5 Tips To Try Going Natural

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By guest blogger Katherine Petrunia, The Pampered Baby

For the past few years I have been trying to remove as many chemicals from our home and go as natural as possible. And I’ll be honest, it is a process, but one that is totally worth it. I started by rethinking the foods we eat and the products that get used a lot. Things like laundry detergent, cleaning products, and personal products such as diaper cream, bath wash, and makeup have been replaced and I’m slowly kicking more to the curb as I find natural options that work.

I get it, for some this may be a little on the crunchy side. Call me a granola girl, but I’ve adopted a way more ‘buyer beware’ approach when it comes to the food my family eats and the products we buy. This is especially true when it comes to my kids. Just because something says ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ doesn’t guarantee it’s quality- you have to read the ingredients and learn a little bit about what to look out for before you can be convinced that the product in your hand lives up to it’s claims. A lot of products use clever marketing jargon to grab our attention, when really they’re just as bad as the brands we’re trying to replace. Some products I’ve replaced with different brands, while others I have found homemade options that work great; this is true for both food items and household products.

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Like I said, I get most upset when it comes to products for babies and kids. They don’t know any better and have no choice; they rely on us to make decisions for them, and tricking parents into thinking that a product is safe and natural when it isn’t is downright crappy. If you suffer from allergies, have sensitive skin, are prone to headaches, or suffer from other chronic or mysterious ailments, instead of looking in your medicine cabinet for the answer, you should take a look at the products you use everyday and the food you eat (who hasn’t heard the saying, you are what you eat?). What you find out might scare you, but the good news is that there’s an easy fix. If going the homemade route isn’t for you, there are plenty of great options out there worth a try. If you’re interested in trying to go more natural and chemical free in your home, I’ve provided some simple tips below to help get you started.

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5 Tips to Try Going Natural

  1. Start by looking at the label.This applies to the food you eat and the products you buy. Look in your cupboards and pick a few items you use everyday- a go- to snack, a cleaning product, etc- and look at the ingredients list. When you stop recognizing things and/ or can’t pronounce them, that’s usually a good indicator that they fall under the ‘baddie’ category. In foods, look for artificial anything, common GMO ingredients such as soy, corn, and nuts, preservatives, dyes, and high- fructose corn syrup for starters. When it comes to household products, look for ingredients such as sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, parfum, and parabens. There are others to keep an eye out for, but these are some commonly found ingredients that might have you re- thinking purchases next time you’re at the grocery store!
  2. Do some research. Depending what your end goal is- do you want to have more energy, help sooth a health concern, or just embrace a more natural lifestyle as a whole?- you can figure out what area to address first. If you already eat pretty healthy, trying to put your home on a chemical cleanse may be the best place to start. Conversely, if you are guilty of snacking on processed foods and pop, rethinking the food you eat might be the better choice. Once you know where you want to start, have a look online for some ideas to try; look up some recipes that swap out unhealthy ingredients for nutrient- packed ones, or make a grocery list of cleaning ingredients to stock up on. There’s nothing wrong with baby steps and taking it slow as you make adjustments.
  3. Pick one thing to focus on at a time. It can be overwhelming trying to do everything at once, so pick one or a few things to focus on at any one time. Like I said, food was one of the first major overhauls I did, followed by commonly used products like laundry detergent and cleaning products. Once you start getting used to the changes and gain confidence, the process will become easier and easier. There are plenty of great resources online to help you jump- start your efforts, and Pinterest has been my go- to source for most of the chemical- free cleaners I now make at home. It’s also choc- full of great recipe ideas if you need some culinary inspiration (Malika always has good ideas too!).
  4. Make a shopping list – Once you know what you’d like to focus on, write down the items that you want to try and need to stock up on. Sometimes you may suffer sticker shock when it comes to quality products that are natural/ organic, etc, but I have found that in the long run, the cost balances out with better health, among other benefits. If you start to notice certain items popping up a lot in your research, it’s a good idea to buy them in bulk if it’s an option. For food, non- perishables and things that can be canned/ frozen are good to stock up on when you find them on sale, especially if it is a staple item (in our house, gluten- free and dairy-free, organic, and non- GMO items are always on our shopping list; these items tend to be more expensive and I’m always scouring flyers for them going on sale). The same applies to household items. Common replacements for chemical cleaners include baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and castile soap (notice how a lot of those items are edible? You can stock your pantry and your cleaning cupboard with some of the same items). If you would rather purchase cleaners than make them, do some research into reputable brands that live up to their claims..
  5. Don’t be afraid of some trial and error. Whether you’re testing out a new recipe or trying out chemical- free cleaners, this is important to remember. The first time you try a recipe that’s a healthier version of one you’re used to, or you try out a snack that’s got less sugar or salt, you will probably notice a difference. But over time, you’ll adjust to this healthier selection of food. I find gluten and dairy- free recipes can be tough to adjust to, since they can turn out quite differently that ones that use traditional ingredients, but I make minor changes each time until I am happy with the result; the extra effort does pay off, I promise. As for cleaning, I have been pleasantly surprised with how well something as simple as baking soda and vinegar work and how many applications this combo has. Many of the store- bought brands I have tried out use essential oils for scent and I find them a lovely alternative to the heavily- scented big brand options. There are also a lot of scent- free options which are perfect for people with sensitivities. Natural cleaners – store bought or homemade-won’t be loaded with the chemical boosts that we’ve grown accustomed, but that doesn’t mean your dishes and laundry won’t come out fresh and clean.

I hope these tips are helpful and will encourage you to try going more natural in your home!

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[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””] Katherine Petrunia is the founder of The Pampered Baby, a blog focused on Moms and families featuring recipes, DIY, fashion, events, and giveaways among others. She is passionate about exploring healthy and natural options from the foods we eat to the products used in our homes and is a supporter of buying local. You can find TPB on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram[/one_half]

 

 

By | Sep 27th, 2015|Lifestyle, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Grain Free Carrot & Raisin Muffins

grain free muffins

I just love to make fresh warm muffins. It was one of my favourite things that my mom made for us growing up. I have really been missing bread on my new diet and so making bread type things to feed my cravings is really helping. These muffins are gluten and grain free, but they still taste delicious. 😉 They are perfect for me to grab and take to eat on the go when I’m working or on the road. Plus, I even snuck in some veggies in these. 🙂 These muffins would be perfect for your kids lunches too.

I’m so excited for blogpodium happening this Saturday in Vancouver!! It is Canada’s biggest conference for lifestyle and design bloggers to connect. It will be a great chance to interact with other like minded bloggers, meet new people and learn how to grow my blog and make it even better. Will I be seeing any of you at this event?!

xx Malika

Grain free coconut carrot muffins

Grain Free Carrot & Raisin Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: Grain Free
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 3 organic eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preathea the over to 350 degrees, line a muffin tin with parchment paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, spices, and coconut.
  3. In a smaller bowl whisk together eggs, oil, and syrup. Add fresh ginger, grated carrot, and raisins.
  4. Stir wet ingredients together with dry ingredients.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes, then server and enjoy.

Grain free carrot muffins

By | Sep 23rd, 2015|Snacks, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Grain Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin pancakes gluten free

Happy Sunday. 🙂 Love, love love these pancakes! I have been having a hard time living without bread and so I came up with these pancakes as a substitute. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! They are full of protein from the eggs and they are grain free. They are delicious even if you can eat gluten. 😉 You can’t even taste the coconut flavour and the pumpkin is very subtle. I was over the moon when I finally found something to satisfy my “bread” craving! WooHoo. I am on day 11 of my new way of eating and it gets easier every day. Life is good!

xx Malika

Grain Free Pumpkin pancakes

Grain Free Pumpkin Pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Pancakes
Cuisine: Paleo, Grain Free
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another. Then combine them together.
  2. In a nonstick pan heat your burner to medium, once it is hot laddle about ¼ cup of batter each time you make a pancake.
  3. Once the pancake starts to bubble a bit flip to over and cook the other side.
  4. Serve hot with maple syrup!

Pumpkin and coconut flour pancakes

By | Sep 13th, 2015|Breakfast, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Butternut Squash Soup with Bone Broth

Healing squash soup

I just love warm soup on a cold day. I have basically been living on soup for the last 7 days, on my new diet to heal my gut. If you caught my blog post over the weekend you would know that I am on a special diet right now for my health. I’m using bone broth as one of my kitchen staples to help seal my guy. I find it makes the perfect soup stock! I don’t love the taste of it on its own but it makes a wonderful soup base. This soup was no exception. 😉 If you like your soup super flavourful I would add a few more spices and maybe some hot sauce. I can’t have extra spices and hot sauce at the moment, so my recipe might need a little extra flavour. I still enjoyed it in it’s simple state.

xx Malika

Squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Bone Broth
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash, de-seeded, peeled and cubed
  • ½ leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves or gallic, crushed
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 4-5 cups of bone broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a crock pot, cook all of the ingredients on high for 2-3 hours.
  2. Once squash is soft and all veggies are cooked you can transfer the soup to your blender and puree it.
  3. Serve immediately or store in your fridge for later.
  4. Enjoy!

Butternut squash soup

By | Sep 9th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Easy Summer Snack Ideas

Rye Cracker creations

Wow, today really does feel like summer! 😉 I love this heat, I went to my pool today and laid out in the sun. Summer days where you don’t have to work and you can just kick back like you did when you were a kid are the best! With this summer heat comes the change in my appetite and cooking style. I definitely don’t want to spend a long time cooking over my stove or oven when my apartment is already 25 degrees. I find myself craving refreshing cold fruit like watermelon and fresh crisp salads. I don’t know about you but I can’t live on JUST fruit and salad. 😉 I need some food in my belly that has substance and keeps me full for more than an hour. These rye crackers are the perfect snack or lunch idea. You can basically load them up with anything…….. I had some different types of hummus in my fridge so I used both. I also sliced up some avocado with chill flakes and topped one with my favourite egg salad recipe. The beetroot hummus recipe is available in my free ebook that you can download when you sign up for my blog newsletter. I topped the beetroot hummus with goat cheese feta! All of these combos were delicious. Whats your favourite cracker combination?? Have a great weekend!

xx Malika

Rye crackers topped witha variety of spreads

 

Best snack cracker ever

By | Jun 13th, 2015|Lifestyle, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Are you eating GMOs?!

Gmo food concept

I’m sure by now you all know what a GMO is right?! If you don’t know, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Wikipedia’s definition: A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. There are many conflicting dietary theories but something most people in the health and wellness field agree on is that we should not be consuming GMOs! The sad part is that due to clever marketing and a mismanaged food system, the average person doesn’t understand what GMOs are and why we should be avoid them.

My biggest fear is for our children, being a mother I worry about what my son eats and how it will affect his health in the long run. When I was a kid, my mom made most of our meals from scratch. We didn’t eat granola and chickpeas everyday, but we did eat real wholesome food that was prepared at home without nasty preservatives and GMOs lurking inside. These days most parents are so busy working and running their kids to after school sports and activities that they don’t have time to cook. They end up eating out at fast food chains or buying pre packaged dinners like frozen pizza or chicken nuggets. I’m not sitting here on my high horse saying I never feed my son pizza and treats but I don’t feed him that kind of food on a regular basis. I cook most of our meals at home and I’m very careful to read the labels!

Yesterday I was at the store looking to buy some coconut milk for the curry I was making. There were 4 different brands of coconut milk in cans. When I went to read the ingredient labels 3 out of 4 of them had “cellulose” in them. Cellulose is not something you need or want to be consuming, it’s made of wood pulp!! I found a brand that only contained only what should have been in my coconut mil: coconut and water. 😉

Unfortunately you have to become a food detective because big food companies are good at marketing their food as “healthy” and they don’t want you to know whats really hiding in their packaged food. Anytime you see food labels that contain these ingredients be wary. These are some of the main GMO ingredients in your packaged food:

  • Aspartame
  • Corn
  • Sugar Beets
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Soy (lecithin)
  • Corn Starch.

There are also a number if fruit and veggies that are now grown as GMO crops and I try to always buy these foods Organic.

  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • apples
 There aren’t to many long term studies to show the negative affects that GMOs have on our health but it doesnt take a scientist to know that they must be causing havoc! Most GMO crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant” so they can with stand high doses of round up ready toxic sprays. Do you want to be ingesting these into your body?! North America is in a state of “Health Crisis” right now and the number of kids being diagnosed with diabetes, allergies, asthma and cancer is shocking.
Nobody is perfect and I’m sure I eat some GMOs once in awhile (unknowingly), but if you are more aware, you can avoid buying these foods on a regular basis. I like to avoid the middle isles of the grocery store and shop the perimeter for real whole foods. Whether you like to cook or not, I urge you to try and make your kids more healthful meals at home. They will thank you for it later, especially when you have given them the tools to make healthy food choices into adulthood.
xx Malika
By | May 27th, 2015|Health, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Bliss Balls

Macadamian Bliss balls

Hell00000 Weekend! 🙂 I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful city, we are having the most amazing weather here for May. Today is going to be 23 degrees! Time to get out my sunscreen and sit on my patio. 😉 I’m sure you all have something special planned for Mother’s day, I’m taking some special ladies to lunch in White Rock. I was having a very strong craving for something chocolatey this week, so I whipped up a batch of my favourite bliss balls. I have posted a recipe for bliss balls before, however the ingredients are different every time. I usually adjust what I use in them to what I have on hand at the time. 😉 This week I had some lovely macadamia nuts, so I used them with the chocolate and coconut and they turned out divine. Have a wonderful weekend!

xx Malika

bliss balls with coconut

Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Bliss Balls
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • ¼ hemp seeds
  • ¼ macadamia nuts (blended into powder)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (for rolling balls in)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. Pulse for a few minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into round balls and then roll in the extra coconut.
  3. Put in the freezer for one hour to harden, then store int he fridge till your ready to eat them.

vegan bliss balls

By | May 9th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wholly Guacamole

Guacamole

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! 🙂 This day actually isn’t a very big deal in Mexico. I was down in Mexico one year on May 5th and we assumed it would be a a big party…..We actually couldn’t find anything going on! It seems to be more of an excuse for North Americans to have a drink and a taco, which is fine but me. 😉 I love a good margarita and some guacamole. This was my first time actually making proper guacamole in my food processor. I usually just mash some avocados and salsa together and call it a day. Man this was delicious, definitely worth the few extra minutes it takes to make. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful day.

xx Malika

Cinco De Mayo

Wholly Guacamole
Author: 
Recipe type: Dip
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ of a yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro
  • slat and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor blend all of the ingredients together for 2 minutes.
  2. Serve with organic cron chips
  3. Enjoy!!

Best guacamole

By | May 5th, 2015|Dressings, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Malika’s Eat Of The Week: Beets

Beets 1

Beeeeeets! I just love this purple root vegetable. 😉 I’m sure by now you know that beets are good for you. They’re definitely having a moment in the food world right now. Which is fine by me, I love to put them on everything. I like to grate them or spirilize them and eat them raw on salads or in rice bowls. I also enjoy roasting them in the oven and putting them in salads with goat cheese and other veggies. I have used them to make beet, celery and carrot juice on my juice cleanse. I even made a beet root hummus recently….It was divine. 😉

Beeets

 There are many reasons to include this vegetable in your diet. They contain a unique source of phytonutrients that help provide antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support! Beets have also been found in studies to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke; lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects. They also contain vitamin-c, potassium, iron, manganese and copper. Last but not least they are high in fibre, and low in calories. Here are a few recipes including beets: beet and goat cheese salad and  my macrobiotic buddha bowl.

Beet Hummus

By | Apr 20th, 2015|Eat of the week, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Malika’s Eat Of The Week: Bananas

Bananas

I think most people like bananas. They’re such a sweet and simple food. My son could eat bananas every day! 🙂 The funny thing about bananas is that a lot of people don’t actually know that they are best eaten when they are fully ripe. A few years ago, I didn’t know that yellow bananas are not ripe. I thought green bananas were unripe….. The truth is your bananas need to be covered in brown spots to be fully ripe and easily digested.   If you eat unripe bananas they can cause gas, bloating, upset stomach and even constipation. So make sure your bananas are nice and spotty so you can reap all of the health benefits and avoid the stomach upset. 😉

Banana

One of the main reasons I love banana is that they add a natural sweetness to my baking and smoothies. They’re also a great snack that you can grab and eat on the go. Food Matters has a list of 25 reasons why you should eat this wonderful fruit. Here are my favourite health reasons to include this tropical fruit in your diet. If you suffer from PMS, eating a banana can improve your mood and reduce symptoms by regulating your blood sugar. They are also rich in pectin which aids in digestion and helps to gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body! If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux or GERD eat a banana as they can neutralize the acids in your stomach. You can also use bananas for eliminating skin issues like warts,  by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place. If you are prone to muscle cramps eating bananas can help due to their high potassium content.  Bananas are also full of iron, which is great everyone but especially for folks with anemia. So what are you going to make with bananas? Here are a few recipes that include ripe bananas: banana and raspberry ice cream, gluten free carrot and arisen muffins and buckwheat banana pancakes.

xx Malika

Smoothie bowl

By | Apr 13th, 2015|Eat of the week, Uncategorized|0 Comments