-friendly safe and practical alternative to plastic, aluminum and glass drinking containers. Made with babies and parents in mind, they’re easy to hold, hard to damage and dishwasher safe. Kim Porter (mom of P Diddy’s twins) Christina Millian and Tiffany Amber Thiessen are fans. www.organickidz.ca

Native Shoes
These comfy and cute shoes are vegan and manufactured through a low emissions process that produces virtually no waste. Brad and Angie’s kids Pax and Maddox have been photographed wearing them and so has the first daughter Sasha Obama! www.nativeshoes.com

Happy Baby Food
Celeb mom Demi Moore not only believes in this company, she also is an investor. This mom-owned and mom-managed company is the only kids food company to include healthy ingredients like choline and DNA for brain and eye development, prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health, and nutrient rich Salba, kale and quinoa. www.happybabyfood.com

5 Reasons to Get out and Garden and Recipe: Make Your Own Organic Garden Pest Repellent!

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

Now that the temperatures are soaring and the sun shines late into the evening hours, there is no better time to get out and garden. Read about some of the great benefits that growing your own fruits and vegetables can have for you, your family and your planet.

Top 5 Reasons to Get out and Garden

1. Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs will encourage you and your family to eat healthfully. There are few things more delicious than a freshly picked, garden grown tomato with a few leaves of backyard basil, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and some coarse sea salt. Gourmet goodness, right from your very own backyard.

2. Getting out to dig in the dirt gets you outside, in the fresh air and sunshine. A little bit of Vitamin D and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health, physical health and appearance.

3. Harvesting the foods from your garden to fill your pantry means less pollution and waste. Instead of buying your fruits and veggies from hundreds of miles away which can cost lots of resources and money, you will be practicing a more sustainable form of agriculture, contributing to a healthier environment and a more stable economy.

4. By feeding yourself and your family with the foods that you have grown yourself, you will save a ton of money! Produce can be expensive, especially organic produce, so why not save a ton of money this summer by growing your own ingredients.

5. Digging in the dirt is also a great workout. You will get some great exercise planting and working in your garden.

So now that you have plenty of reasons to get gardening, try making this easy organic garden pest repellent to protect your hard work without exposing your garden or the environment at large to harsh chemicals or toxins.

Organic Garden Pest Repellent

Ingredients: Organic Pepper Sauce, Castile Soap, Warm Water, Spray Bottle

To Make, mix 2-4 Tbsp. of hot, organic pepper sauce, with 1 tsp. of organic castile soap and fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. Shake to mix and spray on your plants every 5-7 days, depending on how often it rains.

Best delicious guacamole recipe for Memorial Day Weekend!

Rev up your celebrations by serving up this delicious guacamole dip! Your friends and family will love it!

Ingredients

  • 2 organic avocados
  • 1 tablespoon organic sour cream
  • 1/4 cup loosely diced organic cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped organic onion
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite natural salsa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Directions

Mash the avocados and stir in the sour cream until the dip reaches the desired texture. Add the cilantro, onion, salsa and salt and stir until combined. Add the lemon or lime juice last and lightly stir to prevent browning. Serve with your favorite light corn chips. We love Bearitos all natural tortilla chips! Deeeeelissssssshhhhh!

Catch us on Colorado's Best talking about healthy snack ideas!

Now that the kids are getting out of school, that means coming up with more healthy snack ideas. No worries, there are tons of natural products that make putting together a delicious and nutritious snack a breeze. Check out some of our favorites and watch our upcoming segment on Colorado’s Best TV! It’s on Channel 2 in Denver!

Snikiddy Snacks
All lines of Snikiddy Snacks are vegetarian and gluten and wheat free. No artificial colors or preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or cholesterol. Plus, the best part is that they are absolutely delicious. We especially like Eat Your Vegetables™ which are the newest snack line from Snikiddy. They contain a full serving of veggies in each ounce serving (13 chips). www.snikiddy.com

Fiona’s  Granola
Fiona’s Granola is lovingly baked in small batches using all natural ingredients such as organic grains and agave nectar. Because it is high in protein and fiber, naturally sweetened, low in fat and sugar, and contains no cholesterol, it’s a great choice for breakfast or anytime you desire a healthy energy boost! The NEW Gluten-Free Granolas are vegan, soy free, salt free, sweetened only with pure, organic agave nectar, low glycemic and made without fillers, preservatives, additives, or flavorings. www.fionasgranola.com

Noosa Yoghurt
This healthy, yummy yoghurt comes from an Aussie tradition brought to Colorado by two passionate brothers. The yoghurt features all natural ingredients and rBgh free milk (cows not treated with growth hormones) directly from  Morning Fresh Dairy, which has been family owned since 1894. www.noosayoghurt.com

Justin’s Nut Butters
This Colorado company only uses the highest quality natural and organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested and found as locally as possible to make their delicious array of nutbutters, peanut butter cups and bars. Products include classic peanut and almond butter and innovative varieties such as Chocolate Hazelnut and Maple Almond. www.justinsnutbutter.com

Oogave Soda
Finally a healthy soda option! Oogave is an organic soda sweetened only with agave nectar.  Using agave instead of cane sugar or corn syrup keeps Oogave lower calorie (100 calories per 12 oz of Oogave in comparison to 130-150 for other natural sodas) and also low glycemic (say goodbye to those sugar highs).  The soda is also caffeine free, gluten free and contains no preservatives.  Refreshing options include Watermelon Cream, Agave Cola, Strawberry Rhubarb and Ginger Ale. www.oogave.com

Are you using the healthiest and best cooking oil on Earth?

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

It is widely understood that consuming any amount of saturated fat is bad for your health. It is considered to be one of the leading causes of heart disease and is linked to many types of cancer. Saturated fat is the kind of fat that is found most commonly in animal products like meat, poultry, dairy and fish but it is also found in some nuts, seeds and beans. Recent scientific studies regarding the consumption of saturated fats have led many health professionals to offer some redemption where the consumption of certain forms are concerned.

In a recent article featured in the New York Times, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association explained the benefits of consuming coconut oil. Their claims explained that Lauric Acid, one of the components of saturated fat, is highly concentrated in coconut oil, unlike butter, for example, which is higher in Palmitic and Stearic acids and contains almost no Lauric Acid. So it can be deduced that coconut oil could be considered a healthier option to butter.

These studies seem to suggest that not all saturated fats are created equally, as we maybe once understood them to be. As a result of extensive research, scientists have been able to further explore the effects of specific saturated fats on the human body. By breaking down the different components of specific sources of saturated fats, studies have shown that Lauric Acid is actually incredibly beneficial as a supplement to a healthy immune system, helping stave off viral, bacterial and fungal infection–including the very problematic Candida. Coconut oil has one of the highest concentrations of natural Lauric Acid, surpassed only by the insurmountable levels found in a mother’s breast milk.

In addition to its health benefits, cooking with a small amount of this natural saturated fat can add immense flavor to the foods that you already love. Coconut oil can be subbed in wherever vegetable oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, shortening, olive oil or butter is called for. With its rich, exotic flavor, using coconut oil in baked goods such as cakes, cookies and breads adds depth to your favorite sweets. With a deliciously tropical taste, you can also use a little extra virgin coconut oil in the bottom of your frying pan to cook seafood, chicken, vegetables, steak and more. Of course, like any other saturated fat, coconut oil should still be used sparingly. Include it thoughtfully as a part of an already healthy menu.

Eating a healthy, well balanced diet has proven to be a confusing endeavor for so many Americans, with so many individuals at either pole in extreme eating. While it is obvious that eating a high fat diet is very unhealthy, scientists are finding more and more evidence that the extreme low fat fad diets can be just as dangerous. Fat is, indeed, an essential element of a well balanced diet, and with the right understanding of the foods that are available to us, optimal nutrition need not be an unachievable exploit.