My kids love spaghetti. It is one of the few dinners where everyone is excited and there are never any complaints. To be honest though, I really don’t have time to make my own sauce. Would it be healthier if I made my own? For sure! Will that ever happen? Unlikely! Sometimes we have to make compromises that result in healthier options for everyone.
My sauce is loaded with vegetables. There is loads of colour in there that everyone happily eats. Then I add a couple jars of Macro organic pasta sauce. It contains all real ingredients with no chemicals. I can read every single word in the ingredients list! I’m sure I could make this slightly healthier myself with a bit less sugar, but there really isn’t much in this sauce and given that everyone happily eats a couple servings of vegetables for dinner, I consider this a win.
To make it even healthier you could use zucchini noodles instead of pasta. I haven’t personally tried this, but others say it is great.
Making home-made dinners doesn’t always have to be hard and time consuming. Some store-bought sauces contain all-natural ingredients and will ensure that everyone is getting the benefits of super nutritious vegetables. If this is something that is holding you back from making home-made dinners, don’t stress. Buy some sauce and mix it with a load of vegetables. You are definitely winning.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large clove garlic (cut fine)
½ large onion
2 large carrots
1 large zucchini
1 head of broccoli
1 red capsicum (pepper)
500g Organic beef mince (ground beef)
2 jars Macro organic tomato, garlic and basil chunky pasta sauce
- Cut up the vegetables to bite sized pieces
- Put the coconut oil in the pan with the vegetables and cook for a few minutes
- Add the beef and cook until meat is browned, and the vegetables are cooked through
- Add the sauce and heat until warmed through
- Put over wheat spaghetti or zucchini pasta as desired
*These are my preferred vegetables, but really any will do. Just load it up with lots of colour.
My daughter loves to eat this for breakfast but it can be used as a treat during the day as well. Chia seeds are mostly known for their great omega-3 content, but they also contain protein, fibre, iron and calcium. This recipe is sweet but contains no sugar. So enjoy!
½ cup chia seeds
¾ cup coconut cream
1 ¼ cups Lyke Milk (or other milk alternative such as almond, oat or macadamia)
Mix together all the ingredients and stir for about 30 seconds to make sure the chia seeds are mixed around. If you don’t mix right away, then they clump together and don’t soak up the liquid. Leave in a sealed container overnight on the counter or in the fridge (definitely the fridge if you have used cow milk).
In the morning, it can be eaten as is or mixed with berries or muesli. We like to make a chocolate version by adding:
1/3 cup cacao powder
1-2 ripe bananas mashed well
Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
I make this recipe dairy free, but you could use cow’s milk if you wish.
Let me know what you mix with your chia pudding in the comments!
It seems like everyday there is more research coming out about the importance of Vitamin D. With it’s influence on our immune system, now is an important time to make sure you have sufficient Vitamin D levels.
How do we make vitamin D?
Sunshine is how we make vitamin D. When you are exposed to UVB rays, our bodies make cholecalciferol (D3) from cholesterol in our skin. It is then converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the liver. This is what is measured in a vitamin D blood test. From here it gets converted to its active form, calcitriol, either in the kidneys or by the immune system and then released into circulation for the body to use.
Sunscreen blocks UV light, so if you are conscientious about applying it, you may not be making enough vitamin D in your body. In the winter months, even in Australia, the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky resulting in less UV rays getting to us. So even in Australia many people are vitamin D deficient.
What happens if we don’t get enough vitamin D?
We need vitamin D to absorb calcium from our diet. So if we don’t get enough the body takes calcium out of the bones to use for muscle and nerve functioning as well as blood clotting. This can result in softening of the bones called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
We have known that vitamin D was important for bone health for many years, but only recently have we realised that it affects other parts of the body as well. We need it for a proper functioning immune system so that we can effectively fight off infections. Vitamin D also decreases inflammation and low levels have a particular effect on the symptoms of asthma and arthritis. Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
How do we get enough vitamin D?
Ideally we get it from the sun as this is the most effective way. But we still want to be careful of getting burned. Depending on your location and the time of year, it is generally recommended to get outside before 10am or after 4pm for about 20mins with as much skin showing as possible. Although winters in Australia are far from cold and snowy in most parts, we still don’t get much sunshine with shorter days and the sun being low in the sky. My family doesn’t wear any sunscreen in the winter.
Some people may need to take a supplement. If you have darker skin you won’t make vitamin D as efficiently. Also menopausal women may need to supplement due to hormonal changes. Anyone who diligently wears sunscreen or covers most of his or her skin with clothing should also consider a supplement. The American paediatric association also recommends supplementing infants. Breastfed infants are most likely deficient because their mothers are deficient and they are rarely left out in the sun.
So try to get outside everyday if possible. This is especially important with winter coming along as our days get shorter. And if you think you may be deficient, talk to your naturopath about getting it tested.
1 1/2 cups quick or rolled oats (120g)
1 cup puffed rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sunflower butter (can use almond or peanut butter if not taking to school)
1/2 cup raw agave or honey
2/3 cup protein powder – have fun with different flavours (70g). I use plain pea protein
1/4 dark chocolate chips, sultanas or dried cranberries (optional)
Stir all ingredients together until well-mixed.
Transfer the mixture to a 9×14 pan lined with parchment or wax paper. (For thicker bars, you can use an 8×8 pan.)
Place another sheet of parchment or wax over the top and continue to smush down and spread until it fills the bottom of the pan.
Freeze until hard, then cut into bars.
For optimum freshness, store leftover bars in the freezer for up to a month.
And then Enjoy!
Need an easy, effective, low-cost treatment for what ails you? Read on.
When I was 34 weeks pregnant with number 3, I had a cough. I wasn’t sick and it wasn’t a really bad cough. If I hadn’t been pregnant it probably wouldn’t have bothered me that much. But I was pregnant. So it did bother me. As anyone who has been pregnant, especially multiple times, can attest, things are hard to hold when you have a cough.
So I tried everything. Well I tried lots of stuff, but most things, both medical and natural, are off limits while you are pregnant so my options were limited. Then I remembered warming socks (I was pregnant with my third child so my brain was a bit slow).
Warming socks are effective in treating head, chest and sinus congestion as well as coughs and bronchitis. They are a great treatment for sleep issues including insomnia, snoring, and night sweats. They can also be used for earaches, sore throats, and to help break a fever in a child. Warming socks can also help to treat and prevent headaches and migraines. For acute concerns, symptoms usually clear in 2 to 3 nights. For more chronic conditions, it can take a few weeks to help resolve symptoms.
Warming socks work by boosting your immune system and increasing circulation as your body has to rally itself to warm your feet. This gives your body the push it needs to fight off whatever is bothering you. Check our my blog article on Colds and Flus for more treatment options.
Warming socks are a safe treatment for the whole family and can be used as often as needed. They cost nothing and have no side effects.
So what does this treatment involve you ask? This is going to sound a bit uncomfortable, but trust me it works.
What you will need:
- 1 pair of thin cotton socks
- 1 pair of thick wool or polypropylene socks
- Place your feet either in a bucket of warm water or under the shower for 5-10 minutes. The water should be as warm as you can make it without burning yourself.
- Get the cotton socks wet with cold water. If you don’t have cold tap water, fill a bowl with some ice water and dip the socks in there.
- Ring out the socks as best you can.
- Put the cotton socks on your feet.
- Put the wool socks on over the cotton socks.
- Go to bed.
When you wake up the socks will be dry. Do this for at least 3 nights in a row for acute conditions such as coughs, congestion or fever and for 5 weeks for more chronic conditions such as insomnia or poor circulation. For most children, you don’t need to warm their feet before putting the socks on as they still have great circulation. I put the socks on my little people after they have fallen asleep so I don’t have to listen to any whining and everyone sleeps better.
Warming socks may sound a bit uncomfortable, but just trust me and give them a try. You will thank me in the morning. If you have any questions about warming socks and how versatile they are, talk to your local naturopath.