50 Fabulous Grain-Free Slow Cooker Meals

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

When life gets busy, turn on your slow cooker! At least that’s my motto. And right now, things couldn’t be busier. With baseball season in full swing, I’m playing chauffeur to two active boys four days a week.

My guess is … I’m probably not alone. It’s a common challenge of moms everywhere – how to get a healthy dinner on the table when time is short, and often our patience for cooking is too?

That’s why I love the slow cooker! It’s a simple way to ensure you get a healthy home-cooked meal on the table, even on the busiest of days. This is especially true if you take the time to meal plan and schedule a little time to prep ahead.

Knowing that our lives are a little jam-packed right now, I’ve been scheduling a lot more slow cooker meals in my weekly meal plans. In fact, I’ve gathered so many easy and tasty weeknight slow cooker recipes, I thought it would be fun to share them with you, as I’m confident you’re just as busy too.

Let me assure you, whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker recipes truly are family-friendly favorites!

50 Fabulous GF Slow Cooker Meals

The Best of Beef

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

6-Ingredient Pot Roast
Asian-Style Short Ribs (Soy-Free)
Beef Roast in Ancho Chili Sauce
Beef Shanks with Garlic and Herbs
Easy Balsamic Beef Stew
Easy Moroccan Beef Stew (pictured above)
Easy Roast Beef
Ginger Beef
Hearty Brisket Tacos
Italian Roast with Peppers in Au Jus
Rosemary Beef Roast
Seasoned Taco Meat

Perfect Poultry

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

Asian-Style Chicken Wraps (Soy-Free)
BBQ Turkey Thighs
Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Tikka Masala (pictured in photo collage)
Chicken Verde with Peppers (pictured above)
Chocolate Chicken Mole
Creamy Chicken with Kale
Curried Lemon Coconut Chicken
Garlic Thyme Chicken
Greek-Style Chicken with White Beans
Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken
Roasted Whole Chicken
Rosemary Chicken with Butternut Squash
Rotisserie Chicken
Shortcut Slow Cooker Curry
Spicy Mustard Chicken
Sweet & Spicy Chicken (Soy-Free)
Soy-Free Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies (pictured in photo collage)

Pork-a-licious

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

Apple Mustard Pork Belly
Apple Rosemary Pork
Balsamic Pork Roast
Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Cider Pork Chops with Pumpkin & Apples
Easy Pulled Pork (pictured above)
Pineapple Pulled Pork
Southern-Style Pulled Pork

Sensational Soups, Stews & Chili

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

Beef Pepper Soup
Chicken Stew (pictured in photo collage)
Enchilada Chicken Soup
Soothing Chicken Soup
Stone Soup (Fun to make with kids)
Cauliflower Chicken Chili
Easy Beef Chili
Pork Tenderloin Chili Verde
Sweet Potato Turkey Chili (pictured above)
How to Make Beef Bone Broth
How to Make Chicken Bone Broth
Restorative Vegetable Broth

Can’t get enough simple slow cooker meals? Then, be sure to pin these posts for even more great ideas:
45 Real Food Slow Cooker Meals
42 Real Food Recipes That Won’t Heat-Up Your Home

Three cheers for easy, healthy slow cooker meals for busy families on the go!

Whether you’re living a grain-free lifestyle or not, these 50 fabulous gluten-free, grain-free, slow cooker meals truly are family-friendly favorites!

What are your favorite slow cooker recipes for easy meals on busy days?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

How I Overcame My Obsession with Paper Products

Making the switch from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products can be a long  - but worthwhile - process.

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

It’s safe to say that until a couple years ago, I had an obsession with paper products.

  • As I cleaned my home, I HAD to use paper towels. Paper towels for my windows, paper towels for my bathroom (sinks, bathtub and toilet), and paper towels for my kitchen — used to clean countertops and to dry freshly washed produce or hands.
  • I frequently replenished the boxes of paper tissues in my bathroom, and restocked our toilet paper with the cushy, quilted, multi-ply varieties.
  • I used paper napkins at each meal, mindfully choosing the colors and designs to either match the season or décor of my home.
  • And I stocked up on disposable feminine hygiene products by faithfully using coupons for pads and tampons.

I thought all of that paper consumption was completely normal. After being raised in a home that was filled with those products, why wouldn’t I use them in my own home?

What else would I even use?

I remember having dinner with friends about 15 years ago and as I washed my hands in their kitchen and tried to dry them, I looked for paper towels … they were nowhere to be found. Surprised that my only option was a cloth towel, I dried my hands and wondered why in the world they didn’t use paper towels.

Stumbling into cloth napkins

It wasn’t until 6 years ago when my firstborn was toddling around my home that I began to change. My son discovered our stash of paper napkins and successfully shredded all of them. Whenever he would spy paper napkins, he would shred them with pure joy. I couldn’t stand the mess, I couldn’t stand the waste of money, and I couldn’t figure out a way to make my 10-month-old truly understand that you just don’t annihilate napkins.

Making the switch from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products can be a long  - but worthwhile - process.

So I threw all the shredded napkin bits away (I should have tossed them in our compost pile!) and dug out a dozen cloth napkins that had been a wedding gift. They had spent five years in storage and still looked and felt brand new – and when my husband and I used them, we were amazed at how much better they were than paper napkins.

They didn’t rip or crumple. They could clean off sticky hands and mouths. They washed clean and looked as good as new.

Why on earth had we not used them before?

Before long, I noticed that my local discount store had a sale on a dozen cloth napkins for $6. I bought a pack and doubled our stash. We happily stopped using paper napkins and started saving money.

Easing out of tissues

A couple years later, my aging grandma downsized her home and gave many of her belongings away – including dozens of her like-new handkerchiefs. Delicately embroidered, her hankies were like nothing sold in stores today.

Making the switch from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products can be a long  - but worthwhile - process.

When no other family member wanted them, I happily took a handful. I added them to a collection of handkerchiefs I had been gathering for years – including one of my dad’s monogrammed hankies and gifts from a Swiss pen pal and an elderly prayer partner.

I figured that instead of just storing my handkerchief collection, I might as well start using them when I had the sniffles. And so I did. They didn’t rip like paper tissues, and I found that they washed clean just like the cloth napkins.

The rest of my family wasn’t so sure about switching over, so I keep a box of paper tissues for company and my husband, and use handkerchiefs for myself and my kids.

My resistant feminine hygiene change

I may have happily used cloth napkins and cloth handkerchiefs, but I was not willing to switch from disposable feminine products. It wasn’t until many of my Accidentally Green readers began telling how much they loved their menstrual cups and mama cloth that I decided I should at least try something new.

So I eased in to the world of cloth menstrual pads. After a steep learning curve, I finally started to prefer them to disposable ones. They didn’t crinkle. They weren’t uncomfortable. I didn’t have to worry about running out of my supply.

Just last spring I tried a menstrual cup and after another steep learning curve, I appreciated how I now could use only reusable products. No more tampons. And surprisingly, no more cramping.

Making the switch from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products can be a long  - but worthwhile - process.

This year I’ve added sea sponge tampons into the mix and love them. They were the easiest reusable feminine product to get used to, and now I use all three – pads, menstrual cup and sea sponge tampons – during my time of the month.

My paper towel hold out

One paper product I did not want to give up was the paper towel. How could I clean without them? How could I run my kitchen without them?

When I discovered Norwex two years ago, I quickly – and happily – stopped using paper towels when I cleaned. Yet I still thought I needed the towels in my kitchen. I was used to cooling cookies on paper towels – what else could I use?

Finally I realized that rationalizing paper towels just for freshly baked cookies was pretty ridiculous. So I stopped buying the towels and decided to go paper-free in my kitchen. Now when I bake cookies or fry bacon, I cool them on an old linen tea towel. It works perfectly.

Making the switch from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products can be a long  - but worthwhile - process.

The paper product my family will keep using

There’s one paper product my family will keep using – toilet paper. While we could use family cloth, it’s one thing my husband refuses. And, to respect his wishes and not seem excessively green to our frequent guests, we’ll stick to toilet paper.

I’ve changed to a single-ply, septic-friendly variety, and I try to cut down on our use with Control-n-Roll, a cushioned roller that rations toilet paper waste. I’m happy that I only have to shop for one paper product now – and I’m happy to know that I could overcome my dependence on and obsession with paper products.

What paper products do you use in your home? What reusable products do you use instead of paper?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products (and Buy 2, Get 2 Free on Seventh Generation Diaper packs!)

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This week’s top deals:

 

Buy Two Packs of Seventh Generation Diapers, Get Two Packs Free!

From Stephanie: As you all know, one of my favorite brands is Seventh Generation. In January I partnered with ePantry to offer KOTH readers an exclusive deal on natural products, and ePantry is now starting to sell Seventh Generation Diapers! They’re really excited to have a product that so many people love and need.

Although we’re definitely cloth diaper users, we also find that there are just times when disposable is that much easier… the first week or two after birth, if Mama gets sick, for babysitters or grandparents, for when we travel, and sometimes, just because life gets crazy and we are looking for ways to simplify without compromising on our convictions. Seventh Generation diapers are biodegradable, unbleached, chlorine-free, hypoallergenic, and free of petroleums, fragrances and lotions. 

Before they launch the diapers widely, ePantry wants KOTH readers to try it out! They’re offering a very special promotion to Keeper of the Home readers:

Click HERE to get 2 free packs of Seventh Generation Diapers when you buy 2 packs!

This is exclusively for Keeper of the Home Readers, and it ends at 6pm PST on Sunday, March 15th.

Buy 2, Get 2! {Keeper of the Home}

There’s no catch here — ePantry just wants to get some new moms to try out their diaper subscription and is making this offer for a limited time (and seriously… that’s a really great deal- if I wasn’t out of the country, I’d stock up for the new baby!).

You won’t find this kind of offer for Seventh Generation diapers anywhere else, so hurry and grab it while you can!

abesStock Up at 20% Off at Abe’s Market.  See some of the deals they have below.  To find them at Abe’s Market just click their Stock Up! 20% Off tab.

ecotrailRegular $19.90 On Sale for $15.92 ECOTRAIL Deodorant 2 pack 4 oz each

hempRegular $20.00 On Sale $16.00  Hemp Seeds Variety Pack 2 pack 8 oz each

Check out the rest of the deals Abe’s Market has.

bobsAs Low As $17.07-$19.07 ($4.27-$4.77/16 oz) Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour, 16-Ounce Units (Pack of 4) is on sale for $20.08.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

natureAs Low As $8.87-$10.35 ($4.43-$5.18/8 oz bottle) Nature’s Baby Organics Shampoo & Body Wash, Lavender Chamomile, 8-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 2) is on sale for $14.78.  Save 25% after your coupon is applied to the first delivery of this subscription.  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

BHS

March Savings at Bulk Herb Store!  Just look under the Herbal Mixes tab for these deals.

babyganicsAs Low As  $17.59  Babyganics 3x Baby Laundry Detergent, Lavender, 64oz Bottle Regular $27.56.  On sale for $21.99.  Save an additional 20% after your coupon is applied to the first delivery of this subscription.

chiaAs Low As $6.03-$6.74 Nutiva Organic Black Chia Seeds, 12-oz. Bag is on sale for $7.09.  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.
legoLowest Price To-Date!  Just $12.97  LEGO Star Wars Imperial Troop Transport.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order

(Hat tip to Jungle Deals & Steals for this Lowest Price To-Date deal!)

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

diyDIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day: Amazingly Easy Guided Gift Ideas For Beginners To The More Experienced

houseHouse Cleaning: Simple, Fast, Easy & Clutter Free [Kindle Edition]

DIY easterDIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Easter: Amazingly Easy Guided Gift Ideas For Beginners To The More Experienced

winterWinter Soup: Soul Warming, Comforting Soup Recipes for Better Health and Natural Weight Loss

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

miniMinimalist Living: A Guide to Simple Living, Declutter & Frugal Living [Kindle Edition]

clutterThe Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life [Kindle Edition]

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-march-10

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

The Importance of Trace Minerals {and How to Increase Your Intake!}

How do you make sure that you and your family are getting enough trace minerals in your diet?

This post was originally published in November of 2008, but is a great reminder that your body needs these minerals just as much as the other elements of good nutrition that we discuss on a regular basis!

Sure, we all know that it’s important to get the “biggies” (macrominerals) into our diet: calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.

Did you know, though, that there are over 30 other minerals which our bodies need in minute, trace amounts, but without them it cannot function at it’s full potential and disease may even develop?

These minerals, often called “trace minerals,” include well-known minerals such as iron, zinc and iodine. They also include many lesser known minerals, like selenium, silicon, manganese, boron, copper, cobalt and even germanium!

So how do you make sure that you and your family are getting enough of these all-important nutrients in your diet?

Increase your body’s uptake of minerals by:

1. Ensuring that you are getting plenty of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and good cholesterol in your diet.

This strengthens and supports both your glandular and digestive systems, to make sure that your body knows which and how much of each of the minerals to absorb.

[Tweet “Many minerals require other minerals and vitamins to be present for them to be well absorbed. “]

Good foods for this include: butter, eggs, liver and other organ meats, fish and seafood, cod liver oil, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy vegetables.

2. Eating a varied and balanced diet, including lots of fresh vegetables and minimal sugar.

Many minerals require other minerals and vitamins to be present for them to be well absorbed. An example of this is the way that iron is better absorbed when plenty of Vitamin C is present at the same time. As well, keeping our bodies more alkaline (as opposed to being too acid) promotes better nutrient assimilation overall. Too much sugar or processed foods and not enough vegetables can lead to a more acid state in the body.

3. Watching out for substances that impair mineral absorption, or actually pull it out of our bodies.

For instance, phytic acid in improperly prepared grains (oh dear, I’m harping on this again- must be important! :), oxalic acids in green leafy vegetables like spinach and swiss chard (this minimizes when they are lightly cooked), and tannins in black teas.

The Importance of Trace Minerals {Keeper of the Home}

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Where to find trace minerals in abundance:

Bone Broth: An excellent source of both macro and trace minerals, as well as beneficial gelatin. These are simple to learn to make and have so many health benefits, in addition to being delicious!

Sea Salt: We’ve all heard that we should reduce our consumption of salt, but it’s really only regular table salt that we should be concerned about. Good quality, unrefined sea salt can contain up to 92 minerals (while table salt contains only 2- sodium and chloride.)

Personally, I buy Redmond’s RealSalt, from the Utah flats (left from ancient sea beds, from when water used to cover Utah). On the back of the package, it lists calcium, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, idodine, manganese, copper and zinc, in addition to other trace minerals in minute quantities (it claims to contain over 50 minerals). Some other great brands are Celtic Sea Salt, Flower of the Ocean, and Himalayan Pink Salt.

Kelp: This is a type of seaweed which is dried and used in powdered form. It has a salty (though slightly fishy) taste. It contains 28% minerals, including a rich variety of trace minerals (as do most foods from the sea). See a nutritional analysis here.

Kelp can be added to foods as a seasoning, in small amounts. When I do this, in my spaghetti sauce, bone broths, soups or stews, etc., it can’t be tasted (as long as I keep it minimal- under 1 teaspoon). This might not seem like much, but when used consistently it is just another way to add minerals to our overall diet.

Clay: Particular types of clay contains large numbers of minerals, and various cultures have traditionally used these to supplement their diets. I first heard of this in Nourishing Traditions, where Sally Fallon recommends Azomite Mineral Powder as a nutritional supplement. I’ve had success using Redmond Clay as both a supplement and a natural home remedy.

Nutrient and Mineral Rich Foods: Simply by consuming a good variety of foods that are rich in these essential minerals will help to ensure that we are getting enough of them. Some excellent foods to consume regularly include: molasses, nuts and seeds, garlic/onions, liver, butter, seafood and fish, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables.

How do you ensure that your family is getting adequate minerals in their diet? Is this the first you’ve heard of trace minerals?

Top image by Larry Hoffman

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links

Weekend Links {Keeper of the Home}

Links for this week:

I Have Bad Thoughts About My Husband (and not the dirty kind) @ Sarah Mae

You Are Enough @ Shauna Niequist

Beef and Butternut Squash Chili @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Why it’s okay to believe your way is the best way @ Life Your Way

“Strength and Dignity Are Her Clothing”: Making Ethical Fashion Choices (by Leah Wise)  @ Rachel Held Evans

Easy Crockpot Italian Beef Recipe — Beef and Potatoes Feel Good Meal @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Why Winning the Lottery Isn’t the Answer @ Becoming Minimalist

The art of noticing your three square feet @ The Art of Simple

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Style Note from Stephanie

As many of you know, I’m currently about 6 months pregnant with our fifth baby (and forgive me, but this baby bump picture is quite a few weeks behind- it’s funny how you can take weekly bump pictures with your first, and then maybe two pictures during the entire pregnancy with your fifth!). One struggle I’ve always had is finding flattering, comfortable maternity skirts. I was emailing with Caroline at Deborah & Co. a while back and she suggested I try out this jean skirt (and promptly sent me one!) and I have to say, it’s definitely cuter and of higher quality than any previous maternity jean skirts I’ve tried. I love the “rainbow” stitching detail and how dark the denim is. The skirt is also mid-weight and can easily go between seasons, with a sweater in the winter or a tee in the summer. You can see this skirt, as well as their other skirts, here.

March Sponsors

Are you looking for companies that share the same values you do? Here at Keeper of the Home we curate a fabulous selection of companies that fit well with our audience. Here are our sponsors this month!

Plan to Eat | Eating at Home is About to Get Easier

Makes 3 | Body Care for the Whole Family

Modern Wellness | Be proactive about your health with essential oils!

EntreFamily | lead an uncommon life

Tropical Traditions | America’s Source for Coconut Oil

MadeOn Hard Lotion | Hard Lotion For Dry Skin

The Healthy Lunchbox | Sandwich-free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch

How do you show your happiness?

One Hour + Two Stores = 30 Dinners {Planning a Month of Meals}

 

If you're like me, if you hear the words "plan a month of meals," you want to run away screaming. Yet it has definitely saved me money. time and money. AND I don't feel that feeling every week, "Ugh...I have to plan our meals again..."

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

If you’re like me, if you hear the words “plan all your meals for the month,” you want to run away screaming.

Recently I started wondering, though…would monthly meal planning save me time from running back and forth every week to five different stores? I have a young baby, so time is definitely limited around here. Could planning all the dinners AT ONE TIME save me some time?

[Tweet “Could planning a month’s worth of dinners AT ONE TIME save time? “]

So I tried it…

And, it has! I shop at two stores – Trader Joe’s and Aldi once in the beginning of the month to get all our supplies. You can see our list of regular Trader Joe items here. And of course, Aldi is super-cheap on many staples … and surprisingly good at dealing with food allergies, which we deal with!

After going to these places once, I only have to grab produce periodically throughout the month. And bonus: it has definitely saved me money. AND I don’t feel that feeling every week, “Ugh…I have to plan our meals again…” (I only feel it once a month! Ha!)

If you’ve been considering taking the plunge, I promise it is easier than it sounds. Here are some things that made do-able (even enjoyable?).

If you're like me, if you hear the words "plan a month of meals," you want to run away screaming. Yet it has definitely saved me money. time and money. AND I don't feel that feeling every week, "Ugh...I have to plan our meals again..."

Make it a fun event.

My sweet husband has let me escape to Panera for my meal-planning time. I know, right? What a gem I found. If you can’t do that, block off some time, get in a cozy spot in your home, grab a coffee and a special snack, and give yourself at least an hour uninterrupted.

Make sure you’re awake.

This might sound ridiculous, but if you are in the little-child-raising stage that I am, you don’t do things that require a lot of brainpower on little sleep. At least, I can’t! So pick a time of the day when you know you’ll be bright-eyed to plan your meals.

Keep a list of all the places you look for meal inspiration.

Obviously, I keep a lot of meals on Pinterest (check out my allergy-friendly meal board). I also made a list of my favorite recipe sites.

Grab your calendar.

I count up the days we’ll be home and need dinner, and write the total number of meals we need for the month.

Come up with a meal pattern.

There are many different ways to do this. You could have:

  • Monday: soup
  • Tuesday: pasta
  • Wednesday: meatless
  • Thursday: fish/eggs/paninis, etc.
  • Friday: pizza night
  • Saturday: grill out
  • Sunday: easy

We sort of do this, although these winter days we have soup a lot. I usually do chicken twice a week, meatless once, fish once, and red meat once or twice.

Make a list of all the meals that sound yummy.

This is the part that’s the most overwhelming, but I try to have an ongoing list on the fridge for meals that we’ve enjoyed, things that sound good, etc. So first, I mark those down.

I have a few meals we always eat once a month, like spaghetti, turkey burgers, roast chicken, and grilled chicken, so I add them. Then I look in the freezer for frozen meals.

Finally, I browse my sites for meals. If a meal is large (like a soup or chili) I always make a double batch, and write that meal down twice. I’ve found that I can use the same amount of meat in a dish and just add extra broth, beans, or veggies, and the meal lasts for two meals.

Plug them in the calendar.

No stress, because obviously you can change the week of.  I try to include a good mix of freezer meals, easy, “hard,” etc.

Go shop!

I do a big load at Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s. I love Trader Joe’s because we get some great staples there. Whatever store you choose, I advise getting everything that will last for the month in these large trips. Then you may just have produce to pick up here or there.

If you need some suggestions for meals, I’ve shared 30-days of fall and chilly-weather whole-food meals.

Have you ever planned a month of meals? How do you typically do it?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

 

Eczema That Disappears When We Travel? What’s Up With That?

eczema that disappears when we travel

While traveling overseas, I’ve noticed something peculiar. Our youngest daughter’s eczema, a constant source of irritation while in North America, simply disappears elsewhere in the world.

It’s curious to me, because our diet is not nearly as careful while traveling as it is at home.

Our grains are rarely sprouted or sourdough (in fact, we frequently eat regular wheat when we travel, since we can’t find alternatives like spelt or kamut). We usually can’t find raw milk. We eat far less fermented foods, other than having yogurt as often as possible. We occasionally resort to foods I’d consider junky out of sheer desperation for something to eat.

Whereas at home, we keep her completely gluten free, give her probotics regularly, try to keep up on our fermented cod liver oil, and we serve healing foods like homemade chicken bone broth as often as possible. She has also done the GAPS diet as a toddler, seen a naturopath about her eczema and I personally have learned as much as I can about it for our kid’s sake.

Yet even with all those efforts, we only seem to keep it at bay so that it doesn’t get too out of hand.

With our two older children, we managed to bring complete healing to the issue (my first three children all suffered with eczema and food sensitivities, though with dietary changes, my fourth has not, thank goodness!). But with poor Johanna, it’s just never gone away.

This can be very frustrating and I do wonder if she needs to go back on GAPS for an extended period of time, go completely grain free indefinitely, leave behind dairy (yes, even raw) or some other such change, all things we are contemplating for when we return home this spring.

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But… when we travel, it all just magically disappears.

Within a couple weeks of being on the road and allowing her to eat freely in another country, bye-bye eczema. And it leaves me utterly baffled.

The first time this happened we were on the initial leg of our around-the-world trip two years ago, living in Argentina for 3 months. For 6 weeks, I did everything I could to find gluten, grain and dairy free options for this little girl, but as time went on, it proved increasingly difficult to get the things I needed, what with the language and cultural barriers, being on the road and needing to eat out frequently, and all those other things that go along with travel.

So we gave up and began letting her have a little dairy, just some yogurt and cheese at first. When that didn’t cause any exacerbation of the problem, we let her eat regular bread with the rest of the family.

And oddly enough, the longer we were out of North America, the more the eczema disappeared.

It stayed away the entire year. She ate anything and everything as we traveled through South America, Europe, the Middle East, East Africa, Asia and Australia.

Our kids eating crepes in France.

Our kids eating crepes in France.

Only about 2 months after returning home did it rear its ugly head again.

It was beyond frustrating.

What intrigued me, though, was that I talked to a few friends about it after we returned and I heard a similar refrain… while they were overseas, their skin/digestive/energy/pain problems went away, no matter what they ate. Bread, coffee, cheese, sugary pastries, beer. It didn’t matter. It was all fine.

But when they returned to North America? Their problems returned with a vengeance.

This winter, our family has been spending some time living and traveling in Europe (similar to our previous trip – we just bring our businesses and homeschooling along for the ride, so it’s normal life in a somewhat more exotic setting).

I determined even before we left that I was going to experiment to see what happened when Johanna left behind her very careful, gluten-free, low grain, more traditional-foods diet back home and just ate whatever food we could find.

Guess what? Within two weeks of arriving in Europe, her eczema began to fade, and now that we’ve been here 5 weeks, it’s completely gone. Gone!

Which leads me to the million dollar question… WHY on earth is it such a struggle back home and a non-issue while we’re abroad?

And this is the part of the post where I tell you that I really don’t know. I’m banging my head against the proverbial wall to come up with a satisfactory answer to this dilemma.

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Just what exactly is so different between being home and being out of North America?

Here are some of the things I wonder about:

Environmental toxicity

Is it the level/type of chemicals and toxicity in our local environment? I once heard a wonderful naturopath speak and she used a bucket analogy for many of the health issues that we see today. Everyone has a bucket, but our buckets fill up differently depending on our body’s sensitivities, what we’re each exposed to, genetics, etc. So you can have two people in the same environment, eating the same foods, but one person’s bucket will fill up and overflow (ie. show signs of illness) much faster than the others.

Is Johanna’s “bucket” particularly sensitive to what’s in our local environment? We know that we are certainly all being exposed to various chemicals, some harmful, some not, through the air, water, soil, food chain, etc.

Agricultural regulations

Could it be that the restrictions on hazardous chemicals for agriculture (be they pesticides, herbicides, animal vaccinations and medications, etc.) are so poorly regulated in North America that no matter how clean we try to eat, we are still facing high levels of exposure to toxins? Our family eats as much of our food organic, unsprayed, ecological, home grown, etc. as possible, but there is simply no way around environmental exposure, run-off from other farms, contaminated water supply and all of the other unfortunate realities of the fact that we are not truly in control of what we eat, careful as we may be.

Then again, the other baffling aspect of this, in my mind, is that while some places we visit have much better regulations (such as the European Union), other places do not (parts of South America, Asia, etc.), and we traveled through many different parts of the world.

Our local climate

We live in Vancouver, Canada (in the Pacific Northwest), which is very rainy except during a couple months in the summer, and so it’s usually quite damp and humid.  I know that living in a humid climate has negative effects for some people’s health — could it be that eczema is one of them? This one I’d have to test out with us traveling more extensively in North America, perhaps. We did spend 2 1/2 weeks last spring camping through Washington, Oregon and Northern California, but it didn’t seem like long enough to notice a difference.

Her body is in “shock” 

Could it be that suddenly eating differently, the physical stress of travel, or something related causes her body to go into some sort of shock where it hardens itself during the transition, but once things are back to normal, the sensitivities show up again? I have heard anecdotally (though I’m not sure where to find solid evidence of this) that sometimes we don’t actually show symptoms of what’s really happening in our body because it has learned to ignore them.

For example, someone who has abused their digestive system all their life may seem “fine”, but if they actually began to make a change to eating more carefully, their stomach would begin to respond with greater sensitivity and they might even find that in the long term, they can’t go back to how they used to eat because their body can now tell the difference now between foods that nourish it and foods that harm it. This theory does seem somewhat unlikely to me in the sense that while we’re here in France for 4 1/2 weeks, for example, we’re actually eating high quality food, very similar to what we might eat back home, and still the eczema stays away, but I add it in there just because I don’t want to discount anything.

Now that I’ve thrown out my questions and theories, I’m really eager to hear your thoughts.

First, has anyone else experienced this phenomenon with a physical illness disappearing when they travel? And second, do you have your own theory about what might cause this effect?

I probably don’t have to say this, but just for the record, this post is 100% about discussing and postulating and brainstorming, and approximately 0% prescriptive. In other words, I’m not telling you what the answer is, why it happens, or that you should all move overseas to solve your health issues. I just want to open up the conversation with this community of like-minded women and see what your thoughts and experiences are. :)

Photo credit – farm image

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

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This week’s top deals:

 

bobRegular $38.97 On Sale $31.18  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Hazelnut Meal Flour 3 Pack 14 oz each. Just click “Stock Up at 20% Off” to find this deal and more.

tea

As Low As $9.67-$11.67 ($1.61-$1.86/18-count box)  Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Herbal & Black Tea, 18 Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6) are on sale for $14.88.   Save 20% after your coupon is applied to the first delivery of this subscription.  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

snow

 

Regular $54.00 On Sale $43.20  Tamiko Organic Cotton Fleece Cozy Snow Suit Bunting, White
boyList Price $98.00 On Sale $22.65  Pure Baby Baby-Boys Newborn Knitted Coat, Powder Blue

girlList Price $98.00 On Sale $24.29  Pure Baby Baby-Girls Newborn Knitted Coat, Powder Pink

blende

Just $19.88  Hamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

Stock Up at 20% Off at Abe’s Market.  See some of the deals they have below. 

peas more

Regular $19.95 On Sale $15.96 World Peas 5 pack 5.3 oz each.  Comes in Sichuan Chili, Texas BBQ, Hungarian Garlic, Santa Barbara Ranch, Vinegar and Sea Salt, Sicilian Tomato & Garlic and a Variety Pack.  Just click “Stock Up at 20% Off” to find this deal and more.

vinegar

Regular $23.97 On Sale $19.18 Balsamic Date Vinegar 3 Pack 7 oz eachJust click “Stock Up at 20% Off” to find this deal and more.

quinoaRegular $19.96 On Sale $15.97 Peanut Butter Cacao Quinoa Clusters 4 Pack 4 oz each.  Also available Peanut Ginger Quinoa and Chocolate Sea Salt Quinoa Clusters. Just click “Stock Up at 20% Off” to find this deal and more.
duploLowest Price To-Date $7.97 DUPLO LEGO Ville 10522 Farm Animals.  Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders.

legoLowest Price To-Date $23.25 LEGO Friends 41035 Heartlake Juice Bar.  Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders.

(Hat tip to Jungle Deals & Steals for these two Lowest Price To-Date deals!)

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

fiftyFREE on Wednesday March 4, 2015 Only!  Fifty Books to Enjoy with Kids

minimalThe Bliss Of Minimalism: Experience The Joy Of A Minimalist Lifestyle

slowSlow Cooker Recipes: 20 Slow Cooker Recipes Anyone Can Make!

mex35 Mexican Chicken Recipes

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

habitHabit Stacking For Cleaning And Organizing: How To Organize, Clean, And Keep Your Home Spotless

2020 Ways To Save Money As A Parent – Useful Tips For A Better Family Economy

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-march-3

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

Easy DIY Cuticle Cream

Cuticles are supposed to be soft. If yours aren't, this recipe for a luxurious and easy DIY cuticle cream will heal and protect your cuticles.By Andrea Green, Contributing Writer

Cuticles are supposed to be soft.

Mine are anything but.

Thanks to cold, harsh weather, my cuticles are dry and cracked and messy.

But the weather isn’t the only reason my cuticles dry out. I find if I’ve washed a lot of dishes, spent a day in the garden, or handled a lot of paper, I end up with dry cuticles.

The problem with dry cuticles is once they crack, you can easily get an infection. Not to mention it’s uncomfortable. And when mine get too dried out, they can bleed. Yuck.

Cuticles are supposed to be soft. If yours aren't, this recipe for a luxurious and easy DIY cuticle cream will heal and protect your cuticles.

Caring for your cuticles isn’t hard. And a little TLC can go a long way.

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First, you want to avoid cutting your cuticles. Ever. They are there to protect your nail bed and cutting them can make them vulnerable to infection.

Instead, if you want to push your cuticles back, use an orange stick.

Second, you’ll want to wear gloves while doing the dishes or working out in the garden.

Am I the only one that doesn’t take the time to do that? And I wonder why my cuticles are a mess!

Finally, your cuticles need daily moisturizing to stay healthy.

Since I love to whip up natural beauty products, I came up with an easy DIY cuticle cream.

This is so simple to make and it works wonders – even after the first treatment.

Cuticles are supposed to be soft. If yours aren't, this recipe for a luxurious and easy DIY cuticle cream will heal and protect your cuticles.

To make you own cuticle cream you need:

3 tablespoons Apricot Oil
1 tablespoon Beeswax
6 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
6 drops Lavender Essential Oil

The apricot oil and the beeswax are excellent moisturizers while the tea tree and lavender oils will ward off infection.

How to Make an Easy DIY Cuticle Cream:

Use a box grater to grate the 1 tablespoon of beeswax.

Melt beeswax in a double boiler or a glass measuring cup sitting in a pan of simmering water.

Add apricot oil and continue heating until mixture is clear, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in essential oils, and pour into a jar or tin with a tight-fitting lid.

Allow to cool completely before your first use.

That’s it! In under 15 minutes, you have a luxurious cream that will heal and protect your cuticles.

I’ve found once you make your first natural beauty product, you become hooked. Take the rest of your beeswax and whip up the best chapped lips remedy then use the rest of your apricot oil and you can get rid of those red bumps on the back of your arms.

How do you care for your cuticles?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links

Keeper of the Home

Links for this week:

The One Plate Project (How To Teach Your Kids To Share) @ A Deeper Story

Those little things I miss @ Simple Homeschool

The Best Mocha You’ll Ever Need @ Heavenly Homemakers

How Pursuing Your Gifts Impacts Your Kids @ A Holy Experience

Keeping journals: 5 ways your kids can start now @ The Art of Simple

Fermented Mixed Berries @ Nourished Kitchen

The Only Way Out @ (in)courage

The Best Chapped Lips Remedy: Homemade Lip Balm @ The Greenbacks Gal

And a question from our Facebook page this week… What’s your favorite thing to do when you have time time to yourself? Read? Crafting? Listen to music or a podcast? Binge-watch on Netflix?