Maty’s Healthy Products Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Certificate for Natural Cold Cures (and a bonus $50 gift card to Walmart)!

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Are you looking for a way to help your family feel better when they get hit with a cold? Are you tired of drugstore medicines that are full of ingredients that you’d rather not get any where near your kids? Then we’ve got a great giveaway for you!  Today we’re offering up a $50 gift certificate for Maty’s Healthy Products as well as a bonus $50 gift card to Walmart!

Help your family feel better the natural way with Maty’s fantastic line of healthy products, including all-natural cough syrup, baby chest rub, vapor rub, breathe better nasal ointment, and baby ointment. Their line features real, food-based ingredients like buckwheat honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon peel, and sea salt, and excludes the unhealthy, unpronounceable stuff you find in your average drugstore cold remedies.

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Stephanie recently reviewed their cough syrup when sickness visited her home and was grateful for the convenience of a product she could really trust, made with ingredients just like the ones she would reach for myself.

To enter our giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to Maty’s Healthy Products as well as a bonus $50 gift card to Walmart, enter your information in the form below.

Disclosure: This giveaway was generously sponsored by Maty’s Healthy Products, and we received a cough syrup sample for the purpose of review.

7 Simple Ways to Make Fitness a Habit that Sticks

7 Simple Ways to Make Fitness a Habit {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Nina Nelson, Contributing Writer

I used to hate folding laundry. I had no problems washing it and throwing it in the dryer, or even hanging it outside when the weather was fine. But folding it and putting it away? No thanks.

But one day, I decided that every time the dryer was done, I’d take items out one-by-one, fold them and put them in my basket. It was super simple and they didn’t get stuck on my couch or bed for hours (or days) at a time. I kept on, and soon found that it felt weird not to fold my clothes immediately. And then, one day a few months later, something happened.

I realized I’d created a habit that I now actually enjoy.

What does folding the laundry have to do with fitness? Not much. But the fact that I created a new habit has everything to do with physical activity because that’s also how I made fitness a must-have in my life.

If you need help making fitness a habit that sticks, read on for 7 helpful tips that’ll help you keep it super simple.

1. Think movement, not exercise

This simple shift in my mindset revolutionized fitness for me. Before, it was all about fitting in time to workout — which often was pushed way to the bottom of my list. Now, rather than dreading workouts, I make it a game of seeing how much I can move my body each day.

Now I walk, hike and do yoga. Sometimes I dance around with the kids or we play tag. These are all enjoyable and get me moving.

The key is to get used to moving your body and enjoying it. You don’t have to feel physically exhausted to get fit.

7 Simple Ways to Make Fitness a Habit {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

2. Track progress

I’m one of those people who loves to track their progress because I find it encouraging. I don’t keep spreadsheets or anything, but I do take note of certain things:

  • Steps: I’m slightly obsessed with my Fitbit pedometer. In a good way, I promise. I used to spend way too much time on my rear, but now I check my pedometer periodically throughout the day and use it as motivation to go on a walk or get off the computer so I can hit my goal of 10,000 steps each day.
  • Goals: I love goals and have certain ones set when it comes to my fitness level like being able to do 10 pushups, touching my toes and fitting into my lonely smaller jeans.

3. Have options

Do you ever get bored doing the same thing over and over again? Yeah, me too. One problem I’ve run into with fitness is that I’ll start doing a video and love it for the first week or so and when I think about doing it again the next week, I have no desire to.

That’s why it’s good to have options.

So don’t just pick one workout video or one activity and call it good. Make a list of things you like to do and keep it handy for those days when options A,B,C and D don’t sound appealing.

4. Start small

I’m one of those all or nothing people who likes to go from not being active at all to trying to workout 6 days a week. Guess what? It never works. Instead, I’ve found that by choosing one small, simple goal, like walking each day, and focusing on it for 30 days, I’m much more likely to succeed.

As tempting as it is to want to do it all, resist. Once you’ve created that one simple habit, you can build on it, or work on building a new habit.

It works.

7 Simple Ways to Make Fitness a Habit {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

5. Pick enjoyable activities

The chances of sticking to something, no matter how awesome the program is, are dismal if you can’t stand it.

 Or at the very least, not something you dread.

Choose activities you love.

6. Get a buddy

As an introvert, I love my alone time. Love it. But sometimes I crave time with people. Like when I exercise. If the thought of working out or even taking a walk by yourself sounds lame, invite a friend. Not only do you have that fellowship, but I also find I’m more likely to push myself when someone else is there.

Also, consider exercising with your spouse. It can be a lot of fun and is another great way to spend more time together.

7. Bust excuses

If you’re anything like me, it’s really easy to make excuses to avoid physical activity. But it’s got to stop if you want to make it a priority. These are my top 3 excuses and how I bust them before I can use them:

  • Money: I’ve had numerous gym memberships. They usually did nothing more than drain my pocket book. Exercise now consists of yoga, walking, YouTube videos and the (very) occasional jog. I usually use my own body weight, but I also have a yoga mat and kettlebell. That’s it. I even workout barefoot most of the time. Fancy clothing and equipment just isn’t necessary.
  • Time:  My husband is a paramedic with a weird schedule and we home school. So I often don’t have time to leave the house to workout. Instead, I choose shorter, more impactful routine — like my no-excuses, 15-minute workout. When I do yoga, I opt for a faster-paced Vinyasa flow that gets my heart rate up and builds strength.
  • Kids:  With four kids, it’s easy to let them be an excuse. But. They don’t have to be. Sometimes, I let them workout with me. Others, I’ll get up early and exercise with a quick video. And, of course, I’m grateful for my husband’s days off when he tells me to get out of the house and go to a yoga class.

I realize that these are all simple suggestions. And that’s what a healthy, active life should be: simple. It just takes the decision to do it and the determination to persevere and create those new habits.

Do you have any suggestions for making fitness a habit that sticks?

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 You Really Use

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This week’s top deals:

abe

20% Site-Wide Coupon Code Resolve to Save at Abe’s Market.  Today (January 13, 2015) is the last day for this offer so get it quickly!

towels

Only $12.99 each.  Earth-friendly Organic Spa Towel Collection by Gaiam.  Matching washcloths are just $1.99.

gogo

As Low As $20.40-$22.80 ($0.43-$0.48/pouch)  GoGo Squeez appleapple, Applesauce on the Go, 3.2-oz. Pouches, Count of 48 are on sale for $24. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

coco flourAs Low As $17.07-$19.07 ($4.27-$4.76/16 oz pkg) 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.

runa

As Low As $12.94-$14.79 Runa Amazon Guayusa Spice Tea, Organic Cinnamon – Lemongrass, 1 Pound is on sale for $18.49.  Save 15% when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

sunflower

As Low As $10.68-$11.93 Bob’s Red Mill Natural Raw Sunflower Seeds, 20-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4) is on sale for $12.56. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

bulk herbFind all January monthly deals at Bulk Herb Store.

shreddedAs Low As $9.15-$10.22 ($2.29-$2.56/12 oz bag)  Bob’s Red Mill Shredded Coconut Unsweetened, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) is on sale for $10.76. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

vanilla

A Low As $6.78-$7.58  McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract-16 OZ is on sale for $7.98. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

hair

WahlList Price $40.99 On Sale $16.99   Wahl 79300-400 Color Pro 20 Piece Complete Haircutting Kit (we don’t have this exact kit but a similar one and it saves us SO much money, cutting my husband’s and son’s hair! I actually like the look of this kit better than ours because of the color coded clipper guards).

terra

As Low As $8.36-$9.48 ($0.35-$0.40/1 oz pkg)  TERRA Original, Sea Salt, 1 Ounce (Pack of 24) is on sale for $11.15.  Save 10% on the first delivery of this subscription. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

coconut oilAs Low As $8.82-$9.86 Meldeens Raw Organic Extra Virgin Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil, 14-Ounce Jar is on sale for $10.38. Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

FREE Kindle eBooks:

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

tea guide

The Essential Tea Guide: A Guide To Over 230 Teas And Tisanes
home remedies

The Guide to Natural Home Remedies – Alternative Treatment Options You Wish You Knew
pilgrim

Pilgrim’s Progress: Updated, Modern English. Includes Original Illustrations.

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:

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

digging

Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening

kitchen

In the Kitchen Again, Soups, Stews and Casseroles

miserly

Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy

This week’s best coupons:

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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!

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

Ten years ago, I had no idea what was in the products I was using. Granted, I didn’t care what was in my food, personal care products or cleaning products. I was young, healthy … and blissfully ignorant. I (incorrectly) assumed that most products were safe.

Then one day I stumbled across information that many shampoos were made with dangerous ingredients. After I realized that sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate weren’t the safest for humans, I discovered that cosmetics also could be hazardous. Some mascaras were made with mercury. There used to be lead in lipsticks.

As I learned that products were unsafe, I researched how it was possible – it’s possible because of lax safety regulations in the U.S. (In America, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose what’s in their cleaning products or personal care products.)

Very quickly, I discovered my first step in healthy living: know what’s in my products. When I don’t make my own products from scratch, I need to know  the ingredients.

Read before you buy

This is as easy as reading ingredient labels.

But it’s also tricky. Exactly what are all the ingredients – especially the ones I can’t even pronounce? Are they safe – or unsafe?

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

As a simple solution, I try to stick to products that have ingredients I know and can pronounce – and only a few ingredients are used. Take my bottle of unsulphured blackstrap molasses, for example. I looked at the label and the one and only ingredient is – you guessed it! – molasses.

Know your personal preferences

Over the years, I’ve also developed my own personal preference list of ingredients that are acceptable – and ones I also avoid.

I’ve made mental notes and know what I want to avoid in my food.

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

It’s safe to say I want to avoid EVERY ingredient on this list!

This, by no means, is my entire list, but for starters I choose to not buy food with:

(One FANTASTIC resource for specifics in food labeling and ingredients is Stephanie’s recent post.)

I also know what I want to avoid in personal care products and cosmetics:

When in doubt, I check with the Environmental Working Group’s recommendations.

On the flip side, I also know what I want to look for in ingredient labels – particularly anything that’s non-GMO or certified organic.

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

I know that every single product I choose to use isn’t completely safe. But my current product choices are radically different than when I didn’t care about my health.

I love using safe products – and being willing to try new products that are safe for my family. These safe products enter my home after I’ve done my research … and that all starts by reading labels.

Find Safe Products By Reading Labels {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Do you read labels? What ingredients do you choose to avoid?

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!

PlanToEat-150x150This post is sponsored by Plan To Eat. If you know you need to make strides towards regular meal planning and you’re looking for a tool to make it easier, I highly recommend you check out Plan To Eat’s virtual tour. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how it works! Plan To Eat was born from a desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together.

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

Burn the Candles @ Shauna Niequist

Offline relationships still matter. @ John Acuff

Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free) @ Mommypotamus

Finding Hope in the Before & After … It’s Not Beyond Repair @ Hands Free Mama

Want to get more done? Stop making so many decisions! @ Money Saving Mom

Easy Crock-pot Chicken Teriyaki (For Delicious Rice Bowls!) @ The Nourishing Gourmet

How do you measure the state of your life? @ Life Your Way

To the Mama Wondering What Life With Your Baby’s Diagnosis Will Be Like @ The Mighty

How are your resolutions coming along? Where do you need some encouragement?

“But I’m Too Tired To Workout!” {Exercise Tips For Exhausted Mamas}

"But I'm Too Tired To Workout!" Exercise Tips For Exhausted Mamas {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

Before I start writing this post where I tell you I haven’t worked out in 18 months, first let me defend myself. I used to run marathons. Okay … half marathons. I ran half marathons.

I used to go to the gym daily. And sweat. And lift weights. And have biceps. Are you impressed with Former Me yet? Good. I’ll stop.

Needless to say, all this energy and fitness disappeared about the time my milk came in six years ago. If you are one of those super-moms who is still waking up to feed a baby three times a night and then getting up to do Zumba at 5:30 every day, then you may want to stop reading. This post might be a bit elementary for you.

But if you, too, feel so tired you can’t think, yet you simultaneously feel guilty about all the exercise videos you’re not doing, then read on. Here are a few of my exercise tips on how exhausted moms can still work out.

  • Tip number one is very important. Make adjusted, reasonable goals. For me, I am humbly telling you that my goal is to exercise four times a week for twenty minutes. This is such a pathetically simple goal it’s almost not worth making. Almost. Yet it is worth making, because it is a habit, and it is a thousand times better than no workouts. It’s a start to habitual, healthy living.
  • Re-evaluate the type of workout you can do. Especially if you were formerly a fit person, your past ideas of exercise might be harming vs. helping you. You may not have the time or energy for an hour of sweat yoga in a gym, or five mile runs through the park. There’s nothing shameful about a walk around the neighborhood or a twenty minute free yoga video on YouTube. It’s something. My personal favorite is Fit2Be, which I reviewed here.
  • Utilize energy-boosting tactics. I list a few of my favorites here.
  • Take your vitamins. Often in stressful seasons, a mom’s healthy living gets pushed to the back burner. This is much to the detriment of the whole family. I have to make myself take my vitaminsthese days, even if things are chaotic. I recently saw a huge improvement in my energy levels simply by adding a good-sized dose of Vitamin D during the dark winter months.
  • Name and claim your “why.” Though this might sound trite and cliche, it really can be helpful. Write “why” you want to exercise and tape it to the fridge. Whatever that good reason is in the depth of your soul, remind yourself daily. In my most recent season, I found a lot of encouragement by taping this verse to the fridge.
  • Find a partner to hold you accountable.  Husbands are particularly helpful for this! Or,  join my 40-Day Exercise Challenge For Moms. It starts next week!

Do you exercise during all stages of life? What exercise tips do you have for working out through fatigue?

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

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals:

 

abe

$10 Coupon to Jump Start Your Post Holiday Detox at Abe’s Market: $10 Off Any Purchase of $40+  Use Code: SMOOTHIE.  Offer expires January 6, 2015 (TODAY!)

travel-berkey-sysBerkey Water Filter Scratch & Dent Sale 

  • Travel Berkey Scratch & Dent Regular $228 Special Scratch & Dent Price $205
  • Big Berkey Regular Price $258 Special Scratch & Dent Price $219
  • Imperial Berkey Regular Price $310 Special Scratch & Dent Price $264

babyganics

Lowest Price To-Date List Price $32.01 On Sale $22.74  As low as $19.33 ($6.44/16 oz bottle)  Babyganics Baby Shampoo + Body Wash, Fragrance Free, 16oz Pump Bottle (Pack of 3)  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

burt

As Low As $5.94/12 oz Bottle Burt’s Bees Peppermint and Rosemary Body Wash, 12 Fluid Ounces is on sale for $6.99.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

7th gen

As Low As $21.17-$24.36 ($0.44-$0.51/roll) Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue, 2-ply, 300 Sheets, 12-Count (Pack of 4) is on sale for $31.96.  Save $6 after your coupon is applied to the first delivery of this subscription (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.  

legoLowest Price To-Date List Price $29.99 On Sale $23.49.  LEGO Movie 70805 Trash Chomper  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. (Not exactly natural living, but in our family we really value creative, open-ended toys, and lego definitely fits the bill. It gets reused in a million different ways and provides hours of creativity, so we love building up our kid’s stash.)

(Hat tip to Jungle Deals & Steals for these lowest price to-date deals!)

coconut-oil

Buy 1 Pint Get 1 Free Pure Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions  That’s a $25.00 retail value for only $12.50 and a $3.48 savings over their regular sale price!  Sale ends Thursday, January 8, 2015

lipBuy 1 Get 1 Free 100% Pure Organic Lip Moisturizer made with Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Virgin Palm Oil, and organic beeswax from Tropical Traditions.  That’s a $7.00 retail value for only $3.50 and a $2.50 savings over their normal sale price for 2! They come in 5 varieties: Cinnamon/Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil, Orange/Cinnamon, Citrus, Vanilla, Coconut, and Unscented.  On sale until Sunday, January 11, 2015   That’s a $7.00 retail value for only $3.50 and a $2.50 savings over their normal sale price for 2! 

FREE Kindle eBooks:

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

simpleSimple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life

365365 Best Inspirational Quotes: Daily Motivation For Your Best Year Ever

quinoaThe Quinoa Master Cookbook: Delicious Everyday Quinoa Recipes For A Healthy Lifestyle & Weight Loss

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:

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

5 min

5 Minute Morning Boosters: How to create a short morning routine and supercharge your life
fit family

Healthy Habits for a Fit Family

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-jan-6

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!

Learn to Bake Healthier with Everyday Grain-Free Baking

Learn to Bake Healthier with Everyday Grain-Free Baking {KeeperOfTheHome.org}By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

The start of a new year often rekindles our desire to eat healthier! And for many of us that means saying goodbye to all of those empty-calorie carbs and refined sugars that always seem to creep in during the holidays.

But rather than take drastic measures and completely nix baked goods altogether, what if I told you there’s a way to enjoy traditional baked good favorites without all of the unwanted carbs, refined sugars and gluten?

It’s true!

 it’s truly a wonderful and tasty way for everyone to enjoy healthy and delicious baked goods without compromising good nutrition.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce my first published cookbook, Everyday Grain-Free Baking! And share a delicious, easy-to-make recipe from the book – Favorite Fruit Muffins.

Learn to Bake Healthier with Everyday Grain-Free Baking {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

This delightful recipe is just one of more than 100 irresistible gluten-free, dairy-free recipes in Everyday Grain-Free Baking. From breads, biscuits and muffins to savory snacks and decadent treats, you’ll find step-by-step instructions, beautiful color photographs and helpful tips & tidbits to make all of your low carb, gluten-free baking adventures a delicious success!

My heart in creating Everyday Grain-Free Baking was to transform the everyday comfort foods we hold dear into delightfully flavorful and satisfying GF versions that are so remarkably similar to traditional gluten-based foods that everyone will enjoy these recipes, whether or not they’re living a GF lifestyle.

In fact, I’ve made it my mission to develop recipes that really do taste like the real deal, because I know SO MANY of us struggle with the same challenge – trying to make tasty healthy foods that the whole family can enjoy without having to become a short-order cook!

Discovering recipes that will work for everyone – that actually taste AMAZING – is what Everyday Grain-Free Baking is all about!

Learn to Bake Healthier with Everyday Grain-Free Baking {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

See for yourself how delicious gluten-free, grain-free baking can be … this simply scrumptious recipe is one of my family’s favorites and I hope it will soon become one of yours too. Enjoy!

5 from 1 reviews
Grain-Free Favorite Fruit Muffins
 
Author:
Cuisine: Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free option
Serves: 8 muffins
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 tsp coconut flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup plain whole milk (or coconut milk) yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 315°F. Place 8 paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the blanched almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, honey, lemon juice and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Using a spoon, slowly stir in the almond flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Then fold in the blueberries and evenly distribute the batter among the 8 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for approximately 22–25 minutes, until edges begin to turn a golden brown and a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

 

Learn to Bake Healthier with Everyday Grain-Free Baking {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

What are your favorite baked good classics that you’d like to transform into healthy and delicious GF versions?

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

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Links for week:

Why I’m doing something I don’t like doing today. @ John Acuff

On Fresh Mercy and Quiet Grace @ (in)courage

DIY Herbal Perfume Recipe @ Wellness Mama

The Only New Year’s Resolutions I Think Are Actually Worth Making @ Lisa-Jo Baker

Ditch the Life Coach and Do the Daily Chores @ New Urban Habitat

Southwest Taco Soup @ Red and Honey

How small shifts can lead to big impact @ Simple Homeschool

7 Tips to Help Keep Your Resolution to Declutter @ Becoming Minimalist

January 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

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

Modern Wellness | Essential oils are an effective way to boost your immune system. Be proactive about your health!

What are some of your goals for the new year?

Finally! A cough syrup I’m happy with!

150102maty

Cold and cough season sure is upon us, isn’t it?

Like many of you, we do our best to:

  1. Pump up our immune systems through real food to minimize how much we get sick in the first place
  2. Use many simple, effective home remedies to deal with illness when it does happen. We eat foods like raw garlic and fresh citrus, cut out all sweeteners, stay extra hydrated, enjoy warm herbal teas with raw honey, among other things.
  3. We turn to natural, herbal store-bought remedies when necessary.

Though I make many of my own remedies, I’ve also experimented with various types of cold syrup over the years, for those times when we get hit really bad (or when mama is too sick to make anything).

It’s slightly ironic that I’m sitting here typing this review during a week when both myself and my youngest son have actually used this cough syrup, because by golly, I’ve been feeling under the weather. I know it’s mostly the result of a lowered immune system while pregnant, and of course the simple fact that colds and flus are going around our community right now. Nonetheless, it’s never fun.

Two days ago, my cold went from being more in my head (headache, low fever, badly stuffed up nose) to my chest. Now I’ve got a sore throat and I’m coughing. A lot. My little guy woke up the other night with a bit of a wheeze and a bad cough as well. All of this was entirely unplanned, but did give us the perfect opportunity to really try out the Maty’s All Natural Cough Syrup I was sent for review.

matys_cough_syrup_whole_family

(Seriously, if I got sick just for a blog review, that would be real dedication. I promise, this was pure coincidence.)

What’s in YOUR cough syrup?

Now, I’m pretty picky about ingredients and I’m not a fan of most products on the pharmacy store shelves. Even supposedly “natural”cough syrups tend to have some sort of sugar and preservatives in them, or else they taste truly awful, or they don’t particularly work to promote healing.

Since we tend to just avoid over-the-counter or pharmaceuticals across the board, I wasn’t actually sure what sort of ingredients were lurking in conventional cough syrups.

High fructose corn syrup and artificial food dyes, I figured, as well as some sort of pharmaceutical intended to suppress a cough. But propylene glycol, so many nasty preservatives, parabens? I didn’t not expect it to be that bad (though really, I should have known better), nor that they would have so many possible side effects.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got Maty’s All Natural Cough Syrup in the mail and saw these ingredients (compared with several other conventional brands):

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This is really all that’s in it (other than distilled water and olive oil and a little banana flavor in the kid’s version). Nothing extra, nothing hidden.

I really love this ingredient list. If there’s going to be a sweetener, honey is the one that I would want to see (especially because honey is known for its soothing and healing properties, and buckwheat honey is a great choice in particular).

The funny thing is, when I look at the list, I realize I could probably make something very similar. Isn’t that what we natural mamas do?

That’s why I chuckled a little when I saw this in the FAQs on the Maty’s website:

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Bingo. My thoughts exactly.

I can’t tell you how grateful I was this week for the convenience of a product I could really trust, made with ingredients just like the ones I would reach for myself.

In fact, we also have Maty’s All Natural Vapor Rub, and both of those little jars got a whole lot of use, because I didn’t have the energy to do my usual thing and whip something up.

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Actually, I think that often becomes a barrier or excuse for not using something better. We know that we should use more natural, pure ingredients instead of something off of a shelf, but we lack the time and energy to make it ourselves. So we reach for something easier, something more convenient. (All the while, inwardly cringing and feeling a bit guilty about it, right?)

As my lifestyle has gotten busier over the last few years, with a growing family (in quantity and in age), more school-aged kids to homeschool, and taking on more part-time work along with my responsibilities as a mom and homemaker, I’ve had to make a bit of a shift. My focus used to be on learning how to make everything and anything myself. I wanted to control every ingredient and I wanted to do it frugally. I had more time on my hands back then, and it fit that season of my life.

These days I often feel like I have to choose a more convenient option. Thing is, my values and views about health, the foods we eat and products we use haven’t changed. That’s forced me to look for more and more alternative options, from farmers I trust, from companies I believe in, from brands I can rely on.

Now, there is absolutely a value in making and doing things ourselves. I still try to make as much as I can, and I probably always will. That personal quality control, not to mention the cost savings, is priceless.

But a number of years ago, when I was getting more and more into gardening and backyard homesteading, my husband had to really lay it down for me and let me know that while he supported my interests, this was something that he had absolutely no interest in ever taking up himself. He told me “Stephanie, I’ll never be a farmer. Never. But, if you believe in this stuff then we’ll spend our money supporting really great farmers and buying their food instead of growing it all ourselves. I’m all for that.

When it comes to some of the products we use for our beauty, skincare and home remedies, I’ve been taking that same perspective lately. I want brands making products just like the ones I’d want to make myself, so I can support them while simultaneously crossing one more thing off of my to-do list.

That’s how I feel about companies like Maty’s. In fact, that’s how I feel about most of the companies I do reviews for. All that you see is the review that goes up in the end, but what you don’t know is how carefully I check out the company before I ever say yes – I read their website, I look at their ingredients, I learn about their practices and products, and then, if I like what I see, I say yes to that review.

Bottom line on this cough syrup? I think it does 3 things really well:

  1. It soothes and reduces coughing. Does it do it completely? No, because it’s not meant to mask your symptoms. But for both myself and my 2 year old, it calmed down our coughing and soothed our throats enough that we were able to sleep decently.
  2. It boosts the immune system, naturally. One of the key points in using natural remedies is that we’re aiming to support and build up our immune system so that it can battle what we’re fighting more effectively (rather than just cover up our symptoms and hope they eventually go away). The ingredients in this syrup are all effective immune boosters.
  3. It does it with ingredients you could find in your kitchen. In other words, they’re pure, simple and safe.

I would buy this again. It’s probably the best of the various natural cough syrups I’ve tried over the years (and for that matter, we liked the vapor rub a lot, too).

Interested in trying it yourself? Find a local store that carries Maty’s products or purchase directly through their website.

What do you use for a cough? And I’m curious… where are you currently at in the balance between making things yourself and supporting brands that are making products you can believe in?

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Maty’s Healthy Products. Product was also sent to me for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own (unless quoted as being directly from the Maty’s website).