Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Kid-Friendly, Dairy-free, Gluten-free)

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I am a big fan of Indian food and spice for that matter. However, my kids aren’t big fans of spice and that’s a problem for me sometimes, since we all eat the same meal as eachother around here.

Luckily, Chicken Tikka Masala is a very mild dish and I made this version even more mild for all kiddies at the table. If you’ve never had Tikka Masala, its a tomato-based creamy buttery dish and it’s a really great dish to introduce children to Indian cuisine since its so mild. Also, I love that the parts of it can be deconstructed into different compartments for kids. We put the rice in one area, the chicken in one area and the sauce in another for dipping.

Another selling point for this meal is that it is ready in legitimately 20-30 minutes from start to finish so its a great call for busy mom’s like me!

If there is one piece of advice I would give for busy working moms who are trying to eat healthy, it would be to GET an INSTANTPOT!! It will save your life and your sanity. Dinner in 15 mnutes, what could be better for a busy working mom?! Plus they are on sale right now on amazon for $69.95 so what are you waiting for??

You can make this dish in the crockpot or the Instant pot and it is so good and so simple! Great for making ahead of time for left overs throughout the work week as well.

I paired it with some white rice with basil and parsley and some broccoli and it was perfect!

Here’s how to make it.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the chicken + sauce:

  • 2 packs organic chicken thighs

  • The cream top from 1 organic full fat coconut milk

  • 2 cloves garlic (shredded)

  • 1 thumb of ginger (peeled and shredded)

  • 1 + 1/4 6 oz cans of tomato paste

  • 1 yellow onion diced

  • 1.5 tbsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 2 tbsp ghee (this is the brand I use)

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (to saute)

  • salt and pepper to taste

For the rice:

  • 1 cup white rice

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1 tbsp chopped basil

  • 2 tbsp extra olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the rice ahead of time. Add the herbs and oil right on top. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  2. In the instant pot, add the coconut oil and turn on the saute feature. Once heated, add the chicken and saute for 5-7 minutes. Then add the onions, garlic and ginger and saute for a few minutes together with the chicken (about 3 minutes)

  3. Turn the saute feature off. Add all the remaining ingredients (the coconut cream, the tomato paste, the ghee and all the seasonings) for the chicken and combine well. Turn on the pressure cook setting for 15 minutes and seal the instant pot.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, steam your broccoli for 10-15 minutes or until slightly tender.

  5. When chicken is finished, serve it over the rice with some broccoli and enjoy!

Made with love,

-Ashley

Chocolate Chia Sunflower Seed Cups - the healthier version of Peanut Butter Cups (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

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Is it a crime that all I want to do for Mother’s Day is to sit alone in silence and horde all my chocolate peanut butter cups?? I’m sort of jk but not really.  We had a fun adventurous day at the beach and farmers market yesterday and now all I want to do is eat, rest, and do absolutely nothing.

if only doing nothing was an option as a mom.  Dang. 

Anyhow, if you watched my on my IG stories make a blooper in flip flopping the recipe ingredients for these bad boys, you can see now why I needed to update the recipe for them ASAP. Pouring the chocolate first and then adding in the seed butter layer made them EVEN MORE DELICIOUS than before and I didn’t think that was possible.

These are seriously the bomb- not only do they taste exactly like your favorite childhood Halloween candy but they are pumped full of nutrition and antioxidant power too.  Oh, did I mention they’re only made with 5 ingredients?

They’re so healthy you won’t mind feeding them to the kiddos too (if you’re willing to share.)

Here’s how to make these new and improved delicious chocolate treats:

I used these awesome reusable silicone cupcake liners to make these guys.  They also double as lunch-box food dividers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 dark chocolate candy bars, chopped into smaller chunks (I look for 70% or more cacao and these Alter Eco chocolate bars are my favorite organic brand)

  • 2 tbsp organic coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (alternatively you could use peanut butter or almond butter)

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 2-3 tbsp agave, depending on desired sweetness level

  • 1 scoop of collagen hydrolysate (this is my favorite brand) - this step is also optional but just adds some extra protein

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Instructions:

  1. Line a muffin tin with the silicone cupcake liners. (if you don’t have them, you can use parchment paper liners or coat the pan with oil but they won’t be as easy to remove)

  2. In a stainless steel pot, melt 2 tbsp coconut oil over medium low heat. Add in the chocolate bar chunks and stir with a whisk or fork until it turns into a thin consistency.

  3. Pour the chocolate + oil mixture evenly into each muffin tin.

  4. Sprinkle the chia seeds on top.

  5. Clean the steel pot and add the remaining tbsp of coconut oil to pan over low heat.

  6. In the pot - mix together agave, sunflower butter and collagen until its slightly thin.

  7. Pour 1 heaping tsp of the sunflower butter mixture to each chocolate muffin tin, right in the center. Swirl the tops of them with the back of a spoon and sprinkle any remaining chia seeds on top.

  8. Place in freezer for about 3 hours or until fully frozen.




    Enjoy!!

    -Ashley


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Bbq Chicken Pizza on Cauliflower Crust (Gluten-free)


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Barbecue chicken pizza brings me back to my childhood years, when I was young and spry enough to down about 5-6 pieces of this glorious thing without batting an eye.

You guys know by now I am all about making healthy pizza’s so of course I had to re-create this childhood favorite. Lately I’ve been all about time saving, so this simple pre-made crust has been making my life a whole heck of a lot easier.

If you are a huge fan of BBQ chicken pizza like me, I know you will be hooked on this seriously EASY and healthy weeknight favorite.

I will save the recipe for how to make homemade cauliflower crust for another day. This recipe is all about time saving, healthy-goodness for busy moms like me.

I’m talking about the kind of crust you buy in the freezer section, except made of veggie goodness!

My absolute favorite frozen cauliflower crust brand, Caulipower, made with all wholesome ingredients. You guys know I am the queen of label checking when it comes to pre-packaged products. Caulipower’s ingredient list is so clean it will make any foodies head spin! You can check out their list of ingredients here.

I’ve posted about this crust before but I really love it. Throw on your favorite toppings, bake for 15 minutes and dinner will be good to go!

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Here’s how to make this ridiculously easy weeknight treat. It’s so fun to make with kids too!

Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pack of frozen cauliflower pizza crusts
1 pack of chicken thighs (cooked and chopped)
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 medium red onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the chicken ahead of time. In Instant pot, cook chicken thighs for 15 minutes on pressure cook setting (adding water at the bottom) Alternatively, you can use store-bought rotisserie chicken. Chop into 1/2 inch squares.

  2. When you’re ready to bake your pizza, set oven to 425.

  3. Spread about 1/2 of the bbq sauce on the pizza crusts.

  4. In a bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 of the bbq sauce with the chopped chicken.

  5. Layer the pizza in this order: first the bbq sauce, then the chicken/bbq mixture, then the cheese, the onions, then cilantro

  6. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a pizza stone), place the pizzas in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the crust begins to slightly brown.

Made with Love,

-Ashley

8 Simple Steps to Detox the Liver

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My Healing Journey

At the height of my health challenges this past year, I was suffering from a debilitating case of insomnia and its evil counterpart, anxiety, which negatively impacted pretty much every area of my life. I just had stopped breastfeeding my daughter (for two years) and I just knew deep down something was majorly wrong. My hair was falling out in chunks, I had night sweats, I had lots about 15 lbs, lost my appetite, I had acne all over my face and I would go for 4-5 days in a row without being able to sleep for one single hour.

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But despite my ridiculous symptoms, no doctor seemed to be able to help me or point me in the right direction.  I took every drug known to man (natural and pharmaceutical) to help me sleep and went to just about every type of doctor you could imagine that might be able to help me get a restful nights sleep to no avail.  No doctor was giving me the answers I needed.  I felt hopeless.  I was a tired, frustrated zombie.  The longer I went without sleep, the more my anxiety would rise and it became a viscous downward cycle.  I became depressed and angry about everyone’s lack of answers about why the heck I couldn’t sleep. 

It wasn’t until I stopped playing the role of the victim and started to take charge over my health and healing and regain control over my thoughts that things began to change for the better.

In the end, though no doctor was able to be my saving grace and no drug proved to be my fix-all, by the Lords’ goodness, I managed to make it out of my pit of despair (what I lovingly call it now to my kids) and talk to all of you on the other side of this about how the heck I managed to get out of the awful mess that is insomnia

The insane amount of tests, pricks and physicians appointments I underwent during that time finally gave me some useful information to go off of  - I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (a  sluggishnish of the thryoid gland, which is especially common during the post partum period), and a possible autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid gland. 

Knowing what I know now, insomnia occurs for a physiological reason.  Toxicity, hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, stress and thyroid dysfunction are all common culprits and they all feed off of one another.  Since the thryoid gland is the master regulator of the hormones in the body, it was no wonder I was having night sweats and excessive hair loss (a common sign of hormonal imbalances).  I also tested high in some heavy metals, which raised a red flag that my body needed to detox.

It was not by chance that I was handed Kelly Brogan’s gift of a book, A Mind of Your Own, right in the middle of some of my most desperate hours.  Kelly Brogan is a clinical psychiatrist who treats women suffering from insomnia, depression and anxiety strictly through diet, optimizing thyroid function, addressing adrenal fatigue, fixing the gut and naturally balancing the hormones.  Her protocol for healthy sleep and hormones involves detoxification, diet and nourishing the hormones, adrenals and thyroid.

In her book, I learned how gut health affects the function of the thyroid.  And the adrenals affect the function of the thyroids production of and balance of hormones.  I learned how a toxic liver can be a precursor to poor gut health, poor thyroid function and wacky hormones.  It finally all made sense to me.

I hoped and prayed that the protocol in her book would be the answer to all my prayers.  With her help, I sort of became my own doctor and began addressing each issue one by one.  I decided to start her protocol religiously as a last ditch effort (through a grain free, dairy free diet and supplements to heal the gut while nourishing the thryoid gland and adrenals) for 30 days, no looking back. 

And finally, after not sleeping for over 8 months, I began to sleep through the night on day 4 of her protocol and began my slow journey into feeling like myself again.  My hair slowly started to grow, I started gaining weight again, my skin started clearing up and I felt clarity and calm in my mind in the first time in forever.

I won’t lie that prayer and a whole lot of faith, in combination with a ton of internal work I had to do on learning how to control my thoughts to combat my anxious mind, played a huge role in this entire healing process.

So as I look back on my year of healing, I want to firstly emphasize the mental and spiritual aspect of all of this.  That before I could actually heal, I had to firstly believe that I could heal and stop partnering with this fearful mindset of thinking I couldn’t ever get better.  The mind is a powerful place.  And if we partner with fear and panic over physical symptoms for too long, we can become overwhelmed by them and lose faith in the beautiful design of our bodies, that knows instinctively how to heal itself in the right environment.

I decided to partner with peace and healing and this was a crucial step to my healing journey.

When I realized I needed I needed to detox

After months of reading and researching gut health, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue and thyroid related disorders, I became to quickly realize that the first thing I needed to address is the state of my liver.  After living on this earth for 33 years, as toxic as our environment and our food and water systems are, it was more than time to start getting rid of my congested liver, in order to properly heal all the other areas.

Gut infections and parasites within the gut can often hide within toxic environments both in the gut and in the liver.  A toxic or congested liver is not only a pre-curser to developing all sorts of cancers and hormonal imbalances but it also can manifest in symptoms of anger, anxiety, depression, etc.

I was also surprised to learn how an overburdened liver can manifest in leaky gut syndrome, which can negatively impact thyroid health and lead to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

So in part 1 of this series, I will talk about how I detoxed my liver, and in the follow up articles, I’ll write more specifically about adrenal fatigue, gut healing, thyroid health and hormone balancing.

Signs of a Sluggish Liver

To begin, lets just take a look at a few common symptoms of an overburdened or sluggish liver:

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  • Acne

  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • Exhaustion or chronically tired

  • Brain fog or inability to focus

  • Inability to handle stimulants or depressants like alcohol or caffeine

  • Emotional outbursts

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Allergies or an inability to handle toxins in the environment (cleaning supplies or perfumes)

Tips to do an effective and safe liver cleanse:

If you’re serious about detoxing your liver, I recommend you stick with a detox plan for anywhere from 2-4 weeks.  Personally,  I followed these steps for 4 weeks and felt convinced I needed to continue, so I did it a second time again for another two weeks. Feel free to follow it for less or more time, depending on your individual needs and always consult a physician before starting any regimen.

The first thing I want to point out about starting a safe and effective liver cleanse is to be careful and to go SLOW.  Find a holistic practitioner who understands liver detoxification (this can be hard to do, since most western medical doctors like to pretend the body’s organs are all on their own islands and don’t work together synergistically and many don’t even recognize the gut-brain connection.)

Detoxifying your liver can actually be dangerous if your organs start to purge and release these stored toxins too fast and without the proper toxin binders (like chlorella or activated charcoal.)  Forceful detoxification methods may lead to potentially serious consequences.  There is something called a herxheimer reaction, or a detox reaction, which happens naturally during any detox but can be extreme in some cases.  What happens is that the liver begins to release these toxins but they often end up being redistributed right back into other areas of the body and in the brain.  You can actually end up in the ER if you go too fast.  Take my advice and move slow and always take a binder.  I personally experienced crazy herxheimer reactions the first time I began to detox (when I went too fast/forceful).  I experienced migraines, overwhelming fatigue, swollen lymph nodes as if I had strep throat, weird seizure-like activity and nausea. 

A detox reaction is not a sign that you should give up, it is a sign that your body is detoxifying (the lymph, stool and urine carries the toxins out of your body).  It is, however, a sign that you may need to go more slowly and take the right toxin binders.

Also note that intense detoxes are not safe for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women.

Steps I took to cleanse my liver:

  1. Eliminating (for at least 2-3 weeks) gluten, conventional dairy, caffeine, alcohol and non-organic food.  The biggest and first thing you need to do is to simply commit to detoxing for a set amount of time and dedicate yourself 100 %.  Personally, I set aside one whole month for detoxing and eating very clean, but I was in quite a dire situation.  Gluten and conventional dairy are the biggest culprits in leaky-gut and inflammatory bowel disease so they were the very first I knew had to go.  Other things to consider avoiding during this time period is all alcohol and caffeine (which can negatively impact liver purging).

  2. Focusing on eating a plate full of fruits and veggies with plenty of healthy fat and protein sources

    Whether you’re vegan or paleo, or whichever category your diet falls under, we all need to focus on eating a variety of plant foods and balance them out with healthy fat sources (olives, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, sardines, avocados, etc) and healthy protein sources (nuts, seeds, healthy organic pasture raised protein sources, organic liver is a great source of protein and nutrition for detoxification as it includes many key nutrients of both phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways).

    When detoxing, if you don't have a clear set plan of what you can actually eat, many people don’t eat enough.  Not eating enough is counterproductive, even in a detox period, as you to be nourishing and replenishing the body and the organs so that they can perform their proper functions. 

    Have a plan or protocol.  Have guidelines and recipes to use to nourish your body.  I highly recommend Kelly Brogans 30 Day Reset program (this has so many great recipes.)

    Helpful herbs to add in: cilantro, dandelion root, ginger, lemon, turmeric and milk thistle are some of my favorite liver friendly herbs.

  3. Reduce your Daily Toxic Load Exposure: 

    This is huge!  We live in a very toxic world.  We are exposed to toxins and chemicals in our water, in our food system, through our skin with personal care products, etc every single day.  During a liver detox, it is absolutely essential to rid yourselves of the toxins that clogged up your liver in the first place.  I started by replacing all of my makeup, lotions and investing in a high quality water filtration system.  Buying organic food significantly reduces your daily toxic exposure load.

    The Aquatru water filtration system was a key part of my healing journey.  It has a reverse osmosis system that even filters out chlorine and fluoride (most filters do not).  Fluoride is extremely toxic to the organs as well as the brain and it disrupts the function of the thyroid gland.


    Here are a few other extremely common toxins that occur everyday in our world: 
    -Xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body) Xenoestrogens are contained in a variety of self-care, beauty and cleaning supply products as well as in our food.  The biggest danger is that these estrogen-mimicking chemicals contribute to a rise in estrogen dominance, which is a pre-curser to breast cancer.  Xenoestrogens include BPA, GMO soy, phthalates and parabens.  Dump your toxic make-up brands and look for non-toxic labels.

    -Heavy Metals are found in foods, personal care products, supplements, cookware/utensils and vaccines.  Some common offenders are lead, cadmium, mercury, barium and arsenic.

    -Halogens including bromide, chloride, fluoride all mimic iodine in the body and therefore, take up receptor sites for iodine on the thyroid gland, disrupting thyroid function.  These halogens are heavy in water and food products, making buying organic even more important.

  4. Add in these healing foods any way you can

    Focus on consuming a lot of fresh smoothies and juices and salads with an array of healing plant foods. Try to work in at least a few fresh juices and smoothies every week.  If you can, try to start each day off with a fresh juice with all of these healing foods.

    Here’s what a sample day menu looked like on my detox:

    Breakfast: I started my day with a fresh juice or my go-to smoothie of wild blueberries, a greens powder, collagen, coconut oil, banana, cilantro, nut butter/avocado and coconut water.  I add in lots of healthy fat sources to keep my body fueled and my blood sugar stable.
    Lunch: Arugala salad with avocado, kalamata olives, onions, sardines, sunflower seeds and an olive oil based salad dressing.  Pastured eggs are great to add in too, because they contain choline, which is a co-factor of detox.
    Dinner: Lots of veggies with a protein of choice.  Veggie soups and bone broths are very healing as well to incorporate.  Quinoa is a safe gluten-free, detox friendly grain.
    Snacks: veggies, fruit, nuts, hot lemon water and a hot dandelion tea with honey.
    Juices to add in: Celery juice, my detox juice (ginger, apple, carrot, celery, lemon) fresh carrot juice

    Healing foods to add: Cilantro, celery, arugula, papaya, pineapple, wild blueberries, beets, carrots, turmeric, ginger, apples, lemons, etc.  Dandelion tea and hot lemon and ginger water are great add ins as well.

  5. Take liver supporting herbs to support all the pathways for detoxification (phase 1 and phase 2)

    The liver expels toxins via two different pathways - first through phase 1 (which is more complicated) and then through phase 2 (through the urine, bile and stool).  Phase 1 and phase 2 pathways require different vitamins and nutrients.  It is essential during any detoxification period that the body has all of the essential nutrients to help the toxins to exit the system along each pathway properly.  If a toxin is expelled and makes it out of the phase 1 pathway, but doesn’t make it through the phase 2 pathway, it will likely get recycled back into the system instead of exiting through the urine or stool.

    Phase 1 detoxification pathway requires: B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12, folate, glutathione & flavanoids
    Phase 2 detoxification pathway requires: Methionine, cysteine, glutathione, magensium, B12, B5, Vit C, glycine, taurine, glutamine, folate, and choline

    My favorite liver detox herbal capsules are made by Dr. Jess and you can find them on her website here and liver pills provide many of the additional detoxification nutrients.

    The best herbal support for detoxification is milk thistle, since this herb naturally boosts glutathione levels, which is involved in both phase 1 and phase 2 of detox.

    Other extremely helpful supplements to take during any detox period are both N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and glutathione.  NAC is a wonderful supplement because it turns into glutathione, which aides both detox pathways AND it helps to heal intestinal permeability.

    These supplements are great to take daily to support the natural detoxification process but they are especially beneficial if you are going on a specific detox protocol

  6. Make sure to take a binder to help to bind and eliminate toxic heavy metals that emerge from the liver. 


    To put it simply, binders help to capture and eliminate the metals and toxins that are being expelled during the liver cleanse.  My favorite heavy metal binder is chlorella but I’ve heard many people use activated charcoal or bentanite clay.  The downfall with activated charcoal is that it can also bind to important vitamins and minerals and essential pull those nutrients from the body as well.  I feel personally, chlorella is a bit more gentle but also very effective.


    Here is the brand of organic chlorella that I use and trust.

  7. Sweat every day

    Sweating is the one of the bodies most effective and most natural methods to detox or rid the body of toxins.  This is so important!  Make yourself exercise for at least 20 minutes or until you get a nice sweat going every day if you can.  Saunas work well for this too.  I personally, worked out in my garage or my home gym and intentionally left the AC off to sweat out more toxins.

  8. Look into the science behind coffee enemas

    Well, I truly never thought I would see the day when I was talking about coffee enemas openly on the internet (my husband will likely die of embarrassment).  While I’d honestly love to leave out this “dirty” little detail from my healing journey, I would never feel right about omitting it, since it was such a key element to my healing process.  If it even helps just one person feel better, its worth the temporary embarrassment in the short term.

    Coffee enemas are known for supporting the liver in detoxification by means of increasing the production of bile.  They help the liver to purge toxic heavy metals that are clogging it up and they also help to clean out the digestive tract of undigested foods, biofilm, gut pathogens and parasites.

    Do your own research and decide if this is best for you.  I personally have never felt better than when I was doing these.  I felt an immediate improvement in my energy levels and I felt clear headed for the first time in my life.  For me, coffee enemas worked wonders and I truly feel they were necessary.  I did about 2-3 enemas a week.  Here is some great information about this practice here.

    Tips for safer coffee enemas: drink plenty of fluids beforehand.  Take your binder with lots of water and a teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil (atleast 30 minutes before) to help bind the metals that are expelled.  Replace your electrolytes with plenty of coconut water and fluids.

    Here is the coffee enema kit that I use and trust.
    Here is the organic enema coffee I use and trust.

Supplements, Supports + Herbs I love for Liver Detox:

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link.  If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission.  The commission is paid by third parties, not by you.  I only recommend products that I genuinely love.  Thank you for your support!   

-Happy healing, Ashley

Healthy Gluten-free Peach Cobbler (Gluten + Dairy free)

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link.  If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission.  The commission is paid by third parties, not by you.  I only recommend products that I genuinely love.  Thank you for your support! 

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I love teaching my kids that sweets don’t necessarily have to be vilified as the bad guys but they sweets can be both delicious and healthy too!

This Gluten-free Peach Cobbler can double as both dessert and breakfast the next day because it’s that healthy)

We had a bunch of tiny peaches from our surprise peach tree (true story - we didn’t know it was a peach tree until they started falling ) so we turned it into this yummy dish right here!

Here’s how to make it!


Ingredients:

Peach layer:

2 cups peaches
1/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup agave


Crust layer:

1 1/2 cup gluten-free oats (we use Bob’s Red Mill quick-cooking gluten free oats)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp agave
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Optional: splash of vanilla


Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Heat all the peach layer ingredients in a stainless steel pot over medium low heat for about 5 minutes- stir and combine well.

  3. Layer a ceramic baking dish with the peach layer.

  4. Combine all the crust ingredients well and then sprinkle them on top.

  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust begins to turn slightly brown.

-Ashley

Chocolate Avocado Mousse (Dairy-free, Vegan)

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If you’re anything like me and you are a huge fan of chocolate pudding or mousse, this little guy has got your name written all over it. I’m literally sitting on my couch eating it right now thinking why didn’t I think of this sooner!?! Midday chocolate is essential in my household.

You wouldn’t believe it if I told you it was made with all wholesome ingredients and you could eat it until your heart was content without feeling the least bit guilty!

Made with organic cacao and lots of avocados to round out the blood sugar spikes with some health fat (fat helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels) you really can’t go wrong with this easy and delicious weeknight treat.

Here are the details on how to make it. It only takes 5 minutes!!

**Affiliate links below.

Ingredients:

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  • 2 semi-soft hass avocados

  • 1/3 cup organic cacao (this is the brand I am loving lately)

  • 1/3 cup agave + honey mix

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 cup water or coconut milk

  • optional: a scoop of collagen peptides

Instructions:

  1. Add the liquid to the bottom of a high speed blender or food processor first.

  2. Then add in all of your other ingredients.

  3. Combine on medium to high speed until you reach a pudding consistency.

  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

-Made with love, Ashley

If you make this kitchen favorite of mine, comment below and tell me what you think!

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link.  If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission.  The commission is paid by third parties, not by you.  I only recommend products that I genuinely love.  Thank you for your support! 

Thai Style Chicken Vegetable Curry (Gluten-free, Dairy free, Paleo)

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If I had to pick one of my favorite moments of all time, I might just have to choose the time I went to Chaing Mai Thailand with just me and my hubs (pre having kids) and got to spend all day with a Thai chef, learning how to cook Thai food.

Seriously a foodies dream come true.

We got to first shop for fresh produce (including a visit to a local stand that made fresh coconut milk right before our eyes) and then got to cook three traditional Thai dishes from start to finish.  The best part was getting to eat them afterwards.

Red curry was always a favorite of mine but it became extra special after this moment.  As soon as I got home from our trip, I started to recreated this traditional Thai dish in my own kitchen and I haven’t stopped since.

My husband and I are both obsessed with this meal, and my two year old daughter gobbles it up too.  My son - not so much a big fan of spice.  It can be tricky trying to enjoy different types of foods with kids who are learning to appreciate different textures and flavors. I shared the other day on Instagram about how kids need to feel comfortable with foods solo before they will like them/accept them as a mix with lots of other foods.

This applies to casseroles, lasagna, soups, rice bowls, etc (anything with suspicious unknowns in the mix)

So when I serve it to my kids I take into consideration whose eating it and which one of my kids would be less intimidated if I separated the foods out into individual compartments aka deconstructing the meal.

Here’s how I serve it two ways to my two year old and my five year old.

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Anyways, I want to get right down to business and share one of my all time favorite meals with you all because I love you, that’s why. 

Im guessing you are a fan of spice like me if you decided to read this far but in all reality, this dish isn’t super super spicy.  “Medium spice” I would call it.

And of course, you can always kick it up (or down) a notch just by adding more or less curry paste.

Here’s how I make it.

Serves: 6-8 people
Cooking Time: 1 hour
*Affiliate links below

Ingredients:

  • 2 packs organic chicken thighs (skin and bone removed)

  • 2 cans organic full fat coconut milk

  • 1 + 1/2 jar of Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste

  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 pack of portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped

  • 1 pack frozen broccoli & 1 pack frozen cauliflower (alternatively you can use 1 larger bag of frozen mixed veggies)

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen pineapple

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 32-oz container of chicken broth (I like this free-range brand by Pacific Foods)

  • 2-3 tsp curry powder

  • 2 tsp onion powder

  • 2 tbsp agave

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup rice or quinoa to serve over

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your rice or quinoa ahead of time so that when the curry is ready, you can pour it over.

  2. In a large stainless steel or ceramic pot, bring coconut oil to medium heat.  Add the chicken thighs and par cook them each, about 3 minutes, flipping to brown each side a bit.  Remove chicken onto a cutting board.

  3. In the remaining oil (you can add a bit more if the pot is lacking) add the onions first and then the mushrooms and cook until they are soft (about 7 minutes).  While the onions and mushrooms cook, go ahead and cut your chicken thighs into about 1 + 1/2 inch strips.

  4. Remove onto a separate plate.

  5. In the pot, add 1 full jar + 1/2 of another jar of the red curry paste (or more or less depending on how spicy you want it to be) plus the white fatty part of the coconut milk over medium heat.  Stir the coconut fat and the curry paste together while it heats up and begins to combine together.

  6. Once it combines, you can pour the rest of the coconut milk into the pot and bring to a medium heat.

  7. At this time, add the chicken broth, the onions and mushrooms, the veggies and the chicken.  You can add the salt and pepper, onion powder, agave and curry powder at this time too.  It will take some time to bring to a boil. Stir well.

  8. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid.  Cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes.  Add the pineapple chunks to top it off.

  9. It tastes best when it is allowed to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serve over your favorite rice or grain.

-Made with love, Ashley

If you make this kitchen favorite of mine, comment below and tell me what you think!

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link.  If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission.  The commission is paid by third parties, not by you.  I only recommend products that I genuinely love.  Thank you for your support! 

The Importance of Making a Mess

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As a mom of two kids under the age of five, I know first-hand how mess making during mealtime can really drive a type-A mama like myself to the brink of insanity.  (Over and over again, every day.)  But as a pediatric occupational therapist, who specializes in sensory related feeding issues and picky eating, I also know that the benefits of letting my kids get messy when they eat, far outweigh the downfalls of messy mealtimes.

I’ve seen firsthand how many type-A moms like myself, delay letting their little ones self-feed during the food-introduction period, to avoid the mess.  The problem with delaying self-feeding and not allowing babies to explore foods with their hands is that it can, in some instances, lead to an interference with normal feeding patterns and can contribute to more selective eating patterns in the long run.

There are many ways that delayed self-feeding can contribute to the development of normal feeding and interfere with the development of oral motor skills (the skills that help the mouth, tongue, lips and cheeks work in a coordinated way to mash up and swallow food).

Babies Learn through Touch

It might be helpful to first take a look at how babies learn about the world around them within the first year of life.  Babies are naturally driven by their tactile sense and explore the world around them with their sense of touch.  They touch, feel and explore objects within their reach by bringing items that they’ve discovered to their mouths.  This helps them to understand more about their environment.

The fingertips and the lips and tongue just so happen to house more sensory receptors (cells that receive tactile or touch information to the brain to help us to understand what it is and what it feels like) than any other region in the entire human body.

Babies learn about accepting new textures in this very specific order of touch: first their hands, then their mouth (we call this proximal to distal sensory acceptance in the therapy world.) That is just the progression of tactile sensory exploration, the way that babies learn about the world around them.  Babies (and toddlers too) need to be allowed the opportunity to touch, feel and smell their foods in order to determine if they are willing to try it with their mouths.

I think if we understand that concept, we can appreciate why babies are constantly chewing on and mouthing everything they can possibly get their hands on.  I think we will also understand, then, why it is important to let babies explore different food textures with their hands and mouths.

Babies Naturally Crave Autonomy

Another important characteristic of babies is that they are naturally driven by a need for autonomy and independence (meaning they want to figure out how things work on their own).  This can describe why sometimes a toddlers very first words are often “no,” “myself” or “me” or “mine.”  Sure, some babies are more passive than others, but for the most part, kids want to do things for themselves.  This is especially important during the critical food introduction period, in my eyes.

It is important to let babies explore foods on their own terms, when they are ready and to not encroach on this innate drive for feeding autonomy.   This matters because feeding autonomy can set a framework for both 1) developing a healthy relationship with food and b) helping kids tune into their own internal nutritional cues.

The moral of the story here, is that the more that we let our children take the lead around the dinner table, the more comfortable they will feel with food and mealtime.

Issues With Spoon Feeding

While I have no problem with a feeding purees for a short period of time (1-2  weeks at the most), or helping babies spoon feed with more difficult food items (like soup, for example), I do think that long term spoon feeding of puree’s can encroach on a babies natural drive to explore and learn through their sense of touch and it also takes away a babies innate drive for autonomy.

Often parents choose to spoon feed purees for longer period of time because they fear choking.  The irony in this is that the longer a baby or child goes without learning the concepts of how foods feel and how to go about manipulating, biting, chewing and then swallowing these foods; the more likelihood they will have an actual problem with an over-reactive gag, poor tolerance to different textures and choking.  This is because the more times the gag reflex (a protective mechanism that inhibits aspiration of food being lodged in the airway) is elicited, the quicker the body self-teaches more efficient movement patterns within the mouth. 

An example of a more efficient oral motor pattern would be learning how to swipe food from the airway with the tongue and move it into the molar region. 

Furthermore, many children who throw up often during mealtime (with no underlying medical causation) have an over-reactive gag-reflex, which has been set in motion due to a lack of experiences with real foods in the first few years of life.

Getting Messy Helps to Desensitize the Tactile System

Over-protecting and over-sanitizing has taught children that being messy is not okay.  Because many children in this generation have had limited exposure to the natural elements of nature (like sand, mud, etc),  they are generally lacking in real life experiences with different textures.

A child who lacks basic experiences with textures on their hands and has never been exposed to messy textures in nature can become over-sensitive to tactile information (these children will cry or scream if they get their hands or face messy or will refuse to walk in the sand or grass.)  Sensory-related diagnosis’ are on the rise more than ever before.  We need to teach our children (and retrain ourselves as mothers, too) that being messy is okay and a very crucial part of play and child development.

Babies and kids need to be allowed to get messy and feel their foods with their hands because this important part of sensory play promotes a tolerance to a wider variety of textures.  The more textures they are allowed to explore with their hands (and feet too), the more they can put a name to different textures like “mushy” “crunchy” “lumpy”, etc.  The more we broaden their understanding of different textures, the more likely they will allow these textures into their mouths in the form of new foods.

Self-feeding Promotes Age Appropriate Hand-eye Coordination + Fine Motor Skills

The last but certainly not least important reason that getting messy benefits babies during feeding is that it enhances the development of both hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.  These hand skills impact a child’s performance in many life-related skills and school.  A few examples of life skills that depend on refined hand-eye coordination are things like dressing, handwriting, shoe tying, utensil use and cutting.  The building blocks for hand-eye coordination begin in the hand to mouth exploration phase, which is typical from 6-18 months of age.

 

-Ashley

Matcha Mushroom Magic Latte

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Shortly after having my second child, I had to give up coffee.  Looking back now it was probably the best move ever for me, but at the time it seemed like the end of the world.  With the endless nights of breastfeeding a newborn and the sleep deprivation that came, all while trying to care for a toddler too, I wanted coffee more than anything. 

“Why did I give it up?” You might ask.  I will tell you why.  I noticed whenever I drank even the slightest bit of coffee, my daughter wouldn’t sleep well at night and wouldn’t take naps during the day well either.  So not only would I be sleep deprived but I would also have to deal with a very cranky over-tired baby.  Its funny she was so sensitive to caffeine because I have always been very sensitive to it too.  Coffee has always made me wired and jittery so I would just allow it in tiny bits or drink half-calf to deal.

But this situation called for a complete cessation and I was desperate for something else that could help me stay alive during that crazy post-partum year.

I had heard of matcha but I wrongly assumed I could handle it because it was still caffeine after all.  But then I read about its alerting but calming affects and I thought “That’s exactly what I need!” So I gave it a try.  I was surprised at how it gave me a little boost of energy but never made me (or my babe) feel jittery one bit.  I was absolutely in love.  Then, I began to research the benefits and I was floored at how nutritious matcha was and how beneficial it was to my body.  It was exactly what I needed!

Matcha Benefits:

  • Supports the liver and the detoxification process

  • Supports a healthy hormone balance

  • Gives a calm but alert feeling

  • Contains more antioxidants than 10 cups of green tea

  • Its heavily supported in research to be one of the best natural breast cancer preventatives (it helps to remove excess estrogen from the body)

So without further ado, I feel I am way over-due to share my favorite Mushroom + Matcha Magic Latte recipe with you. I have been drinking it for about 2 years and I have tried almost every organic matcha brand under the sun.  This brand I use doesn’t even compare to the other brands on the market.  Its quality and taste is above and beyond anything else I have tried in the past.

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I use my favorite Ippodo Tea matcha and mix in a bit of my favorite immune supporting Red Reishi mushroom powder and it’s a wonderful, magical thing that gives me mom super powers and just makes me so happy, you guys!

Red Reishi is an incredibly powerful mushroom, that has been used for centuries for its healing and longevity properties. It’s been studied extensively for its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties (breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, just to name a few) It improves liver detoxification pathways, protects against infection, fights asthma + allergies, promotes better sleep and stabilizes blood sugar.

Here’s how easy it is to to make this God send:

Mushroom + Matcha Magic Latte

**Affiliate links below

Blend with a hand blender and enjoy!

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission. The commission is paid by third parties, not by you. I only recommend products that I genuinely love. Thank you for your support!

-Ashley

Cauliflower Crust Sweet Potato & Sausage Pizza (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Kid-friendly)

It has been a while since I made a recipe and though “Oh, my gosh. People NEED this in their life!” Not trying to brag, even though I kind of am, but this pizza is so legit you guys. So nourishing and so delicious too. Did I mention its not only gluten free but also made with cauliflower crust and a bunch of other delicious veggies and real foods?!

Wow. I’m such a foodie that I even sound ridiculous to myself. I’m sorry you guys, but it really is that good! Even my husband, who would rather eat real pizza any day was raving about this Sweet Potato Pizza.

Whoever even thought of the brilliant idea of cauliflower pizza crust anyway?! Seriously!! What a genius. I very much would like to high five this person and become their friend. If you have never tried it, don’t hate. It actually tastes pretty darn amazing considering its made out of a cruciferous veggie. And your kids won’t have any clue either. Unless they’re one of those super suspicious guys.

And no, I don’t really hide it from my kids that I’m serving them pizza made out of veggies. They pretty much expect veggies to be part of every meal equation in my house at this point but I don’t really have to highlight it either because after all, it is PIZZA.

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I know what you’re thinking though. You’ve tried making cauliflower crust before and you DO NOT have time for that. And its messy as heck too. You’re so not going there again.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered boo. I don’t bother with homemade cauliflower crust anymore either. Unless I have a lot of time on my hands and a lot of patience, nope, not going there.

Thankfully for you and I both, I finally found a store-bought cauliflower pizza crust that is made out of legit ingredients with no fluff or fillers and tastes delicious. Most other brands I’ve used in the past have odd fillers and use mozzarella cheese (I don’t eat conventional dairy). But this brand below has all wholesome, real food ingredients that make a gluten-free organic mama like me very, very happy!

One more thing, I forgot to mention before I give you the recipe. Its a total week-night dinner time saver. It only takes about 30 minutes total cooking time to throw together. A win-win-win in my book!

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*Affiliate links below.

Serves: 5 people
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cauliflower Pizza Crust (store bought, I love this brand)

  • 1 + 1/2 large sweet potato precooked until soft (in oven or crockpot/instant pot)

  • 1 pack of nitrate free Italian sausage, casings removed and chopped

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

  • 1/2 jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • 1 jar or can of pizza sauce

  • coconut oil or ghee for cooking

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped and diced

Instructions:

  1. Before hand, cook your sweet potatoes. I threw 2 sweet potatoes into the Instantpot for 15 minutes on pressure cook until they were fork tender. Scoop out the insides of the sweet potatoes and set them aside.

  2. Remove crusts from the package and set them on a baking sheet. Set the oven for 400 degrees.

  3. Chop the onions, garlic, sausage and sun-dried tomatoes.

  4. Heat your oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan and let it begin to cook for about 3 minutes.

  5. Add the onions and garlic and saute in the oils until they begin to soften and soak up the flavor of the sausage, about 7 minutes.

  6. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the pizzas sauce and combine well. Turn the heat to low and cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

  7. Remove the cover and add in the softened sweet potato mix and stir it into the pizza sauce mixture until its fully combined.

  8. Add your salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil and combine. You can garnish with fresh basil on top if you would like.

  9. Once the sweet potato sausage sauce is ready, spread it evenly onto the two cauliflower crusts and bake for 10-14 minutes or until the crust begins become slightly crisp.

  10. Enjoy!

Any of the products on this page may be an affiliate link. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase within a specific amount of time, I get a small commission. The commission is paid by third parties, not by you. I only recommend products that I genuinely love. Thank you for your support!

-Ashley

Chocolate Lovers Dream Flour-less Real Foods Brownies (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo)

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’ve had chocolate on the mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one day dreaming about chocolate this week.

Since giving up gluten, I’ve had to find different ways to still enjoy childhood classics (like brownies) and usually it involves baking with almond flour or coconut flour. It’s been a fun learning experience for both me and my kiddos to learn that they can still enjoy cookies and cakes and brownies BUT that some of them have healthier ingredients in them to make our bodies grow strong, while others taste great but make us feel kinda crappy afterwards.

But this time, quite by accident actually, I omitted the flour all together and the result were these deliciously moist and chocolaty real-food brownies. While they do have some sugar in them, they aren’t going to make you have a crazy sugar crash afterwards because the healthy fats and protein in them help to regulate blood sugar levels.

I used coconut oil and sunflower butter to keep the moisture factor on point and used real organic cacao and dark chocolate chips to give it that over-the-top chocolaty flavor.

I love that these brownies are a) made with only a few real-food ingredients b) only take a few minutes to throw together and c) you might just have most of these ingredients laying around your house somewhere.

Who’s ready for the recipe for these bad boys??

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Instructions:

**I’ve linked my favorite brands as affiliate links contained below

Ingredients:

  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp cacao

  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)

  • 1/2 cup agave

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)

  • 1 heaping cup of sunflower butter (or any nut butter of your choice)

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a glass or ceramic brownie pan (with ledges) with parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the other wet ingredients: coconut oil, agave and the nut butter. Combine well.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda and cacao.

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine.

  5. Add the chocolate chips.

  6. The mixture will be rather moist. Use a spatula to scrape it out of the bowl and into the ceramic pan and spread evenly.

  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick can be removed with minimal residue. Let cool for about 10 minutes out of the pan before serving.

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-Ashley

Homemade Vegan Chocolate Milk (Vegan, Dairy-free, Paleo)

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Whether you’re dairy free, vegan or paleo, I think we can all agree that chocolate milk is a glorious thing and that this childhood favorite needs to be recreated A.S.A.P.

Allow me to just take a minute to praise the wonderful cashew for bringing its wonderful creamy and satiating flavor that also packs quite the nutritious punch.  You can make almost any dairy-free favorite, including nacho cheese, with these glorious little life giving nuts. 

Honestly, what’s not to love?  They’re full of protein and healthy fats and they keep your blood sugar stable, just for beginners.

Your littles will be asking for this Chocolate milk on the daily.  And it wont really be a problem because you’ll be requiring it daily too at this point.  And it only takes a few tiny steps to make, so can we really consider this a problem after all?  More like a solution to the problem of not being able to drink chocolate milk since giving up dairy. 

Should I talk about the reasons you should give up conventional dairy? Nah, I won’t get all ranty on you guys today, you’re off the hook.

Just be sure to buy the big tub of organic cashews at costco.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cashews (preferably organic)

  • 3 cups filtered water

  • 2 dates

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 2 tsp agave/maple syrup

  • 1 + 1/2 tbsp cacao powder

Instructions:

  1. Soak 1 cup of cashews + 2 dates in a large cup of filtered water overnight.

  2. The next day, drain and rinse the cashews and dates.

  3. Add the soaked cashews, dates, vanilla, agave, cacao and water to a high speed blender until consistency is thin. 

  4. If you’re storing this in the fridge, just be sure to shake it first to combine. 

  5. Enjoy!

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-Ashley

Dispelling Myths About Natural Birthing

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As my first baby turns five this week, I’ve been reflecting more and more on the birth of my babes and I want to take a minute to celebrate the beauty of birth itself and shed some insight into my personal choice to birth my kids naturally at home.

Birth is a beautiful, natural process that women’s bodies were literally created for.  It has been untouched and uninterrupted for billions of years.  Our hospital birthing culture has managed to industrialize birthing to the point where its not only lost its sacred beauty, but somewhere along the way, its been interwoven with a sense of fear, which has prompted women to lose faith in their bodies ability to do what it was designed for.

For so long I literally feared even telling people I birthed my children at home, which looking back now seems silly since it’s all such a big part of who I am.  I think the difficulty I had at the time sharing with others about my choice was people honestly didn’t know much about home birth and because of this, they most likely assumed it was risky or unsafe.  I wrote this post to dispelll this common myth about natural birthing.

How I Really Became Interested in Home Birth in the First Place

Let me just get this out there first: I’ve been a strong willed woman since the time I exited my mothers womb (my father would contest to this fact).  Not in so much in a defiant way, more in the independent thinker sort of way.  I’ve just never felt comfortable with people telling me how I should think or what I should do without doing my own research first.  And when I set my mind to something, it’s darn near impossible to change my mind.

And I always always always wanted to know the root cause of every medical practice and every disease.  I became interested in natural birthing methods far before I was even in a position to have children or even in a commited relationship.  I watched The Business of Being Born, a documentary about the birthing system in America, when I was 20 years old, as a junior in college (If you haven’t seen this documentary, its on Netflix and will blow your mind).  C-sections just didn’t sit well with me way back then.  I was ranting about the wild C-section rates in the US and correlating infant mortality rates to my friends in undergraduate school. I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy back then but that’s totally ok with me.

But when it came time for me to make an ultimate decision in how and where I would birth my own son about 8 years later,  it really came down to two factors: I had previously witnessed all three of my sisters have traumatic hospital births that ended in C-sections that they didn’t want and on top of that, the specific county I lived in at the time had higher c-section rates than even the national average (which is 31%, in case you were wondering).

I had wanted a child for so long but yet I was terrified at the prospect of giving birth from the moment I found out I was pregnant.  Not because I was afraid of the actual birth itself, in all of its unknowns as a new mom, but more so because I was afraid of having a medicalized birth that was unplanned and with interventions that were unnecessary and because I really, really didn’t want to have a C-section.

I was extremely healthy and able and I felt there was no need for me to deliver in a hospital, given that my pregnancy was so low risk.

I had witnessed how my sisters were bullied into interventions they didn’t want and ultimately had birth experiences they were disappointed and traumatized by.  I was fearful because I really didn’t want my birth to spiral from one seemingly innocent medical intervention, like pitosson, to the next, like painful contractions, a difficult labor, an epidural and ultimately a C-section.

After months of research, I realized quickly that my chances were pretty slim for having a natural, uninterviened birth at my home hospital, and that made me very afraid to enter into my pregnancy. I’ve always hated hospitals, needles and didn’t particularly trust doctors.  There were also no natural birthing centers in my area at the time but there was an amazing midwife home birth practice.  While I really wanted a natural birth, I had always envisioned it in more of a birthing center situation, rather than a home birth.  Even as a person who considered myself educated on natural birthing methods, I was still ignorant enough about homebirth to wonder about its safety and feasibility.

Since it was really one of my only options other than the hospital in my small town,  I decided it couldn’t hurt to go meet with the Midwife and see what she has to say.  I prayed my husband would be open to the idea.

We went together to meet her, my husband and I.  We asked all the questions she probably always gets from first time birthers.

My first question was what do we do if the cord is wrapped around the babies neck?  She calmly stated that a large percentage of babies are born with some degree of nuchal cord wrapping, that this was completely normal and non-life threatening.  She explained to me how babies receives o2 through the umbilical cord during birth, something I never realized or thought of.

What to do in the case of an emergency? She explained how close monitoring throughout my pregnancy would be the best indicator if I should stick with the home birth plan or choose a facility with emergency care.  In other words, had I or the baby shown any red flags for a complicated high risk birth, my midwife would suggest that I change providers.  She reminded me we were just a ten minute of a drive to the nearest hospital.   

What if I couldn’t handle the pain? She told me epidurals are not an option.  She explained how she would teach me ways to deal with the pain and be there to comfort me through it.  

She reminded me of how pregnancy isn’t an illness and doesn’t really necessitate hospitalization, it’s just what’s normal in our culture. 

On and on it went.  Every fear was quenched with an honest answer, that calmed my soul.

She was knowledgeable, factual, scientific, competent, experienced, realistic and she presented me with so much helpful information. She taught me more about my own body than I had came to realize in my entire adult life.

For the first time since becoming pregnant, I actually felt calm as I approached pregnancy and birth.  I felt I was in the right place and had finally felt legitimate trust in a provider as I walked through my birth.

I felt for the first time that my dream to have a natural birth was not just a reality, but the best thing for me and my baby.

What I Want You to Know about Homebirth

My births at home were both very different and nothing short of amazing.  My first son was born within 5 hours of my water breaking, which is considered a very quick labor for a first time mother.  My second baby had a few complications that made labor more difficult for me, but in the end, she was born in the water, and my midwife and doubla helped and empowered me through my difficult labor. 
I received the most amazing care and encouragement from my birth team, who took care of me, monitoring the health of both me and my children, far after the birth even occurred.  They cared for me so much during that post-partum period and answered all my questions, about healing, breastfeeding, post partum anxiety, etc.  They ultimately gave me the type of care and support I could never in a million years receive in a hospital setting.

Here are my top 8 things I want you to know about birthing your children at home: 

  1. It’s less scary than a hospital birth. Why? Because it’s more predictable and you’re more in control of the outcome and the interventions that will or will not be performed on you or your baby.

  2. It’s not more risky than a hospital birth.  There is literally no body of evidence, that has any factual information stating that having your baby naturally with a midwife is more risky for the health of the baby or the mother than a hospital birth.  To the contrary, the hospital culture of birth in our nation has created a national disaster in terms of birthing safety for both babies and mothers.  The US is not only the most dangerous place in the entire developed world for birthing mothers (we have higher death rates of birthing mothers than any other developed country) but we also have the highest rate of infant mortality than any other country in the developed world.  See the International Comparisons of Infant Mortality and Related Factors: United States and Europe, for some alarming statistics.

    A study from the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health (JMWH), a landmark study** confirms that among low-risk women, home births result in low rates of interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for mothers and babies.  This study, which examines nearly 17,000 courses of midwife-led care, is the largest analysis of planned home birth in the U.S. ever published. 
    Some standouts from this study: (homebirth cesarean rates of 5.2%, a remarkably low rate when compared to the U.S. national average of 31%, lower rates of intervention in home births, 97% of babies were carried to full-term in the homebirths, babies were healthy averaging 8 lbs at birth, 98% of homebirth babies were breastfed at 8 weeks post-partum, only 1% of babies required a hospital transfer after birth for non-urgent issues, and there was no higher risk of death during labor for home birthing mothers).

    If anything, I would guess you and your babies are in better hands with an in-tuned midwife than delivering in a hospital setting.

  3. Homebirth midwives are extremely selective which screens out high risk situations. Why? Because they don’t take high risk pregnancies and advise women with complicated medical histories to birth in a hospital setting.

  4. Your prenatal and post natal care will be luxury VIP in comparison to a hospital birthing scenario. How? I’m sure I’m unable to really do this comparison justice, but let me just name a few of the perks of working with a midwife:

    • Extensive pre-natal monitoring with a hands on approach (midwives use their hands to tell the position of the baby and monitor growth of the uterus and the baby), that teaches and educated you along the way
    • Regular growth, heart rate and position monitoring for baby
    • Birth plan coaching and management
    • Bi-weekly to weekly hour long prenatal visits in which all your wildest questions are answered
    • Pre-natal coaching for labor pain management
    • Extensive education and preparation for birthing and labor
    • Vaccine discussion and information
    • Post partum home visits with incredible post natal care for baby and mom
    • Breastfeeding help
    • Monitoring of babies weight gain
    • Monitoring of health of the mother
    • Emotional support, screening for post-partum anxiety and depression
    • Post-partum care until 8 weeks after birth for both baby and mother while the care is being transferred to a pediatrician.

    I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never in my life heard any type of OB provide this type of care to a birthing mother.

  5. A natural birth isn’t something to be feared. Once we fully embrace the natural ability of the body to perform its innate capabilities, we can let go of this fear based mentality, fueled by the industrialization and hospital culture of birthing in our nation. Our bodies are extremely strong, capable and powerful vessels, created to sustain and deliver life into this world. And women have birthed their babies naturally for hundreds of years without hospitalization and intervention, with the help of midwives.

  6. You can still deliver vaginally with a midwife if your first birth was a C-section. Yes, VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean delivery) are possible with a midwife (depending on the state you live in). If your OB has managed to convince you that you are physically unable to withstand a vaginal delivery because you’ve already had a C-section, that simply isn’t true. Midwifes take clients on a case by case basis, and I’ve heard many successful vaginal delivery stories following a C-section.

  7. You should be in control of your birthing experience. I’ve seen and heard so many stories of how women have been taken advantage of in the process of birth by their providers. Whether it be a quick change in the birth plan, an administration of a drug that occurred against a mothers will, or having an episiotomy down there against your will. What I’m saying is, make sure you feel right about your provider before you commit to working with them and make sure you have a birth plan in place and openly discuss all aspects of how your birth plan could change prior to birth with your provider.

  8. If I can do it, so can you! I’m just a regular gal, with a strong willpower whose always had a low threshold for pain. If I can do it, you certainly can too!

The Real Reasons I Chose a Natural Birth at Home

Contrary to what you might think, I didn’t chose to birth my children at home because I’m crazy.  Or because I didn’t do enough research prior to birth to find out all the complications that could arise.

Or not even because I felt I was better, stronger or braver than any other birthing mother.

And certainly not because I think you’re a bad mom if you had an opted for or emergency C-section or any other type of hospital birth.

I made a choice to birth my kids at home because I believed in the beautiful and perfect design of our Creator who literally sets life as we know into its place.

I birthed my kids at home because I trusted my body to do what it was created to do.

Because I chose faith over fear.

Because I researched more than you know.

Because I found it was actually a safer option for me and my babies.

Because C-section and infant mortality rates are higher in the US than any other country in the developed world, despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the entire world.

Because maternal care is also worse in the US than any other country in the developed world, despite the fact that we spend more money in healthcare than any other country.

Because the area I lived in at the time had even higher rates of C-sections than the national average.

Because a “natural” uninterviened birth in a hospital setting in this situation was highly unlikely and very unpredictable.

Because I had witnessed all three of my sisters have traumatic hospital births that ended in C-sections.

Because I didn’t want to be in a vulnerable position when someone challenged me to make rash decisions about my birth plan.

Because the United States has birthing backwards and the medical system teaches women to distrust their bodies and fear the process of birth.

Because babies aren’t designed to be too big for their mothers birth canals.

Because a cord being wrapped around a babies neck during birth (nuchal wrapping) isn’t even a fatal situation (both my babes were born with wrapped cords)

Because heart rates drop often as they relate to outside intervention and pressure through the birth canal when babies not in the correct position.

Because birthing a child into this world is beautiful and sacred and holy and a hospital scenario over medicalizes it.

Because my body is strong.

Because I don’t fear pain.

Because perfect love casts out all fear.

Because I was perfectly healthy and had zero pregnancy complications.

Because the pre and post-natal maternal care and support of a midwife blows every single hospital maternal care unit out of the water by light years.

My home births were by no means painless but they were without fear.

They weren’t easy but they were empowering.

They were challenging but not impossible.

My births brought me closer to the Lord, helped me figure out who I was and filled me with so much faith over the beautiful design of my body.

Birth is beautiful and wild, a natural process we were literally made for.  It shouldn’t be feared, hindered or intervened if it doesn’t have to be.

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My first time holding my daughter after her water birth

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My son, just a few days old

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The first time I held my first son, after a fairly quick delivery at home

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About 8 months pregnant with my second baby

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My Birthing Team with my second delivery of my daughter, a few minutes after her birth 
Angela Love, of Midwife Love, practices at an incredibly successful Midwifery practice in Vero Beach, Florida and she delivered both of my babies with the most excellent care

Resources:

  1. MacDorman M, Declercq E, Mathews TJ. Recent trends in out‐of‐hospital births in the United States. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013;58(5):494‐501.

  2. International Comparisons of Infant Mortality and Related Factors: United States and Europe, 2010 <found at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_05.pdf>

Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes (Paleo, Gluten-free, Whole-30, Vegan, Kid Approved)

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These Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes are simple, healthy and sweet and the perfect addition to any weeknight dinner. If you know me at all, you know I’m always trying to come up with healthy recipes to get my kiddos to enjoy their veggies and this is one of my go-to’s in that category.

And to be quite frank, I’m not really sure if I could survive the grain-free lifestyle without my beloved sweet potato. When I’m craving carbohydrates, one of my favorite treats is to eat a baked sweet potato with some good old butter, agave, salt and cinnamon. Sweet and fulfilling without that guilt free filling.

Not only do my kids love these little guys, but every time I make them for guests, they always ask for the recipe and they can never believe how easy they are! Seriously, they really are THAT easy. Like idiot proof easy.

I love to save some extra in the fridge to throw over salads the next day and they also work great as a make-ahead weekday meal-prep situation.

With only a few simple ingredients and a roasting pan, you’re pretty much good to go, so I’m not sure what else could really hold you back from enjoying this crowd-pleasing side.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary
1 + 1/2 tablespoon ghee (or coconut oil)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 5 servings

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Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set the oven for 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Peel and chop the potatoes and throw them into a mixing bowl.

  3. Throw in the rosemary, the ghee, garlic powder and salt and pepper and toss them all together with your hands.

  4. After you’re finished giving them a good toss, transfer them to the baking sheet, make sure that they are spaced out well to ensure they get crispy instead of mushy.

  5. Put them in the oven for roughly 50  minutes, turning halfway through with a spatula to cook evenly on both sides.  You want them to be slightly browned and crispy on the outside but not overcooked.

  6. Enjoy!




    -Ashley





Butternut Squash + Bone Marrow Applesauce for Moms and Babes (Paleo, Gluten-free, Whole-30, Kid-friendly)

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In terms of nutritionally dense foods for growing healthy brains and bones in kids and babies, I would put bone marrow right up there at the top of the list along with all the veggies, liver and bone broth. It is not only a fabulous source of heme iron (easily absorbed), but also an incredible source of healthy fat (at a whopping 97% fat ratio), good for satiating hungry tummies, nourishing a growing brain and keeping blood sugar levels stable. It’s also full of essential amino acids that literally help to grow strong teeth, hair, bones, skin, muscles and help with energy production.

Growing brains (and all brains, for that matter) need and thrive off of fat. Fat is what makes up the myelin sheath of nerve cells, which is what allows nerve cells to fire and send messages (to think, talk, process and do).

If you know me at all, you know I’ve had a long love relationship with bone marrow ever since I first tasted it at some trendy restaurant on the streets of Manhattan. What’s not to love? It tastes like the butter of heaven, after all! Spread it on crackers or some warm bread with some honey and you’re pretty much good to go!

After loving it for its incredible taste, I was so intrigued by it and I had to know everything about it. Learning how it was actually an incredibly nutrient dense food, according to the Weston A. Price foundation, made me fall even more in love. The Weston A. Price foundation touts bone marrow as an extremely nourishing food, found in almost every traditional culture around the globe. Contrary to the western world, where we eat mostly muscle meat, traditional cultures have long valued and cooked the entire animal, including the organs and bones and marrow and mostly feed the muscle meat (which has the least amount of vitamins/minerals) to the dogs.

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Ok, enough fat and nutrition talk.  Let’s talk about this glorious food recipe discovery, Butternut Squash + Bone Marrow Apple Sauce! 

You need this in your life, trust me on this one.

It has it all in my book.  Sweet AND savory AND a fruit, a veggie and a healthy source of fat and iron.  You literally couldn’t make a more healthy dessert for you and your little people if you ask me.  A great food for babies and kids of all ages and also a great snack for anyone who is on the Whole30 diet. 

It is It is literally SO easy to make you won’t believe it!  Heres how to make it.
**Affiliate links below.

Ingredients:

  • 5 beef marrow bones (organic/grass-fed bones are important)

  • 5-6 apples (skin removed)

  • 1/2 butternut squash (cubed)

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

  • a pinch of lemon juice

  • 1 tsp ghee

  • 2 tsp agave (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Add marrow bones to a pan and roast for about 15 minutes or when it begins to bubble around the edges.

  3. When its finished roasting, scoop out the marrow with a butterknife.

  4. In a crockpot or Instapot, add the marrow and all the other ingredients.

  5. For a crockpot cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.  In the Instapot, set on high pressure for 10 minutes.

  6. When it is finished, use an immersion blender to combine all the ingredients and enjoy!  Feel free to add extra agave if you want to sweeten it up a bit more.

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-Ashley

Thai-Style Sweet Potato Sliders (Paleo, Gluten-free, Kid-Friendly, Whole-30)

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If you’re vowing to give up gluten and dairy walking into the New Year, you’re probably worried you’re going to have to sit on the bench eating salad while everyone else gets to enjoy delicious food. Well, I’m here to tell you that just doesn’t have to be the case. No sir. Not even one bit.

Not when you start to get creative and throwing in some curve balls like these flavor-full Thai-Style Sweet Potato Sliders. They are tangy and sweet and bursting with flavor. Add your favorite green veggie on the side and my Five-Minute Guac as a topper and you’re basically in gluten-free heaven.

We love them so much I’ve been keeping them on the weekly rotation around here. Mostly because they cook up in under 30 minutes time but the other factor that always weighs in are that my kids love them too.

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Making them is super simple and pretty darn quick if you ask me.  You’re going to bake up some sweet potatoe chips in the oven and in the meantime you’re going to pan fry your meaty, veggie mixture and then add in some guac for good measure. 

Here’s how to make them:


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grassfed beef

  • tablespoon ghee or coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3 carrots, shredded

  • 2 garlic cloves, diced

  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced lengthwise into chip shaped discs

  • 3 tsp coconut aminos

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • splash of Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp agave

  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe hass avocados

  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

  • 1/8 of a medium onion diced finely

  • a squeeze of lime juice

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out sliced sweet potato discs side by side until you covered the pan (using an extra pan if needed). Dab/brush a bit of coconut oil on each side and sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.

  2. While oven is heating, dice up your onion, garlic and shred your carrots.

  3. Over medium heat on the stovetop, heat up ghee or coconut oil until hot.

  4. Begin to saute all the veggies for 3-4 minutes or until onions soften. 

  5. Once they soften, add the beef and begin to use your spatula to break it up evenly.  Add in the salt and pepper, onion powder, ginger powder, agave, coconut aminos and Worcester and cook and combine together while the beef cooks (about 8-10 minutes).

  6. Meanwhile, put the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 12-14 minutes or until they begin to crisp (turning them half-way through).

  7. Once the beef mixture is cooked and sweet potato chips are done crisping, serve it by adding a spoonful of the beef mixture atop a sweet potato chip and add one more to the top to make it sandwich style.

  8. Whip up some Five Minute Guacamole and your favorite veggie on the side.  Top the sliders with some guac and some spicy chipolte mayo or sriracha sauce if you want an extra kick.

Enjoy!

-Ashley

Soft + Chewy Ginger Cinnamon Christmas Cookies (Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly)

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If you’re looking for a SUPER simple healthiesh gluten-free cookie recipe that you can make with your kiddos, look no further! These were seriously the easiest cookie recipe ever, despite the “cooking with kids” part, that’s always a bit challenging.

These little guys are loaded with natural sugar from coconut, some healthy omega’s from grass-fed butter and some healthy fats and protein from the almond flour.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re still cookies! But just a not-have-to-worry-about-food-dyes-and-preservatives type of Christmas cookies.

Being the health-freak that I am, I cringe when my kids are offered cookies and cupcakes loaded with colored frosting on top. Why? You may ask. Because of the food-dyes. Food-dyes like red 40, blue 1 and yellow 5 + 6 have been linked to behavior problems, ADHD, cancer and food-allergies. So yeah, I avoid them like the plague around here. My son has enough boy energy as it is to fill his tummy with that junk.

Personally, I think its healthy to teach kids at a young age what is healthy and what’s not for your body. We openly talk about food dyes in our house and why we don’t eat things that are brightly colored, unless we know its organic or without chemicals.

Ok, back to the cookies. They were so fluffy and chewy and the PERFECT texture for the kiddos to help cut out with the cookie cutters.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 stick room temperature grass-fed butter or ghee

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Beat the eggs until fluffy and add the vanilla and the butter and combine well with a mixer.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger and baking powder and cream of tartar.  Stir and combine well. 

  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and combine well.

  5. The cream of tartar should help the dough bind into a pizza like dough.  If you’re is still sticky, you can sprinkle a tad more until it forms one cohesive unit.

  6. Pour the dough onto the parchment paper and coat your hands in a little bit of almond flour to keep your hands from sticking to the dough. 

  7. Knead and roll the dough until its one flat rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.

  8. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or just until the top begins to fluff and the bottom barely begins to brown (you don’t want the bottom to get too crispy)

  9. Set on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes until it’s ready to cut the dough with cookie cutters.

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Enjoy!



-Ashley

Magnesium + ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) have become so commonplace on therapy caseloads and in classroom settings around the globe.

As an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children affected by ADD and ADHD, I have seen how this diagnosis can challenge every aspect of ones life. I believe it would be a tragedy and great disservice to children and families affected by this condition, if we didn’t first evaluate the current research on effective alternative treatment methods for these children before we continued to recommended the continued disbursement of pharmaceuticals.

After an afternoon spent delving into the research of common nutrient deficiencies among the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) population, it became clear as day to me that an overhaul and re-evaluation of current medical practices are in order for this overdiagnosed and over-medicated childhood behavioral disorder. 

Research shows and undeniable link between magnesium deficiency and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  A brief review of research not only showed a strong indication that children with ADHD show remarkably lower blood-serum levels of magnesium and other key vitamins and trace minerals (like zinc, B6 and copper) than typical peers, but also revealed that supplementation of magnesium can have a significantly positive impact on behavioral performance and cognition status.

Since magnesium is vital for healthy brain function, involved in over 300 biomechanical reactions in the body, it is easy to see why a deficiency in this key nutrient could negatively impact brain function in children. 

The bioavailability of magnesium affects the function and binding of neurotransmitters to their receptors, such as serotonin and dopamine. (8)  We know that dopamine plays a crucial role in executive functioning skills, such as the ability to self-regulate and control impulses.  Magnesium also supports the calming actions of GABA (8)

By some estimates, 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium.  Poor dietary habits and magnesium depletion in soil are known culprits.  If the general adult population is this deficient in magnesium, one could imply that among children (who often eat a less varied diet), the deficit would be slightly more.

One study (1) that assessed the magnesium levels in children diagnosed with ADHD, concluded that out of 116 children, 95% of them were deficient in magnesium.

A prospective population-based cohort study of 684 adolescents at the 14- and 17-year follow-ups found that higher dietary intake of magnesium reduced behavioral problems by 95% (reduced attention problems, aggressiveness and delinquency). (2)

One study (3), published by the Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, was conducted in order to assess the magnesium level in ADHD children and compare it to the normal levels in children.  It also assessed the effect of magnesium supplementation as an add on therapy, in magnesium deficient patients.  Out of 25 patients with ADHD, 18 of them (or 72%) were determined to have magnesium deficiency.  After supplementation with magnesium, the group improved as regards cognitive functions as measured by the Wisconsin card sorting test and Conners’ rating scale.   Little to no side effects were noted with supplementation.  The study concluded that magnesium supplementation in ADHD, proves its value and safety.

Another study (4) , also published in the Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, found that magnesium, zinc and copper deficiencies were found in (65%), (60%) and (70%) of ADHD children respectively. Magnesium and zinc deficiencies were found to be correlated with hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, while copper was not.

Another study (5), that looked at 50 hyperactive children that met criteria for the DSM IV diagnosis of ADHD, concluded that 6 months of supplementation with magnesium significantly decreased hyperactive behaviors.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, who has worked with hundreds of children and families impacted by a diagnosis of ADHD, this research is quite alarming and has serious implications in the therapy profession.

Firstly, a diagnosis of ADHD, which is more often than not treated with serious brain-altering pharmaceuticals (Ritalin, namely), is typically based on simple behavioral observations from a teacher within a structured classroom setting.

Pharmaceuticals are too quickly administered to children as young as 4 years old, without first looking at other possible factors and methods of treatment.

Since Ritalin is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II narcotic, the same classification as cocain, morphine and amphetamines, it would be foolish for pediatricians and parents of children with ADHD to not first assess and address nutritional deficits and environmental issues first before medication is administered.

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Food As Medicine for ADD + ADHD

Fortunately, there are many foods you can start incorporating into your child’s diet to help improve their magnesium levels which can significantly impact their attention and impulse control. 

However, it is important to first recognize that only 30-40% of magnesium is actually absorbed through our food. The implication here is that supplementation, in combination with dietary changes, would be the most effective method for treatment.

The current RDA for magnesium for adults and children ages 4 and older is 400 mg.

This list below, from the Cleveland Clinic (10) shows the top Magnesium Rich Foods:



How much magnesium is in your food?

  • Pumpkin seed - kernels: Serving Size 1 oz, 168 mg

  • Almonds, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 80 mg

  • Spinach, boiled: Serving Size ½ cup, 78 mg

  • Cashews, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds in shell: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Peanuts, oil roasted: Serving Size ¼ cup, 63 mg

  • Cereal, shredded wheat: Serving Size 2 large biscuits, 61 mg

  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla: Serving Size 1 cup, 61 mg

  • Black beans, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 60 mg

  • Edamame, shelled, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 50 mg

  • Dark chocolate -60-69% cacoa: Serving Size 1 oz, 50 mg

  • Peanut butter, smooth: Serving Size 2 tablespoons, 49 mg

  • Bread, whole wheat: Serving Size 2 slices, 46 mg

  • Avocado, cubed: Serving Size 1 cup, 44 mg

  • Potato, baked with skin: Serving Size 3.5 oz, oz, 43 mg

  • Rice, brown, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 42 mg

  • Yogurt, plain, low fat: Serving Size 8 oz, 42 mg

  • Breakfast cereals fortified: Serving Size 10% fortification, 40 mg

  • Oatmeal, instant: Serving Size 1 packet, 36 mg

  • Kidney beans, canned: Serving Size ½ cup, 35 mg

  • Banana: Serving Size 1 medium, 32 mg

  • Cocoa powder– unsweetened: Serving Size 1 tablespoon, 27 mg

  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed: Serving Size 3 oz, 26 mg

  • Milk: Serving Size 1 cup, 24–27 mg

  • Halibut, cooked: Serving Size 3 oz, 24 mg

  • Raisins: Serving Size ½ cup, 23 mg

  • Chicken breast, roasted: Serving Size 3 oz, 22 mg

  • Beef, ground, 90% lean: Serving Size 3 oz, 20 mg

  • Broccoli, chopped & cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 12 mg

  • Rice, white, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 10 mg

  • Apple: Serving Size 1 medium, 9 mg

  • Carrot, raw: Serving Size 1 medium, 7 mg



Some easy ways to incorporate these magnesium rich foods in your child’s diet:

  • A slice of sprouted toast with a tablespoon of almond butter or sunflower seed butter (I top mine with raw honey for extra taste and nutrition)

  • A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for on the go snacks

  • A side of 1/2 of an avocado with lunch or with eggs breakfast

  • Adding nut butters like sunflower seed butter to morning oats

  • A large scoop of organic cacao in a breakfast smoothie

  • Spinach cooked in ghee with a sprinkle of sea salt as a dinner side

  • Banana + almond butter + date + collagen protein shake (I use almond milk as the base)

  • Banana + Avocado mash (for babies learning to self-feed)

  • Banana + Avocado smoothie

  • Serving Salmon and other oily fatty fish 1-2 times a week

  • Roasted potato fries as a dinner side

*Affiliate links below

Supplements we use to ensure healthy magnesium levels:

As always, I am not a physician, nor can I prescribe specific medical advice. Always consult with your pediatrician first before beginning any new supplements. These supplements are only for ages 4 and up.

Another way to improve magnesium levels in young children is through the skin or transdermally. Epsom salt baths and dips in the oceans are effective ways to absorb magnesium this way.

-Ashley




Sources:

1) Kozielec & Starobrat-Hermelin. (1997). Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Magnesium Research: Official Organ Of The International Society For The Development Of Research On Magnesium, 10(2), 143-148. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235)

2) Black et al. (2015). Low dietary intake of magnesium is associated with increased externalising behaviours in adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 18(10), 1824-30. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25373528)

3) Farida El Baza, Heba Ahmed AlShahawi, Sally Zahra, Rana Ahmed AbdelHakim,
Magnesium supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Volume 17, Issue 1, 2016,
Pages 63-70, ISSN 1110-8630, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2015.05.008.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863015000555)

4) Farida Elbaz, Sally Zahra, Hussien Hanafy, Magnesium, zinc and copper estimation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Volume 18, Issue 2, 2017, Pages 153-163, ISSN 1110-8630, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2016.04.009 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863016300283)

5) Starobrat-Hermelin B1, Kozielec TMagnes Res. 1997 Jun;10(2):149-56.  The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236)

6) National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals Accessed 12/8/2018

7) United States Department of Agriculture. Food Data Base Accessed 12/5/2018

8) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). 2013.

9) Greenblatt, James. Finally Balanced: Mineral Imblalances & ADHD. The ZRT Labratory Blog. May 25, 2017. (https://www.zrtlab.com/blog/archive/mineral-imbalance-adhd-magnesium/#_ednref5)

10) Magnesium Rich Foods. Cleavland Clinic. (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food)