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Ch-ch-ch changes!

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted and a number of things have changed around here! We’ve plugged along at school, added a science co-op this year, continued with our volunteering at church, and the extra curricular activities are in full swing. Our kids only do one activity each, but it still keeps us quite busy. Our food lifestyle is modified Paleo, adding in some cultured and raw dairy. Occasionally, I will make lentils or beans, and they are well-soaked in the traditional way to remove phytic acid and ease digestion. I always try to pair beans or lentils with plenty of gut-healing bone broth! Going grain-free has been a huge boost for our family and we have seen improvements in our health and moods as a result.

During my hiatus, I took online courses at Dr. Josh Axe’s Institute of Nutritional Leadership and became a Certified Nutrition Consultant & Health Coach. Dr. Axe, whom I respect tremendously, has a fantastic program, a great business sense and the gift of encouragement. One of the statements he made really hit home with this perfectionist: Ready.Fire.Aim. This means if I wait until everything is perfect or I have all my ducks exactly in a row, I will never accomplish what I want. I’m still working on letting go of my perfectionism, which is why I’m writing a blog post before updating my website.  I’m calling it progress.

During this time, I also became a Wellness Advocate with doTERRA Essential Oils. I have used essential oils for many years and am a huge advocate for plant-based medicine. I have tried the majority of brands available, so why did I choose doTERRA and why now? First, I researched the company and a few things stood out to me:

1. The oils are not cut with any synthetics and they are therapeutic grade.

2. The oils are processed using low-heat steam distillation to preserve the integrity and quality of the oil.

3. The crops are grown and harvested from their native habitat.

4. The opportunity to incorporate oils as part of my health coaching business was very appealing.

Sharing knowledge with others that will help them on a health journey is a huge passion of mine and it’s something I naturally do anyway. I’m learning everyday and absolutely love having tools to help my family and others!

Finally, the biggest change of all is that I’m pregnant! A huge surprise for sure, but a fantastic testimony of the physical and emotional healing the Lord has accomplished in my life. We are incredibly grateful, humbled and excited to welcome a new little person to our family in May 2015. I have no plans to make this a mommy blog, but I am considering writing about what I’m doing differently this pregnancy.

So what now? My to-do list is huge and includes items like re-vamping this website, looking into an Amazon store, holding local classes, learning how to do a webinar, and lots of other things. I am available for personal consults to discuss healthy changes in your lifestyle, diet, specific health concerns and essential oils. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share and help others achieve their health and wellness goals.

A chili recipe for all people

I’ve experimented for years with various chili recipes. Some had too many tomatoes, too many beans, not enough seasonings,  too greasy, too spicy, too bland … you get the idea. I finally figured out a recipe that works great for our family, fits in with our food guidelines, and is delicious. My people have asked for this chili in the middle of summer, because, clearly, we are insane. There are so many variations for this, so it’s easily adaptable for Paleo, vegetarians/vegans, low-carb, etc. I will include some of my variations, but feel free to tweak and let me know what you think. If you hate it – I apologize. More for me! :)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. coconut oil or fat of your choice

2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef (2 lbs. of leftover turkey, chicken or 45 oz. of various beans, such as black, kidney, pinto, navy, if vegetarian/vegan)

2 large onions, chopped

3 – 5 celery stalks, chopped

5 – 8 carrots, peeled & chopped

2  peppers, chopped (we prefer red peppers and maybe 1 jalapeño)

1 jar tomato paste (7 oz.)

3 – 5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 heaping Tbsp. chili powder

1 heaping Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. dried parsley

salt and pepper, to taste

1 – 2 bay leaves

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp. dried basil

6 – 8 cups homemade beef stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven or pot, melt the fat over medium heat. Don’t let it smoke. Add the onions, celery, and carrots, a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt, and sauté approximately 10 minutes; just enough to get all the water out of the vegetables. Add the peppers, another sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and continue to sauté about 5 more minutes. Once all the water has evaporated, add the protein of your choice, breaking it up, if necessary, until browned. If using leftover meat or beans, sauté just enough to thoroughly mix it into the vegetables. Add the spices, herbs, tomato paste, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, until well incorporated. Pour in the stock of your choice, and bring the heat up to a boiling point. Stir well, then reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours, continuing to stir occasionally. Taste and then adjust seasonings, if necessary. I usually have to add more salt or herbs and spices because I can’t leave a recipe alone! Serve with the toppings that follow your dietary guidelines: grated raw milk cheddar cheese, guacamole, creme fraiche, and cilantro are some of the usual options.

Vegetable variations: My favorite vegetable additions are chopped fennel or leeks, sautéed with the regular veggies, and finely chopped collard greens, spinach or kale, stirred in toward the end of cooking time. When I’ve added fennel or leeks, I’m always asked, “What is IN this?” They are delicious.

Spice variations: You can always make it hotter or milder, depending on your family’s preferences. Add jalapeño or other chile peppers for a hotter sauce, some adobo sauce to taste for increased smokiness, or more balsamic for additional umami.

*Note: some of the ingredient measurements are based on how large the vegetables or other ingredients are. If you have massive carrots, maybe you should only use 2. This is completely up to you!

Let me know how it works for your family and what variations you made!