Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Radically Natural Retirement: Final Words and Thanks

It's time to say good-bye.

Ironically, I spent hours over the last week writing this final post, in which I attempted to cover all the important ground I have yet to cover, to finish all the half-written articles in my draft box.  It was my final attempt to make a positive impact on the health and lives of anyone willing to read my words.  Alas, the Internet ate my post...all that work just disappeared.  I kind of want to cry a little, I definitely want to throw something.  My husband asked, "You didn't write and save it in a Pages doc first?"  Ah, that would have been far too sensible.  Why not trust the blogger edit window and it's little "save" button?  I mean, this is the golden age of technology.  What could go wrong?!  Haha...  So I'm taking this loss as a sign from God that I am not meant to say all the things I wrote.  And I suppose that's a fitting end to this experiment of mine, my relationship with the blogging world and with trying to convince people of health reality as I see it.

It may come as no surprise that I am retiring Radically Natural Living.  My presence here has been spotty at best in the last year.  I started this blog at the encouragement of a friend, with the goal of sharing my experience and background in the healing arts...and I enjoyed attempting to share and work in this medium.  I have learned much, and I hope I have taught something of value.  But in all honesty, the fast-paced modern Internet world of blogging and social media just isn't for me.  I remember and prefer the web world before the blogging boom, when sites were slow-paced research-oriented encyclopedias.  Attempting to create, design and understand the technical aspects of the blogging platform takes its toll on an old-school gal like myself.  While I must admit to myself that I stole time from more needful responsibilities to create RNL, I do not regret all the hours spent in planning and writing articles, if I was able to minister to peoples' wellness.  But I cannot continue to burn my candle at both ends.    

I leave the world of Real food, Real health and Real birth blogging to more capable hands and voices, and I look forward to enjoying their continued works.  While I will not be maintaining this blog any further, it will still exist in this space, so I hope my past offerings might continue to be used as a resource.  I will be canceling the custom URL, so this blog may be found in future at www.radicallynatural.blogspot.com.  I might publish a finalized RNL index sometime following this post.

Time permitting, I will continue to work (slo--w--ly) on my EveryWiseWoman Herbals site, which already contains many articles and white papers I have written, as well as my storefront for HerbalAide Super Salve, Labor Oil, and whatever remedies time allows me to offer in future.

Some of you I know, most of you I do not.  I want to thank you all, truly, for your support in the short life of this blog.  I did not accomplish all I set out to do, but that is part of the learning experience.  At times, I tried too hard to be clever, or I neglected to restrain my frustrations with the "state of things" (I was far too snarky as I raged against the machine).  I experienced valuable illuminations during this process, and I have been forced to examine my priorities and goals.  But this has been an enlightening and challenging experience for me, and I appreciate your participation as readers!  There are so many things I wanted to teach, to share, to reveal, but I leave that to others, including all of you.  For you are your own best teacher, when you truly desire to learn and to pursue truth and personal responsibility for your wellness.  It isn't anyone else's job to figure things out and apply the knowledge...it's your job.

For my final act, I will condense some of my favorite ideas and health advice that I desire to leave with willing readers.  (I will not be supplying info links, as my final challenge is that you do the study.)  I am attempting to be quick, not curt, and I share because I care...not just to hear the sound of my own typing.  :)  These are the topics I hope people will study with fervor, applying the accumulated healing knowledge to their lives.

  • Health begins in the gut.  If yours is leaky or riddled with malevolent pathogens, you are not healthy...your immunity, your brain function, your hormones, your ability to absorb nutrients, your EVERYthing depends on your gut health.  Your children's gut health began with your gut health.  If you have eaten modern food or used pharmaceuticals (including but not limited to antibiotics, vaccines, NSAIDs, birth control pills) in your lifetime, you have a leaky and/or pathogenic-overrun gut.  In other words, we all have some level of gut dysbiosis.  Fix it.  Learn how.  (GAPS is an excellent answer, likely the best answer, but not the only answer.)  
  • After you have healed your gut, live on a Nourishing Traditions diet and shun industrial food.
  • Brain chemistry disorders (depression, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, ADHD, brain fog, OCD, etc.) are not all in your head (and they are never "just because")...they often stem from issues in the "second brain," i.e., your gut, and/or substances you put into your body (which can cause gut dysbiosis), and/or nutrient deficiencies (which can stem from gut dysbiosis).  See point one.  Also, suspect and correct vitamin D deficiency (if using food sources, see point one).  
  • If you choose to do the GAPS healing protocol, please, first read the book!  Study die off and withdrawal.  Understand that a healing crisis will occur (in which you will feel worse before you get better).  Expect die off symptoms (a flare up of any previous allergy or GI symptoms, lethargy, crankiness, sleep disturbances, headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc.), and initial lethargy and hunger from ketogenesis (your body switching from burning carbs to burning fat).  You must do GAPS Intro and then stick with Full GAPS for at least 6 months (two years is optimum) to see real results.  You cannot cheat and expect it to work.  Anything worth doing is difficult...real healing takes time, and being truly well demands real effort.  
  • Doing GAPS Intro for a couple weeks once a year is a wonderful way to detox and rebalance your gut flora and strengthen the integrity of the gut walls.  Doing GAPS Intro during or after a significant illness is very healing.
  • When doing GAPS, understand histamine sensitivity and how it might impact your healing process.  Allergic people are prone to histamine sensitivities, and fermented foods and other foods can increase histamine levels in the body, exacerbating symptoms like eczema.  Work on resealing the gut before introducing fermented foods.  Proceed with ferments slowly and do not be discouraged.  Healing takes time.
  • Healing takes time.  It's worth restating; it's a principle never to be overlooked.  Healing is a process.  Anything worth doing takes hard work and commitment, and healing is no different.  Taking drugs that suppress symptoms is never healing.  If you want to heal for real, you need to accept the time and effort involved.  You need to accept the healing crisis, in which you can feel worse before you feel better.
  • Coffee is a drug.  Of primary concern is coffee's damage to the adrenal glands.  The alert "high" you feel when ingesting coffee comes at a cost, overstimulating adrenal response, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue...coffee is an addictive substance that does not add energy, it creates fatigue.  Coffee also contributes to brain fog, cross-reacts with gluten antibodies (leading to gluten sensitivity symptoms), constricts blood vessels, creates acidity, imbalances blood sugar, and produces gut inflammation.  Coffee consumption will catch up with you someday.  If you use coffee to "wake up" or stay alert, if you are saying, "I love coffee.  There's nothing wrong with coffee.  I drink it everyday and I'm not going to stop..." or, "I might be willing to try other things to get healthy, but I won't give up my coffee..." or you're just plugging your ears, squeezing your eyes shut and saying, "Nah, nah, nah, coffee good, coffee good," or if you feel fatigued or headachy or cranky when you don't get your coffee, you need to consider the reality that you are an addict.  You can get flavanoids and natural stimulation from good foods and herbs that do not contain dangerous addictive substances (try cayenne, maca, and coconut oil...not necessarily mixed together, hahaha).  So do yourself a favor and kick the coffee habit.  Detox baths and extra hydration can help with the withdrawal symptoms.  
  • Sugar can be a nutrient-sucking substance that depresses immune function (by damaging nuetrophil responsiveness), feeds malevolent flora, and makes us fat.  Some forms of sugar are bad, others are worse, some are OK.  (Hint: agave is not OK, neither is dehydrated cane juice, which is just a fancy name for a type of refined sugar.)  Study mono vs. poly saccharides and how they affect gut flora, understand blood sugar reactions, study the glycemic index, study fructose and your liver, study insulin resistance, understand how sugar feeds cancer, study various sugar forms' processing procedures and nutrient profiles.  Consider that raw, unprocessed honey (a monosaccharide) is the only natural sweetener that requires no processing whatsoever before consumption, and contains antimicrobial and probiotic benefits.
  • Real fat is a lifesaver.  Eat more.  Your brain, your hormones, your heart, your joints, your tissues, every cell in your body will thank you.  Good fats nourish and satiate us, and never make us fat.  If you love your kids, feed them real fat...and lots of it.  Fat-free or low-fat diets and fake fats (trans fats, vegetable fats) are making us stupid and killing us.  Study why. 
  • Modern grains are inflammatory and can "rip up" your gut.  Going gluten free won't fix the root cause of your gluten problem.  Modern wheat, hybridized for production, grown in synthetic monoculture environments, manipulated for higher gluten content, is a substance no longer recognized by the human body as a healthy, digestible food.  Study the impact of wheat protein, study the ancient alternatives, understand the conventional wheat harvesting process (Roundup, roundup, everywhere), and know that you must remedy your gut health (see point one).
  • Milk can be deadly poison.  Adulterated commercial industrial milk is not food...it contributes to serious health problems, including autoimmune disorders.  If you are not drinking whole, raw, grassfed milk from cows that spend time outside in healthy pastures, don't drink milk at all.  Understand that if you have leaky gut, you likely cannot tolerate even Real Milk.  Heal your gut first, then try Real Milk.  Goats' milk is naturally more digestible for humans than is cows' milk (it's just a molecular reality).  Study the issue of A1/A2 milk and understand heritage breeds vs. frankencows.  Consider the old adage:  Goat milk for drinking, cow milk for butter, sheep milk for cheese.
  • Toxins are everywhere and we need to be aware, practice avoidance, and build and cleanse our bodies through detoxification and nourishment.  Study EMF pollution, industrial food (especially chemically based agriculture and CAFOs) and the pollution that system causes, air and water pollution sources, sick building syndrome, toxic toiletries, cleaning products, baby and feminine products...understand sources of chemicals in your everyday life...synthetic foods and supplements, wireless devices, VOCs, off-gassing formaldehyde, PDBEs, dioxins, drugs, etc.  Learn how to make or find alternatives, and change your lifestyle to reduce toxic load.
  • The FDA is not your friend.  Read all about it.  Dare I say more?  This unelected, corrupt, collusive, bullying, deceptive, profit-mongering (for its buddies) agency calls evil good and good evil.  While its "approved" drugs harm (and even kill) people, the FDA spreads fear and lies about botanical medicine...the (non-patentable, ergo "non-profitable") plants that actually can and do cure illness and disease (competition for the medical industry's drug system).  The FDA has a history of threatening and persecuting out-of-the box doctors, healers and providers who promote and use such remedies.  I recently parted ways with an essential oil company I previously promoted, after said company scoured my blog and informed me that I was out of "compliance" with its FDA-obeisance policies.  I will not comply with the FDA, and I will not do business with natural medicine suppliers who do not believe in the medicine they sell...who encourage their distributors to remain silent about the curative powers of those botanicals.  Apparently I have strong feelings about this.  I need to take a therapeutic magnesium salt and lavender bath.  
  • Vaccines are dangerous.  It's true.  Google it.  OK, kidding aside...study this prominent and essential issue (books, articles and videos abound on the topic)...be warned, it's not pretty.
  • Herbs are not drugs...they are Real Medicine, safe and effective.  Study and understand the whole herb methodology (it's the antithesis to the pharmaceutically influenced "slice/splice/isolate/synthesize" methodology).  Learn how to use botanical medicine properly and consistently.
  • Pregnancy is not an illness and birth is not an emergency.  (Exception: women in the small minority of high risk pregnancies...study the statistics.)  Midwives are pregnancy and birth experts; understand midwifery education and training.  Technological interventions do not make birth safer; homebirth is the safest place for normal birth (hospitals are for acute emergent traumas).  Understand the cascade of interventions and study the midwife model of care.  Don't dose your baby with cocaine during the birth process, don't traumatize yourself and your baby with a damage-causing, synthetic hormone to unnaturally force the process.  Don't become an industrial birth c-section statistic.  Learn how to birth and choose a midwife who will help you do so successfully.  Learn about VBACs.  Free yourself from birth fear!  
  • Healthy children begin with healthy mamas!  Learn the importance of natural child spacing both for mama's and future children's health.  Understand "second child syndrome"  and how to avoid it.  Embrace traditional wisdom...practice biological breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing. 
  • The pregnant body exhibits wisdom (and heightened protective powers...remember "radar nose?").  Cravings for "pickles and ice cream" may be a long-held cultural joke, but is actually body knowledge brilliance.  Traditionally fermented pickles, a probiotic food, feed our body's beneficial flora, boosting immunity and promoting good flora to pass on to baby...not to mention keeping digestion working well throughout pregnancy.  Natural, old-fashioned, high-fat ice cream made with raw grass-fed whole milk and cream (and preferably honey over refined sugars) is a baby-building superfood, full of necessary fats and minerals.  Such dietary components keep pregnant mamas healthy and comfortable, help to build a healthy baby (bones, brain and gut), and prepare mama for nursing success.  
  • Our hormones are out of whack.  Thyroid and adrenal problems are the "new normal."  Irregular menstrual cycles and infertility are modern dilemmas.  Learn about your endocrine system.  Do a liver cleanse (the liver is an important part of the endocrine system).  Heal your gut.  Dump the drug habits and eat real food, particularly good fats and cholesterol (a "mother" hormone and a basic building block of every cell in your body).  Get more vitamin D (a steroid hormone precursor).  Learn about toxins, how to remove them from your body, and how to avoid them (including electronic pollution and EMF radiation).  During all your childbearing years, eat a nourishing fertility diet (look up the WAPF pregnancy/nursing/fertility diet), including fertility-boosting herbs like red clover.  Study lunaception.  Get more sleep. 
  • Your bowels tell you more about your health than most practitioners can.  Study the Bristol stool chart.  You should be passing a healthy bowel movement daily.  Nausea can be an indication of your need to empty your bowels.  Understand that sluggish and abnormal bowels (stinky, scanty, hard, etc.) contribute to toxicity, inflammation, systemic malfunctions and illness.  Become acquainted with the benefits of water enemas.  Coffee enemas can be used therapeutically; coffee acts differently in the body when used in an enema.  (Please study this first...you use very small amounts of low-roasted coffee for enemas, and sensitive people may not do well with coffee enemas...coffee enemas are serious detox therapy.)  Enemas are a wonderful way to detox.  Don't be squeamish, be a grown up and take care of your health.  Let's raise our kids with comfort and knowledge of natural bodily functions.
  • Body odor and skin condition reveal the status of your body's ecological health...this is gut dysbiosis in play again.  Strong and unpleasant body odor indicates flora imbalances.  Natural hygiene begins with systemic detoxification and gut health.  Skin eruptions (rashes, acne, etc) are also a sign of what is happening in your gut...food sensitivities and gut dysbiosis are the culprits.  Your outside reveals your inside, and the odors emanating from you, as well as the "stuff" erupting on your skin, reveal internal health.  (Bad breath can be microbial overgrowth, but can be exacerbated by dehydration.)
  • Dehydration is deceptively common.  Every cell in your body needs water to survive, let alone thrive.  Your brain will divert water from your other organs to ensure its survival.  The average adult body uses about 64 ounces of water daily just for survival processes.  We must replenish this and more daily.  Constipation, headaches, lethargy, loss of suppleness, blood viscosity, systemic toxic buildups...these and more are common side effects of dehydration.  Read Dr. Batmanghelidj's books and learn about your body's needs and cries for water.  (Always remember to replenish electrolytes, by eating more mineral rich salt.) 
  • Real salt is good for you.  Your body needs mineral-rich real salt.  Study why, and don't deprive yourself!
  • Magnesium is the unsung hero of the mineral world.  Study the effects of magnesium deficiency, and how essential magnesium is to muscles and nerves in your body.
  • Vitamin D!  Sun...pastured lard...oysters...nontoxic cod liver oil.  Vitamin D good, sunscreen bad.  Vitamin D good, synthetic versions bad.  Irradiated sheep lanolin?  Skip it!  Eat D rich foods and bathe in the sun (if you can get any).  Your skin synthesizes vitamin D from sun exposure, which is the best way to get D.  Alas, most of us never get enough D-rich sun.  So be sure to eat good D sources for at least 9 months of the year.
  • Real food matters.  Modern, industrial, chemically produced, synthetic, processed, denatured, neutered frankenfood is destroying our health.  Take responsibility for what you put in your mouth and feed your children.  Cutting corners and cheating will catch up with us.  Pay now or pay later.  Garbage in, garbage out!  
  • Laughter heals!  Among other benefits, laughter releases endorphins, which alleviate pain and speed healing.  (Laboring women should have their husbands tell them jokes...or turn on a Tim Hawkins DVD...especially during transition!)  Studies have shown that a positive outlook has a beneficial impact on illness recovery.  The Bible says that a cheerful heart brings health to the bones!  We all need to lighten up, reduce stress, sleep more, and laugh often (especially at ourselves)!
  • Are we slaves to our genetics?  Are genes immutable?  Seems not...  Study epigenetics and read Pottenger, Price, et al.  Learn how to feed your genes and flip your switches.  Take your future grandchildren's health into your hands now.  We are what we eat.
  • Ailments are never arbitrary.  Everything has a root cause.  Nothing just "happens" for no reason.  Anyone who says otherwise is either uneducated, brainwashed, or lying.  

Well that was a mouthful!  And there is yet so much more I wish I could share...that I wish I had shared.  But I suppose this isn't a bad start for a "consideration and research" list to throw in someone's lap.  For anyone who is still left, I will close with a parting plea...

Bless yourself and your families by taking time everyday to turn off your cell phone (if I could un-invent them, I would), turn off the wifi, walk away from your computer, and pick up a real book (the kind made of paper).  Read, absorb, learn, apply, grow, practice...do the hard work to nourish yourselves: mind, body, soul.  There are no shortcuts.  All choices have consequences: good, bad or ugly.  But we all have much to learn; the process is never-ending, utterly essential, and wonderfully rewarding.  Study to show yourself approved; research until your eyeballs go numb.  Make a difference in your own life, and your children's lives.

Enjoy good health, eat Real Food, use Real Medicine and pursue Real Birth, and may you be blessed by accepting our Creator's blueprint for life.

Thank you for reading!  God bless you!


The more you learn, the more you know...the more you will grow and discern and thrive. Few things in life are as important or empowering as your own knowledge and skills base.

I am currently affiliated with Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite herb supplier, and Amazon. If you make a purchase through one of the links on my site, I will receive a small commission. I do not endorse everything published or sold on the following sites. This information is shared for your edification and education. These are the places I go to learn, shop and savor.

This list is a continual work in progress...

Herbs: Learning and Supplies

Henriette's Herbal picture gallery
Mrs. Grieve's Searchable Herbal

Annie's Remedy Herbal Database
Rosemary Gladstar
The Leaf Lady
The Modern Herbal
Species At-Risk list 
Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy
American Herbalists Guild 
American Botanical Council
MW's Indispensable Herbs List
Learning Herbs (Herb Mentor)
Herbs2000 Database

Herbal Preparations by Herbalist Jim McDonald
Survival Plants Memory Course 
Herbal Reference List
Schulze's Top Ten

Homeopathy Works 
Mountain Rose Herbs (completely organic/wildcrafted...no conventionals)
Wilderness Family Naturals (also sells real food)
Bulk Herb Store

Ancestree Herbals
Urban Moonshine (herbal tonics and bitters)
Live Superfoods
Specialty Bottle
Savvy Teas & Herbs
Aroma Therapeutix (essential oils)

Health & Wellness

HomeFirst with Mayer Eisenstein
Natural News
Journal of Am. College of Nutrition
Weston Price Foundation

Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Free Online
Cholesterol and Health 
Vitamin D Council
Brownstein (Thyroid/Iodine/Salts)

Dr. John Lee, natural hormone therapy 
Lee's Hormone Balance Test
Dr. Lam, Adrenal Fatigue Center
Dr. Wilson's Adrenal Fatigue Program
Adrenal Fatigue Test
Richard Schulze, herbalist/naturopath
Sam Biser, health journalist
Int'l Chiropractic Pediatric Assoc.
Health Freedom USA
Alliance for Natural Health

What Doctors Don't Tell You
Natasha Campbell McBride
The Home Physician (19th Century Encyclopedia)
American Anti-Cancer Institute
Beyond Pesticides

Healing Remedies/Foods/Supplies

Activated Charcoal
Epsom Salt Council
Coconut Oil and Soy Research
Discount Juicers
Radiant Life
Cultures for Health
Live Superfoods
Tropical Traditions (coconut oil and more)

Iodine for Health

Benefits of Coffee Enemas
How and Why to Do Coffee Enema

Real Food

Real Food Media
Naughty Nutritionist 
Urban Homestead
Raw Food Talk
Holistic Kid
Our Nourishing Roots
Salatin's Polyface Farms
Acres USA
Food Renegade

Gapalicious (delicous GAPS eating)
NZ Healthy Kitchen
Nourishing Gourmet
Nourished Kitchen

The Well Fed Homestead
The Healthy Home Economist
Nourishing Cook
Sustainable Farmer

Outdoor Edibles (wild foraging)
Wildman Steve Brill
(foraging for edible plants)

Pregnancy/Birth/Natural Mothering

Spinning Babies (getting baby in proper birth position)
Business of Being Born
Waterbirth Int'l
BMJ Study Homebirth Outcomes
Epidural Epidemic
Mothering Magazine
Ina May Gaskin
The Farm Midwives
Gentle Birth resource
Citizens for Midwifery
Midwifery Today Journal
Mama Natural
Cesarean Rates
The Unnecesarean

Children's Health

Case Against Circumcision
Caring for intact son
Viera Scheibner vaccine/children's health info
Global Vaccine Awareness League
Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute
Russell Blaylock, neurologist warns agains vaccines

International Medical Council on Vaccination 
Vaccine Liberation Index
National Vaccine Info Center

Polio vaccines cause polio paralysis
Suzanne Humphries speaks out against vaccines

UK Doctor Exposes Knowledge of Vaccine Harm
Polish Study: No Historical Benefit from Vaccines
CDC Whistleblower Confesses to Autism Coverup
Vitamin C Treatment of Whooping Cough
Homeopathics as Alternatives to Vaccination
15 Things You Should Know about Being an Anti-Vaxxer
A Case Against Vaccination

Health Dangers/Issues

Roundup Destroys Health
The Real Deal on Adrenal Fatigue
The Impact of Coffee on Your Adrenal Glands
Coffee and Hormones
Dr. Lam's Adrenal Fatigue Center
How to Identify Adrenal Fatigue on Your Blood Test
Adrenal Support 
Dr. John Lee: Progesterone and Wellness
Stop the Thyroid Madness
50 Tips to Help You Reverse Thyroid Disease

Radically Natural Recipe: Winter Spice Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (plus Soaked Steel Cut Oats)

We usually end up with leftover cooked oats on the mornings we eat breakfast porridge.  This recipe (borrowed and tweaked from lifebyjeanie.com) combines leftover cooked oats with gluten free flours and warm wintery spices.  We eat them for breakfast, smeared in butter, but you can eat them as cookies anytime.  They are soft and filling.  Enjoy!

[Fun fact...when made with sunflower butter, your cookies will turn green.  This has happened to me, and I just learned that the odd hue is caused by the sunflowers' chlorophyll reacting with the baking soda.  Check this out.]

Winter Spice Breakfast Cookies

1 cup coconut oil OR 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cut butter OR 1 cup nut butter
3/4 cup raw coconut sugar OR 1/2 cup raw honey
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free flour mix (check out the video below)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tb cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each ginger, nutmeg, cloves (more to taste as desired)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
2 cups cooked soaked oatmeal (recipe below)
4 Tb raw milk OR yogurt

Combine the wet ingredients (not the oats or milk yet) and mix well.  Incorporate the dry ingredients (minus raisins and nibs), then add the milk and the cooked oatmeal.  Finally add the raisins and the cacao nibs.  Mix until well combined.  Spoon onto greased or lined (silpat, parchment) cookie sheets.  Bake at 375º for 12 to 15 minutes.  The cookies will not spread and they will be golden and soft when finished (though thoroughly cooked inside...should not be gummy).

Here is a helpful video tutorial on making your own gluten free flour mix (thanks for the link, Amy!).

Soaked Steel Cut Oats (with cooking shortcut)

I have seen varying NT-style methods for preparing oats.  Here is my method.  If you don't already know why you should soak your oats and other grains (in an acidic medium) before consumption, please read Nourishing Traditions and/or the many available articles on the topic (I'll post a few links below).

Because oats are nearly devoid of phytase, the enzyme activated by soaking that helps to break down phytic acid, it is important to add a small amount of a grain that does contain phytase during your oat soak.  I use buckwheat because it is a gluten-free grain (as are oats when not contaminated).  The ratio is 1 Tb. buckwheat groats to 1 cup oats.  I usually cook steel cut oats for improved nutrient and taste profile.

My current method of "quicker" steel cut oats for breakfast is as follows.  On any given morning, I begin the soaking process by putting my oats and buckwheat into my pot with a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of kefir or a few generous dashes of ACV.  I then fill the pot with nontoxic water, basically in a 2-1 water to grain ratio.  (The oats will expand.)  I allow the oats to soak all day (minimum 12 hours).  Before bed, I rinse the oats with fresh water (some people do, some people don't...), then return them to the pot and cover the oats with water to about one inch above the oats' level.  I turn on the stovetop to medium and bring the oats to a gentle boil.  At that point, I turn off the heat, cover the pot with its lid, and go to bed.  In the morning, the oats will be cooked, having slowly absorbed the liquid overnight, and will only need to be heated before consumption.  I serve with generous amounts of butter, cinnamon, some raisins and raw milk.  Leftover oats are baked into breakfast cookies.

[Some suggest that oats should be soaked for 24 hours.  This is not bad advice.  The longer the soak, the more nutrients become available.  To soak for 24 hours with my method, just start the soaking on Evening A, and rinse and "cook" on Evening B.]

The "Why" of Soaking Grains

Radically Natural Recipe: Potato Chips

Don't eat junk?  Check.  Don't buy processed food?  Double check.  Curious to try a fun, healthy, salty starch snacks post GAPS?  Sure!  Let's make potato chips!

The primary health snafu with commercial potato chips (even those sold at "health" food stores) is the frying fat used.  We know that fake fats and "veggie" oils just aren't good for us.  But they certainly are cheap for commercial production.  If you want to fry foods and avoid deleterious health affects, make your own using real stable fats...saturated fats.  The best choices for potato chips are lard or coconut oil.

It's time-consuming to make your own snacks, but the value of Real Food is undeniable.  And it's fun to get your kids involved...they are learning and they love the eating!  Be particularly attentive, though, when frying with children, as we want to avoid splatter burns.

Tips for Making Potato Chips

Choose the correct potato and slice it thinly.  A floury variety is best for chips, as they have a lower water and sugar content, allowing them to crisp more easily.  Basically, you want a Russett variety.

Use a wok or heavy-bottomed pot for the frying, and have a candy thermometer that can go to 350º F.

Perform a water rinse and vinegar soak on your potato slices, then dry them.  This removes starch and increases crispness in your chips, as well as reducing frying time.

Potato Chips:  The Steps

1.  Slice potatoes thinly, about 1/8" (either a mandoline or food processor work nicely)
2.  Rinse the slices in cold water, filling bowl with water and swishing about the potato slices, then draining water.  Do this multiple times until the water remains clear.  This is helping to remove excess starch for the frying process.
3.  Soak the slices in a vinegar water bath (1/2 cup vinegar to 4 cups water) for up to 2 hours.  This helps to increase crispness during the frying process.
4.  Allow the slices to air dry.  This reduces water content and shortens frying time, encouraging crispness.
5.  Heat about 4 cups of a healthy saturated oil (coconut or lard) in a wok or large, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 300º.  Monitor temperature with a candy thermometer.  The temperature will fluctuate as you add and remove the potatoes, so adjust the heat accordingly.  You don't want the oil so hot that the chips easily burn...I find that temps between 300º and 350º work well.
6.  Using a slotted spoon or Chinese bamboo strainer or other such device, add a group of slices into the pan so that all slices will submerge into the oil.  They will pop upon entry as water leaves the potatoes.
7.  Fry until the chips are done...they will be golden brown and the sizzling/popping noise will cease, indicating the absence of water in the chips.  About 5-6 minutes a batch.
8.  Remove slices (using strainer) to a paper towel-covered plate and season to your desired taste...lots of real salt, surely, and perhaps pepper or a homemade herb or spice blend.
9.  Allow to cool and dry completely before storing in a bag or container to ensure continued crispness.
10.  Save some for the kids!

Radically Natural POV: Beware Flu Shot Pushers!

A few weeks ago, during a drive home from a visit to the coast, we stopped at a Rite Aid so my kids could use the bathroom (yes, I weary of roadtrip gas station bathroom stops).  The available facilities in this store were the employee bathrooms in the back stocking area...you know, behind the double doors ominously marked "Employees ONLY."  As we passed through the doors and walked toward the bathroom hallway, I noticed the following sign:

Ah, the winter "flu shot" vaccine push begins.  And apparently, pharmacies have a quota to fill.  The vaccine industry is a money-making machine, and the Wall Street Journal claims that "pharmacies could use a sales boost," explaining why the stores are rolling out the shots earlier this year.

Traditionally, influenza-vaccination season started in October. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the timing be moved up by a month. Now, the shots are available before Labor Day, mixing it up with suntan lotion and back-to-school supplies. ... The hope is that customers will stop in for a flu shot and pick up shampoo or a gallon of milk.

Certainly by now you have heard and read about the dangers of the non-evidence-based flu shot: its lack of efficacy (ie the "one shot protects from a cornucopia of viral strains" fallacy, and the immunity conferring fallacy), and its damaging effect upon your natural immune system.  Your best bet during flu season is to stay well nourished with Real Food (particularly traditional healing foods like broths and probiotic foods, as well as foods rich in vitamin D and A, like cod liver oil), and to use real botanical medicine (both prophylactically, like elder and echinacea, as well as a variety of illness remedies).

Or, you could trust the illustrious CDC.  Yes, a new chapter of the vaccine controversy became prominent in late August after CDC scientist William Thompson came forward, admitting that the CDC has suppressed data showing a link between autism and vaccines.  The CDC is one of the medical industry's loudest voices in the virulent decrying of doctors and scientists who have for many years questioned vaccine safety and efficacy.

But you can climb that mountain of research.  The question we all should be asking is why these shots are being pushed so aggressively.

To learn more, check out the links below.  

Why We Refuse Vaccination (My research paper)

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine

A Shot Never Worth Taking (Kelly Brogan, MD)

10 Reasons Flu Shots Are Dangerous
Drug Stores Get an Early Start Pushing Flu Shots (WSJ)
Autism Vaccine CoverUp Snowballs (Updates of recent CDC Whistleblower Scandal)
CDC Whistleblower Calls on Congress to Intervene ("I have a boss who is asking me to lie!")
Vaccine-Autism Fraud Revealed

Radically Natural Remedies for Winter Ick

EWW Ailment Treatments List

What? No Bread with That Butter?

People who know me well know me as a butter pusher.  Fat (wonderful fat, nourishing fat, necessary fat, delicious fat, good fat) is the most essential human nutrient, and my favorite fat is pastured butter...homemade from raw grass-fed milk preferably, but hey, that's hard to keep up with 365 days a year...I buy butter, too!  Good butter is so beloved in my household that my younger son likes to give pounds of butter away to special people as gifts...you know he really thinks highly of you when he wants to send you home with some butter.

As my husband and I share with people how important good butter is in the diet and how essential it is to eat lots of it daily, we inevitably hear this question:  How do you eat butter when you don't eat bread?  Granted, we are beginning to eat some homemade sourdough breads of late, but it isn't a regular occurrence; and we were grain-free for two years on the GAPS healing regimen.  So the question remains...how do you eat lots of butter when you don't eat lots of grain-based foods?

I thought I'd enlist my kids to help spread the butter love and share how we eat our butter, hopefully inspiring others to eat more butter without thinking it has to be on bread.  The response I got was funny...my oldest son looked at me, head cocked, eyebrows raised and asked, "What do you mean, people don't know how to eat butter?  You just put it on everything."  I love it!  He is properly butter indoctrinated.

Basically, we just put butter on all our food.  Whatever the meal is that I've prepared, we just top it with butter.  Eggs for breakfast?  Butter them...and the pastured bacon that goes with them.  Steak?  Finish it with a pat of butter.  The accompanying roasted root veggies get buttered, too.  Salmon with carmelized onions and asparagus?  Butter, please!  Roast duck with butternut squash and pureed cauliflower?  How could you not drench with butter?!  We even put butter in our soups...it melts, and it's delicious.

We all know it's important to eat healthy vegetables with our main meals, so if you aren't doing a raw salad, try veggie sautes.  It's a regular standby here, and so easy, nutritious and delicious...just saute onions, garlic, carrots, fennel, summer or winter squash, kale or chard, whatever you have on hand!  When you plate the meal, just add butter!  Steamed veggies?  Of course they love butter.  Oh, how scrumptious veggies are with butter!  If you are eating any form of cooked vegetables, you have a butter vehicle just waiting to be adorned.

I make a lot of one-pot meals with meats (lamb, pork, beef) and veggies...I like fewer pots to clean.  So whether it's Shepherd's Pie or No-Noodle Lasagna or just plain old beef and veggie stir fry, top it off with a spoonful of butter!  Many cultures drizzle all their dishes with olive oil.  We do that, too.  And we also dollop with butter...same concept.

Baked winter squash, baked sweet potatoes, baked all-other-kind-of potatoes, absolutely beg for butter.  And pureed cauliflower spiked with lots of butter (aka GAPS mashed potatoes) is a surefire crowd pleaser.

My kids butter their cheese sometimes.  And when I bake cookies (gluten free at this point), we butter those, too.  My husband likes to eat pick-me-up spoonfuls of butter drizzled with raw honey.  The kids love "chocolate treats," basically butter/cacao mousse.

If you eat grains, all the better to add more butter...rice, quinoa, millet, morning oats...whether plain or pilaf, accompanying grains are always better topped with butter.  Tortillas?  Top with butter, cheese, avocado, salsa, what have you.  Crackers?  Butter them.  Organic popcorn?  Come on, that's an easy one!

So, how do we eat our butter?  Well, I think the better question is how do we not?  (We have yet to dip cold raw veggies in plain butter...though celery sticks with butter and raisins are good.)  The key in my mind is that we are creating meals with Real Food from scratch...and good food begs to be accompanied by good butter.  And olive oil, too...I certainly don't mean to discriminate.  My passion for butter doesn't blind me to the other good fats, we use them all...coconut, lard, duck fat...they all have their place in the kitchen, some for prep, some for finishing.  

But around here, butter reigns supreme.  So grab some grass-fed butter and drip, dollop, scoop, smother...you'll wonder how your meals ever made it to your stomach without butter.

Recipe: GAPS Mashed Potatoes...Pureed Cauliflower

(Super easy, super delicious.  After 6 months on the GAPS protocol, you can barely tell the difference in flavor between this and mashed potatoes...well, we couldn't.  And we took this recipe with us after GAPS, along with many others, because it is just so delicious and nutritious!  It's not really a "GAPS" recipe as much as it's just another way to eat great food.) 

Steam a head or two (depending on size) of cauliflower in water.  When fork tender, put the cauliflower and 1/2 cup of the cooking water into your blender.  Add 1/2 cup butter and some real salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.  You can adjust the amount of liquid to suit the consistency to your taste.

For post-GAPS folks, blend the cauliflower with raw grass-fed milk rather than the cooking liquid, and don't forget lots of butter!...this version is even creamier.  Yum!

Radically Natural Giveaway: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

To celebrate the successful completion of my first academic round of midwifery studies, I am giving away a copy of homebirth guru and midwife extraordinaire Ina May Garten's book, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.

This book is fun, educational, inspirational, and necessary for all pregnant and hope-to-be-pregnant ladies.  I can attribute my least painful and easiest birth to a bit of wisdom I garnered from reading it.  (I'll give you a hint...OPEN...visualize it, say it, be it...)

To enter, just sign in to the Rafflecopter entry below and answer the question...tell me one reason to plan a homebirth.  Thanks for participating and enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Radically Natural POV: Avoiding GMOs Isn't Enough

I've noticed a little trend of late, at our local farmer's market and natural food store.  I'm hearing inklings of a new twist on the search for clean food.  "As long as it's non-GMO, you're OK...just avoid the GMOs."  I have been told that customers are less willing to pay for organic...they only care that the choices are non-GMO...a less expensive option.  It seems like in the careful consumer's search for "affordable" food, GMO avoidance has taken the spotlight and the chemical soup that we have been so ardent to avoid for so long has begun to fade from our fears.

Image from Wikipedia...Gives new meaning to "food safety," eh?
The GMO scare has become such a prominent focus in the Real Food realm that I wonder if we have lost sight of the bigger picture.  Of course we should avoid GMOs, of course they are not safe, of course they are not Real Food.  But the dangers of GMOs are only one part of the picture.  We can't let the GMO spectre overshadow the reality of toxic chemicals in our soil and our food supply.  The use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) and synthetic fertilizers is the cornerstone of industrial farming.  These are the dangerous chemicals that health advocates warned us about so fervently in the past decades (how can we forget Silent Spring?), and we should not lessen our resolve to avoid them now.  Research continues to show that exposure to these chemicals can have serious and lasting health consequences for generations (with an emphasis on negative endocrine effects...ie infertility).

We used to have chickens and ducks.  We currently have goats and pigs.  We know firsthand the costs of organic inputs.  My husband's recent search to find local, less expensive, clean grains to feed the animals we raise for our food has been disheartening.  Most of the growers in our area are using the toxic Agent Orange component, 2,4-D, a carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting herbicide.  One farmer my husband spoke with was quick to claim that his grains were non-GMO, but he admitted he did use 2,4-D...the dangers of which he side-stepped with a bit of spin that sounded like a page out of the county extension agent's handbook.

The move to 2,4-D does not bode well for the future of food.  That herbicide is gaining popularity because it works when Roundup does not.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  We know how toxic Roundup is...but 2,4-D is apparently worse.  (And sold for "home" use as well...let us not forget the toxic lawns that American children play on regularly...2,4-D is one of the most popular lawn herbicides used.)  In fact, Dow and Monsanto have already been seeking governmental approval for their next wave of chemical brews to combat the ever-growing "weed" and pest resistance.  As they all do, this widely used herbicide will contribute to the proliferation of "super weeds," which will herald Big Ag's cry for even stronger poisons.  Where does it end?!

Image from heartlandbeat.com...BigAg food prep.
Perhaps I have an overactive imagination, but I can't help feeling that while the heretofore chemically cautious consumers are being distracted by the evil that is GMOs, the chemical companies are laughing all the way to the bank (as they continue to spread their ever-worsening poisons across America).  Of course, big chem and big biotech go hand in hand, as the increasing use of stronger chemicals is being touted by said industries as necessary for their GM crops.

We need to be wary of losing our original zeal for clean, organic, Real Food.  And because commercial (certified) Organic growers are allowed to use some pesticides (yes, even the synthetic kind), we need to be avid about finding clean food sources or growing our own.  If we become lulled into a false sense of security by focusing solely on GMOs, we will return ourselves to the days of eating poison and paying the piper with our physical demise and our children's compromised health future.  The costs of complacency are too high.  

Yes, truly organic food is more expensive, but what is your health worth?  Your children's health...their brain function, immune function, future fertility?  Why are we fooling ourselves into accepting the industry's chemical brews?  Perhaps we need a reminding nudge about what we are turning a blind eye to...maybe a "light read" of the many legal chemical pesticides available to food producers.  (Lists are published state by state...check out this one for New York).  We need to remind our friends, our families, our neighbors, ourselves that the chemical toxins in the food supply have serious and lasting deleterious health affects.  

Nontoxic food costs more to produce; it costs more to purchase.  But...Pay now or pay later.  Such is the reality of dealing with poisons in our food.

Revival of Highly Toxic Herbicide
Pesticide Action Network: Pesticides on Food
2,4-D Fact Sheet
Farmer Speaks Out Against 2,4-D
Big Ag Doesn't Want You to Care about Pesticides
Pesticide Exposure Linked to Adverse Affects Three Generations Later
Beyond Pesticides (Consumer Safety Organization)

Radically Natural Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream

The intense summer heat, combined with no air conditioning, means one thing around here:  Ice cream for dinner!  Vanilla ice cream requires no use of heat, so it is our crowd's current favorite.  An all-cream (or mostly all cream) version helps keep kids full until morning.  The extra spices enhance the vanilla flavor.  Sometimes we make an eggnog version, sometimes a Mexican vanilla.  Here's our latest iteration.  It is quite rich, so start with small servings.

Real Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

4 cups raw grass-fed cream
1 cup raw grass-fed whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (to your taste, we prefer less sweetness)
4 egg yolks
2 tsp. organic ground vanilla beans (purchase pure vanilla powder from Mtn Rose Herbs or Amazon)
Generous sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg

Gently whisk all ingredients (you don't want to blend or beat, this adds air/foam), then chill mixture for a few hours.  Pour chilled mixture into your running ice cream maker, follow instructions for your unit, and Enjoy!

Radically Natural Recipe: Gelatin Jigglers

Who needs more gelatin in their diet?  We all do!  Gelatin builds collagen in our bodies, and collagen builds our tissues...bone, flesh, cartilage, etc.  Our gut lining needs collagen, our fascia and skin and joints need collagen, our brains need collagen.  We need to be consuming more gelatin, and soups made from homemade broths are not the only way to do it.  

Gelatin makes a wonderfully refreshing, jiggly summer treat (sure, we eat them all year long).  Who needs sugar-ladened, artificially flavored and colored jello?!  Instead, grab some good quality gelatin and make some Real Food jigglers!

Coconut Vanilla Bean Jigglers

2 cans coconut milk
2 Tb. gelatin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
~1/4 cup honey (or less...honey to taste)
optional cut fresh fruit

In a saucepan on low heat, warm the coconut milk and add all the ingredients (except the fruit), whisking vigorously.  Don't let the mixture simmer strongly (if at all), you just want it warm enough for the gelatin to dissolve...this preserves the nutrients of your ingredients.  If you use Jensen's gelatin, this should work without producing clumps.  Great Lakes gelatin works better if you dissolve it in liquid first before adding it to the entire batch for mixing.

Once all ingredients are dissolved and well combined, pour the mixture into a pyrex dish and refrigerate until the gelatin sets (about an hour).  Add your fruit before putting the jiggler mix in the fridge to set.

Hot Cacao Jigglers

(aka "Mama Medicine" Jigglers because of the addition of maca, a wonderfully adaptogenic botanical that helps our adrenal system)

2 cups raw grass-fed milk
2 Tb. raw honey (or honey to taste)
1 1/2 Tb. raw cacao powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla bean powder
1 Tb. maca powder
1 1/2 Tb. gelatin 

Same directions as above.

The key to jiggler success is remembering that 1 Tb. of gelatin gels a pint of liquid.  Results may vary depending upon your ingredients and the ambient temperature in your home.  Experiment with your own flavor combinations and have your kids help.  It's fun and easy to make jigglers, which is nice considering how quickly they get devoured!!  

Radically Natural POV: Teach Your Children the Three Rs

I once heard a wise man say that if you have children, you are a parent.  It's more profound than it sounds, isn't it?  Being a parent is your number-one, full-time job...it is your life's calling.  Everything else is secondary to it.  And the beautiful privilege and weighty responsibility of any parent is to raise adults...to make people...intelligent, creative, caring, thinking, balanced, self-sufficient, happy, healthy people.  When our children leave our nests, they take with them the bodies we have made for them, the spirits we have nurtured in them, the perspectives we have imparted, and whatever education and indoctrination they received during their formative years...from us and from others.

We parents desire to see our children master the basics of education...the three Rs of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic...as well as the other subjects that add enrichment to their understanding of life and the world in which we live.  Should we not also desire that they excel in the basics of healthy, nourishing life skills?  If we send our children out into the world without full knowledge of health and wellness, are they truly educated and ready to care for themselves and their future families?  It is essential that we actively teach our children the three Rs of healthy natural living:  Real Food, Real Medicine and Real Birth.

I used to believe that my children would just absorb, as through osmosis, the knowledge and lifestyle my husband and I model for them...that they would seamlessly adopt our nourishing and healing lifestyle.  But if we expect children to grow in wisdom and understanding, we must instruct them.  Anything worth knowing and worth doing is worth studying.  Children need to be actively taught so they will be firmly established in correct knowledge and practices.  Whether it be faith, academics, arts, music and craftsmanship, or nurturing health habits, instruction is key to developing worthwhile skills and lasting principles.

There is a war on for our children's minds and their future consumerist habits.  The industrial models of food and medicine reign supreme as the established default position in our modern culture.  If our children are not firmly entrenched in truth, which path will they choose?  If we don't equip them with the tools of knowledge and skills, they may fall prey to our society's "trust the experts" conventional mindset.  We don't want our children to be intellectually illiterate...neither should we allow them to be "healthily" illiterate.  If we don't actively choose an alternate path...seek ancient and traditional and sensical and natural (and somewhere-buried instinctual) wisdom...we all end up on the Standard American Diet and our culture's standard of health care and birth practices.  It is simply the truth of cultural influence, conventional education, and the prevailing established industries.  [For example: Despite a cornucopia of evidence to the contrary, we still live in a society where most conventionally trained dietitians and medical students are still taught the lipid hypothesis and the S.A.D. basics of macronutrient theory.  They don't distinguish between high fructose corn syrup and honey, hydrogenated soy oil and butter...they play a numbers game.  If the label shows the right percentages of fat, sugar, protein, and a sundry list of vitamins, that's all that matters.  Food source and preparation technique is largely irrelevant.  They remain willfully ignorant of the fact that industrial, synthetic, refined, processed edible goods are not Food.]

Why would we sacrificially and lovingly invest our time and effort for the benefit of our children (from conception)...to protect their health and work to establish a strong physical foundation for their future lives...only to have them leave our home and go on to poison themselves with a conventional industrial life of synthetic food and medicine and fear-based practices?  It is our duty to make sure they fully comprehend the principles of genuine health and nourishment on which we raised them.  If we neglect to actively educate them about the benefits and value of traditional healthy living, can we assume they are invested in pursuing the right choices?  They need to understand...before they are autonomous...the why and the how of nourishing and healing.  If we care about our children, we desire for them good and not ill.  We want to make sure they care and that they are capable and that they desire spouses also "in the know."  Because we will certainly want the same good for our grandchildren that we desired for our children.

Many of us are pioneers in this real food, real health realm.  When I left my parents' home, I was a "dumb cluck."  I knew nothing about being a wife and mother, about food and health.  My husband and I were blessed to grow together in our knowledge as I was mentored by older women who knew better and lived better.  Before I became enlightened to the truth about nourishment and real healing, I continued to perpetrate the damage to my body that was begun in my childhood.  I know firsthand how terribly difficult it is to reverse long-established chronic health problems.  I know firsthand the effects of industrial food and medicine.  I have suffered "garbage in, garbage out."  When I learned what it meant to heal, how to do the hard work to try to reverse ailments, how to create healthy bodies from before conception, I dedicated myself to a new...a better...way of living.  Would I want any less for my children?  I am creating for them a legacy and I desire to see them carry the mantle forward when they are no longer under my direct care.  I want more for my children, so I do the work for them now.  And I expect more from my children in their future choices because they were raised in this healing lifestyle.  They are being reared with a proper perspective on food and healing...much is being invested into creating for them strong and healthy bodies.  They are being given a foundation for their futures.  They are being given the precious gift of good health.  Their quality of life, their abilities to achieve and to conquer and to create and to enjoy life, depends upon maintaining good health (physically, mentally and spiritually).  Our children need to apprehend and adopt the path of nurturing upon which we have set them.  They don't get to play dumb cluck when they graduate into adulthood and leave our homes.  They are leaps ahead of where most of us were in our youth, and they need to understand how good they have it, how well nurtured they have been, and how grateful they should be to have the opportunity to experience life from a platform of health and wellness.

Whether you homeschool or not, you can teach your children the skills and knowledge they need to sustain the healthy lifestyle you are working so hard to establish for them.  Talk to your children about the choices you have made for yourself and for them.  Explain sowing and reaping.  And when they are old enough, assign your children reading materials that teach the principles of Real Food, Real Medicine, Real Birth.   Our children should be prepared to cook traditional nourishing food for themselves.  They should understand holistic physiology and know basic botanical medicine so they can successfully deal with ailments and minor emergencies.  And should they need deeper assistance dealing with disease or extreme acute trauma, they should know how, when, why and from whom to seek help.  They should understand a nourishing fertility diet, and comprehend the truth behind our profit-driven technocratic birth industry.  They should know why homebirth actually is safer for the majority of women and babies.  They should know how to avoid being victimized by industrial medical protocols.

Teach your children well...train them now, and when they grow older they will be prepared to thrive.  Don't leave it up to chance.  Whatever you want your children to know, give them opportunities to explore and acquire foundational knowledge.  Make them active participants in their own healing and nourishing.  Don't just serve them, teach them to minister to themselves and to others.  Make it fun, make it appealing, and make sure they understand why we do what we do.

Young children can begin to learn the basics of how the body works, how it is amazingly self-healing when treated properly... they can begin to learn about healing plants, and good vs. bad foods.  They can be given the default position that women's bodies were made to have babies and that is not a scary or impossible thing.  By the time they are in high school, children should have a basic food and healing curriculum that includes topics on traditional nourishing foods; how diet affects growth and degeneration, wellness or illness; the truth about fat and cholesterol; basic anatomy and physiology from a holistic perspective; botanical medicine; natural birth; and food and medical politics and history.

We work diligently so our babies and children are spared the devastation that the alternatives to nourishing food and botanical medicine can wreak.  We are protecting our children from the S.A.D life that greedy corporations wish they would live.  Let us not take for granted that our children will vicariously adopt our nurturing guiding principles.  Let us actively instruct them so they will not fall prey to the mistaken elitist notion that they need some expert to take care of them or control them.  Let us teach them that they can and should take charge of their own health and make their own nourishing meals and apply their own healing remedies.  Let us be proactive in giving our children the tools and education they need to understand why and how they should do the rewarding work required to pursue and enjoy the naturally nourishing, healing lifestyle.

Some References for Getting Started

Radically Natural Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

What do you do when summer arrives early, you live in an attic with no A/C, and you have goat milk coming out your ears because all four of your does ended up kidding at the same time?

You make ice cream!

Of course, it helps when you have a friend with a Guernsey cow that provides luscious, luxuriously thick cream.  Raw grass-fed cow's cream in combination with raw browse-fed naturally homogenized creamy goat milk makes deliciously decadent ice cream.

I purchased a Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker last month so we could put all our goat milk to work.  I really prefer the density of gelato to the air-whipped lightness of ice cream.  I also desire that my ice cream remain raw and contain multiple pastured egg yolks, so I can use it as a nourishing health food.  I'm working on creating a gelato consistency using the Cuisinart, and I'm getting close to a consistency I like.  But to achieve said consistency, a cooked custard must be created for the gelato base.  So I'm experimenting with various times and temperatures for the custard phase to balance my dual desires of consistency and rawness.

I've experimented with a completely raw vanilla bean ice cream, raw egg nog ice cream, and chocolate gelato-like ice cream.  Since I rarely measure when I create in the kitchen, the batches vary in flavor consistency.  But no one has complained yet!  I did promise a dear friend, however, that I would develop and share our current favorite, a dark chocolate, cinnamon-spiced gelato-like ice cream.  So I made a batch with measurements, and I now share with you my current working recipe.  Your consistency will vary depending upon the type of milk you use (if you don't have access to goat milk, you will need to add more cream and less milk for a thick, creamy ice cream), and your ingredient amounts may vary depending on your taste and the quality of your inputs (I recommend purchasing cinnamon and vanilla from Mountain Rose Herbs and I love the Earth Circle Organics raw cacao powder).

[Caveat number one:  I have found that my "DIY at home" ice cream maker doesn't produce ice cream of store-bought consistency.  But I much prefer a natural raw ice cream to the adulterated products offered commercially.  Maybe mine is softer, but it's so much healthier and so delicious...so who cares about stabilizer-filler-induced consistency?  If you can't afford a commercial compression machine, this isn't a bad alternative.  Caveat number two:  If you purchase through product links here, I can earn a small commission.  And I thank you, because that would be a great help to me.]

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

In a medium-sized saucepan, gently heat (just under a simmer) until well mixed and slightly thickened:

  • 3 cups raw goat milk
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 Tb. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs (lightly whipped with fork before adding)
  • dash salt

In a separate bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 1/2 cups raw cream
  • 4 pastured egg yolks

Pour cacao custard mixture into cream/yolk mixture, whisk well to combine.  Your custard will be liquid-y, but thicker than milk consistency.  Place custard into refrigerator for a few hours to chill, or place in freezer for a shorter period of time...check to make sure it is chilled quite cold before you make the ice cream.

To make the ice cream, follow your machine's instructions, pouring the appropriate amount of custard into your machine (mine is 6 cups) and running it for the requisite time (about 25 minutes).  You'll need to understand how your machine works to decide when your ice cream is finished, but the consistency will likely be soft like frozen yogurt, or like a really thick milk shake.  When the process is complete, remove the ice cream from the bowl into another container and place in freezer for a little while to firm it up before serving.  If you freeze the ice cream completely, it will become much harder.

Play with the ratios and flavors and Enjoy!

Radically Natural POV: Reviving Interest in the Vanishing Handcrafts

The radically natural life is not merely how we eat and what modalities we use for healing.  It encompasses how we think, how we learn, how we create, what we believe.  It is our worldview, our values, our practices, our pursuits...

Being radically natural includes embracing valuable, beautiful, wholesome "old ways" and traditions (bringing with them satisfying labors), and (as much as possible) rejecting modern entrapments, attitudes and lifestyles that lead to the damage of our bodies and dulling of our souls.

One of my family's passions is the art of craftsmanship.  Longtime art festival aficionados and passionate pursuers of the DIY life, we continually seek to make arts and craftmanship a part of our family's paradigm.  We have not yet acquired all the skills, but we enjoy learning about them.  Woodworking, block silk printing, quilting, boat building, lacemaking, bladesmithing, basket making, wool spinning, timberframing, saddlery, cloth weaving, butter/cheese making, tailoring, leather working, pottery, etc.  Artistic, old world, hand-crafted goods and labors...skills that are fading terrifyingly quickly in our modern, industrial, disposable, cheap-consumer-good, Walmart-world society.  Will we live to see a day where humans have lost these skills altogether?  Where we as a society have no ability to create high quality hand-made goods?  Where people simply don't care and won't understand the difference?  God forbid!

Some years ago, my husband discovered a simple but profound treatise touching on the topic, Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft.  Not long after that, we stumbled upon a documentary series shot in Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s, called Hands.  These priceless episodes showcase a variety of the (now fading) hand crafts that once proliferated Ireland...and much of the world.  Our family watches an episode or two every Friday evening.  We all look forward eagerly to our Friday night Hands sessions. Our children (ages 4 to 14) all enjoy the show, constantly expressing an eagerness to learn each skill or pursue each art presented (we parents echo the enthusiasm, though ours is slightly tempered by adult acknowledgment of certain limitations on time and resources).

Watching these videos, knowing that most of the crafts presented and the craftsmen and artists who offered them have most likely gone the way of the dinosaur, brings me to tears.  But I beam when I hear my children say, "Oh, I love this!  I want to be a (fill in the blank...potter, cooper, boat builder, linen weaver, silversmith...what have you) someday!!"  Perhaps they will.  I hope we all acquire at least passing proficiency in some of the many talents and practices exhibited.

Hands is a historical treasure and an aesthetic delight.  Capturing the beauty of the Emerald Isle and set to its traditional tunes, Hands' 14 discs highlight and explore a plethora of nearly lost handcrafts and practices, reminding us of the scope, beauty, intricacy and simplicity of the accomplishments of human hands.

[I make no money from recommending this series, I just love it and believe we all should find inspiration in the magnificence and excellence of human craftsmanship.]

Radically Natural Recipe: Sourdough Brownies

I made sourdough brownies for my eldest son's recent birthday.  To be honest, the consistency was far more cake-y than chewy, thick brownie.  But my kids were ecstatic to partake of the celebratory delight and not a one of them complained about the finished product.  

This recipe was one of the highlights in our continuing saga of post-GAPS "are our guts ready for NT-style grains?"  The jury is still out on our healing quest's end game...more on that in weeks to come.  But for those of you who tolerate and enjoy properly prepared grain goodies, here is a recipe to try.  Just remember me by adding extra cinnamon love!

In the following recipe, I use The Grainery's raw cacao paste, which you can purchase from Azure Standard Co-op.  This paste is similar in texture and taste to unsweetened baking chocolate, but the paste is pure cacao bean/nibs ground into liquid and then solidified at room temperature.  Baking chocolate may be an undesirable choice, depending on the ingredients/source.  Baking chocolates contain soy lecithin, and some contain sugar.  Pure cacao paste is just that.

This recipe is inspired by the Cultures for Health recipe of the same name.  

Sourdough Brownies

4 oz. cacao paste 
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups honey
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tb. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sprouted flour of your choice (preferably low gluten, or ancient grain variety.  I used a mixture of Kamut and Einkorn)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

  • Melt cacao in double boiler, low to medium heat.  Pour in the hot water, mix.  Stir in baking soda until mixture is foamy.  Set cacao mixture aside to cool (should be warm, not hot).
  • Cream together butter/coconut oil and honey.  Add eggs, mix well.
  • Add vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate mixture.
  • Slowly add flour and salt.
  • Add sourdough starter.  Fold to combine gently.
  • Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan.  Allow batter to rise in a warm spot for 1/2 hour.
  • Bake brownies at 350º for 30 to 40 minutes (test with toothpick for doneness).

Top with raw whipped cream and enjoy!

Radically Natural Recipes: Pit Powder

While it has become common knowledge among women who care that many commercial anti-perspirant/deodorants should be avoided for their inclusion of aluminum, it is less common for women to understand that using commercial anti-perspirants at all is undesirable.  Blocking the sweat glands under the arms contributes to clogging the lymphs located there, which can increase toxic buildup in said glands.  We need to sweat...it is an essential component is detoxification.  To keep your lymphatic system running cleanly, ditch your anti-perspirant and use the natural solution:  coconut oil and "pit powder."

Coconut oil is a wonderful "deodorant," as it is naturally anti-microbial/anti-fungal.  These properties aid in destroying the stench-causing microbes that live on your skin.  Added bonus: coconut oil heals chafing and creates baby-smooth skin.  I use it plain as my facial moisturizer, and as a base in homemade lotions.  Coconut oil is a veritable face and body healing/beauty balm.

I shower in the evening...love to go to bed squeaky clean.  I apply coconut oil liberally after the shower, including under my arms.  In the morning, I apply pit powder.  It's really not necessary, I find, to apply the powder at night before bed.  I also don't need to reapply coconut oil in the morning.  This system works for me.  You can play with it and see what combination works for you.  

(Health FYI: body odor is directly connected to

gut dysbiosis and pathogen load

.  You will notice significant decreases in body odor and bad breath after doing gut healing and anti-candida protocols.  You eliminate toxins through your sweat; this is a necessary and beneficial bodily function.  When you are systemically imbalanced and toxic, your eliminations smell bad.  Learn more from the links below.)

Making your own pit powder is ridiculously simple.  The ingredients help to absorb odors and sweat.  It is not a bullet-proof formula by any means, and it won't stop sweat the way chemical formulations do.  But remember, we need to sweat.  And, whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream.  So a little less-stinky sweat is better than using chemical cloggers.

To make pit powder

Mix equal parts:

  • Baking soda 
  • Bentonite clay (I like Pascalite)
  • Arrowroot powder 

I make a large batch and store it in a half-gallon mason jar.  I transfer smaller amounts into shaker jars for application.  Into

one cup of pit powder, I add 10 drops of whatever essential oils

suit my fancy.  Stir well and cap.  To use, just sprinkle powder in the palm of your hand and apply as needed.  A little natural moisture does help the powder to "set," so if your pits are bone dry, you might apply a thin layer of coconut oil first.

(This post is shared at

Real Food Wednesday

, check out the great links there!)

Read More

What in Your Bathroom Is Making You Sick?

You Detox Through Your Armpits

Radically Natural Recipe: How to Butter a Biscuit

I made biscuits the other night for dinner, to accompany beef broccoli soup.  Our middle son, affectionately known as the butter fiend, demonstrated for us the proper way to apply butter to bread.  (Pardon the deficient photo, but I can assure you that all sides and the innards were coated.)  Note the tooth marks.  Dear Weston would be proud, I dare say? 

Soaked Sprouted Biscuits

3 1/2 cups sprouted grain (I used spelt)
2 cups raw kefir
4 T. melted butter/coconut oil/lard (I used coconut oil and butter)
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. baking soda

  • Mix flour with kefir, add remaining ingredients and blend into smooth dough.
  • Allow to sit for a few hours if possible.
  • Roll out on floured surface, cut out with biscuit cutter or a glass.
  • Alternately take pieces of dough, roll balls in palm of hand and flatten on baking tray (these are less attractive, but get the job done).
  • Bake on buttered baking sheet or use liner (silpat or parchment paper), 350º for about 40 minutes.

Lather with butter and enjoy!

This was one of our "leaving GAPS" grain trials.  No one reacted badly to the biscuits except for me...but when the kids can tolerate a food, I cry success!  I am testing about three grain foods a week, making sure they are soaked and/or sprouted.  

Radically Natural POV: A GAPS Testimony

My family's GAPS journey has been very educational, quite beneficial and certainly enlightening. We are currently phasing out of GAPS and testing appropriately prepared grains (a la the NT methods). I will write soon about those experiences.

Until then, I want to share the personal testimony of a good friend (kind of like a daughter to me) who decided last summer to pursue the GAPS protocol...for both she and her husband. The following is her story (yes, I'm the pushy wife she mentions, LOL):

I was raised on genetically modified food (GMOs), industrial food, and pesticide-laden "food," including but not limited to: box cereal, skim milk, Kid Cuisine frozen dinners, Easy Mac, hot dogs, nachos, McDonald's Happy Meals, and Pepsi and Dr Pepper. Growing up with a single mom, I was often left with no other choice, as she could not afford any other food...granted, she didn't KNOW there were other options.

In contrast, how many of us know of the dangers around us, disguising itself as "food," yet choose to turn our head the other way? What have we come to?

I would like to think ignorance is bliss, but unfortunately, I am becoming more convinced that we are willingly killing ourselves slowly in the name of "convenience." What is the message our culture believes? That there is nothing more convenient than driving your car up to a window and ordering packaged meals to feed the whole family for less than $20. We've convinced ourselves that we don't have time to actually prepare and cook food these days. Most people don't do it, so most people don't know how much time it takes to prepare a home-cooked, nutritious, Real Food meal. I would venture to say it is twice, if not three times, as long to prepare one meal compared with a drive-thru window.

But why would we willingly put something into our mouths...and worse, feed it to our children...if we are completely blind as to what the ingredients are? Do we trust our government and the food industry so much that we are willing to let them dictate what we can and cannot place inside our bodies? Apparently so, myself included.

This is my story. I already spoke of what I was raised eating, so fast forward to college. Broke college students can't afford Real Food, right? Right. The stereotypical "ramen noodle" college student didn't apply to me, but pasteurized cheese, Saltines, sandwich meat, white bread, pasteurized cottage cheese, corn chips and salsa, and box cereal/oatmeal did. Fried chicken and fries when going out to eat with friends, or gallons of coffee for pulling all-nighters. Birth control pills, NSAIDs, Sonic Happy Hour every day (medium cherry vanilla Dr Pepper!), and NyQuil. Stress and class deadlines. Those were my typical inputs.

And the effects on my body? Sore throats, mucus drainage every morning, flu every year, and tonsillitis. I simply believed it was the "norm" for a college student to never get enough sleep, to always be sick, and to drink coffee. Little did I know, I was killing myself slowly (trying not be TOO dramatic). Sure, I'm still alive, but not in optimum health and am diligently working to undo all of the damage I have done the last 25 years of my life - some self-inflicted, some not. Sure, I would exercise, and try to pay attention to how much food I was eating, but fundamentally, I was malnourished. I was trying to compensate for my malnourishment by exercise, while paying little attention to WHAT I put into my body. I was focused on the "how much," not the "what."

Fast forward to marriage as my husband and I were confused about nutrition and eating habits, but also wanted to save money. We ate lots and lots of tofu, and ate out a lot when it was cheap (99 cent tacos and burritos!). Four months into our marriage, a positive pregnancy test ended in a "late period" four days later. This would be our first miscarriage, but we had no thought of what we might be able to do to change anything. Two months later, we met a couple who was serious about the GAPS protocol and suggested that if we did GAPS, it could help my fertility problems.

We kept that in the back of our minds, and learned and read about it, but we were so addicted to our sugar, our convenience, and our industrial food dependence that it took us nine more months before we committed to GAPS. We slowly started weaning ourselves off soda first of all, by replacing it with Kombucha. We then stopped eating out, and I started learning to cook at home. Within a whirlwind of Nourishing Traditions, GAPS, this couple pushing us to wean ourselves from our dependence of detrimental substances, and developing a relationship with the wife who would ultimately push us off of the cliff into GAPS land, we jumped in.

We started GAPS Intro for the first time 7 months ago. I experienced die off, suffering terrible dry mouth and bouts of brain fog. My mucus production decreased significantly, and my husband's eczema flared up and cleared (in a continuous flare up pattern). For the first time in my life, I was aware of my body and what I was placing into my mouth.

I recently heard this saying: "Everything you put in your body is helping you fight disease or giving you disease." In all my 25 years of life, I had never once given thought to that concept. Now I do. I now think, what will this do to my body if I eat it? Is this meant to be inside of me? Will this nourish me? Will this make me sick?

Two weeks into GAPS Intro, a positive pregnancy test led to another miscarriage eight weeks later. This would be our second miscarriage in almost 2 years of marriage. But it was my first pregnancy in more than a year, and I take that as a positive sign.

I do not tell you about my two miscarriages for sympathy, but to explain that my carelessness in what I have fed myself (and what I was fed growing up) led me to these fertility difficulties. I have suffered two miscarriages, low thyroid, mucus drainage, adrenal fatigue, infertility, highly abnormal cycles, and who knows what else...

On the bright side, I have lost 20 pounds, and my husband has now lost 60 pounds, by simply transitioning into GAPS Intro and Full GAPS en route to a traditional nourishing diet lifestyle. We feel ourselves detoxifying. And I have learned so much! I never knew that nightshades make my nose run and my husband's eczema flare up, that beans are NOT supposed to make you gassy, that you ARE supposed to have a daily bowel movement, and that it does matter what your stools look like! I never knew that gluten could cause sinus infections, or that sugar could make my tonsils swell and mucus drain. I never knew that what I was eating and drinking, all along, was actually hindering my future to bear and raise children.

I never knew that it actually mattered what you put into your body; I just thought it was how much you put in (caloric intake). I never knew macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, protein) were not what nourishes you, but that whole Real Foods do. And that it is saturated fat (coconut oil, palm oil, nuts, olive oil, animal fats) that nourishes your hormones, cells, brain, heart, and all bodily systems.

I never knew that it wasn't normal to be sick. I never knew that God wanted me to be healthy and well. Most of all, I never knew that I was shaving time off my lifespan, simply by being ignorant (willfully or not) of what I chose to place into my mouth.

My challenge to you is this: pay attention to what you eat. Sacrifice for yourself, your family, and your home. Desire that everyone in your family be well! Think for yourself. Learn. Read. And do what is best for your body, your loved ones, and yours and their future health. You will learn and grow more than you can ever imagine.

I don't know if I will bear children in the future, but I do know that this journey I am on is not a mistake. I will diligently pursue this course until my body is healed, and I have undone all the self-inflicted damage I can.

Vaccination and the "Scientific Method"

I read this week one of the most succinct, thoroughly researched presentations on the continually raging vaccine controversy.  I wish I had written it!  LOL 

The author highlighted numerous important aspects of this issue, including individual rights, medical efficacy and scientific veracity.  She echoed sentiments and research I have presented, and she emphasized a key component to the controversy: the illegitimate "scientific method" used in vaccine safety trials.  The double-blind placebo controlled trial is the empirical standard of medical science.  But vaccine trials don't use this method.  

You see, vaccines are not research effective because they are not subjected to double-blind placebo controlled studies using a saline solution that is the standard for evidence-based medicine. Vaccinations are tested against other vaccinations, adjuvants, and complex vaccinations – this not only yields inaccurate results but altered and inaccurate safety data. How can you know if something is truly safe if it is not tested against a placebo? -- Megan Heimer, Livingwhole.org
It seems to me that even people who trust that pharma companies are using honest, objective scientific methodology to test their drugs (I am not one of those people) would assent to the falsity of the vaccine safety test methods.  Other drugs are not (supposed to be) tested thus.

Some people might agree with the unscientific vaccine testing protocol, excusing it by saying it would be "unethical" to withhold a "necessary" medicine from a child (I read this in the comments section on Megan's post).  Hmmmm...are vaccines truly necessary?  The jury is certainly out on that one.  Consider that there are thousands of unvaccinated children in this country alone...many of them by parental choice...not to mention the unvaccinated adults.  No child died after a well-check from not receiving a vaccine, but children have died after receiving their vaccines.  I do not believe it is acutely life threatening to withhold a vaccine, so a legitimate study, even a short-term acute reaction study, could certainly be done.  

Kudos to Megan for her Response to Eliminating Vaccine Exemptions!  

Radically Natural Remedies: Tincture Making 101

Information abounds online about how to make herbal tinctures.  At the risk of re-inventing the wheel, I wanted to share my basic "quick" method for tincture making.  Creating herbal medicine is both an art and a science.  Various schools of thought exist regarding tincture making and achieving consistent and efficacious potencies.  To learn the secrets of master herbalists and achieve greater botanical medicine wisdom, please study the resources I'll list at the bottom of the post.

This is my alcohol tincture method (most herbalists use the term "tincture" to mean an alcohol extraction)...glycerites are another form of herbal extraction and will be another post for another day.  Why do we tincture in alcohol?  Some botanical constituents are not easily released into water (such as alkaloids, essential oils, resins, etc.); alcohol is the best solvent for extraction.  Alcohol is also a natural preservative, extending shelf life of your tincture.  And, alcohol as a vehicle gets the medicine into the bloodstream and directly to the liver fairly quickly.  The amount of alcohol you ingest when dosing with tinctures is fairly low, and lower still if you dilute your tincture in water when taking it.

When tincturing with alcohol, you want your menstrum (that's the liquid you use for tincturing the herbs) to be at least 40% alcohol, so an 80 proof vodka or brandy is a good choice (proof is the measurement of ethanol in an alcoholic beverage).  I want to use the best quality alcohol I can find when making medicine.  I want to avoid GMOs in my medicine, to say the least.  Because vodka is made from grains, the GMO concern is very real, not to mention the horrors of chemical farming.  Brandy is made from grapes, but I have little expectation that those grapes are not chemically treated in some way (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc).  I have researched organic alcohol options, but found that the shipping to receive the product costs as much as the product itself, making organic a very expensive option.  My compromise has been to use vodka brands that claim to be GMO-free and alternate vodka with brandy. It's not a perfect solution; if you can't afford organic alcohol, you'll need to choose your rock or hard place, or distill your own alcohol.  LOL

When tincturing your herbs, you want to maximize release of the botanical constituents.  If you are using bark, roots and hard bits, you will end up with more potent medicine more quickly if you grind or blend those bits first.  This allows the plant matter to more efficiently release medicinal and nutritional constituents into the menstrum.  If using leaves and flowers, this step is not necessary, but would not be harmful in the least.

Directions are slightly different when using fresh plant material versus dried because of the amount of water naturally occurring in fresh plant matter.  Fresh herbs require a higher alcohol content because the water released by the herb while tincturing will dilute the menstrum.  Some herbs are more effective if tinctured with fresh material (like Shepherd's Purse, a hemostatic herb), while some react better after drying (like Hops, a sedative herb).  To learn more, see the resources below.  Learning to identify and wildcraft herbs is a wonderful activity, as is growing your own herbs; if you do not have access to good herbs, ordering them from a reputable supplier like Mountain Rose Herbs is your best option.

Herbal Tincture How-To

  • If using fresh plants, tear/chop your fresh leaves/flowers into little bits and stuff a quart mason jar 3/4 full.  If using fresh roots/bark, first grind them and fill jar only halfway (these plant parts will expand in the menstrum).  For dried leaves/flowers, fill jar only halfway (crumble leaves/flowers into small bits).  Dried roots/bark should be ground first; fill jar up to 1/3 full (expect some swelling).
  • For fresh plant matter, use minimum 100 proof alcohol; for dried plant matter, use minimum 80 proof alcohol.  Pour alcohol into jar, almost to top...leave an inch of breathing room, but make sure all plant matter is covered.  Place lid firmly on jar.
  • Label jar with herb name and date; place in dark, cool place for 6 weeks minimum (the longer the herbs tincture, the more potent the medicine will be).  Check jar to make sure herb matter hasn't swollen too much, requiring more menstrum.  The herb matter should be moving freely within the menstrum in your jar when you shake it.
  • Give your jar a good shake every day.
  • When ready, strain the liquid out of the herbs (using a potato ricer, or pouring the tincture through cheesecloth into a bowl/large pyrex measuring cup...squeeze as much liquid out as possible).  Bottle your tincture; store it in a cool, dark place...it should last for years, though potency fades over time.

To Learn More

Making Fresh Herb Tinctures
Mountain Rose Herbs Guide to Making Tinctures
Making a Tincture by Susun Weed
HerbPharm FAQ about Tinctures

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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