Kefir has always been a mainstay in my family; but up until now, the kids usually only had it in smoothies once or twice a week. Since I always have plenty of kefir on hand, I figured I needed to step it up and serve it more often. Again, reading _The Body Ecology Diet_ reminded me of the immense benefits of kefir for healing and restoring the microflora of the gut.
For the past two weeks or so, our bedtime routine has included a glass of kefir. Rich in protein, minerals, and probiotics (not to mention many other things: go here for more info), kefir is the perfect bedtime snack. Its high calcium and magnesium content calms the nervous system and the profuse amount of probiotics helps to digest dinner!
I’ve noticed that both of my sweet kiddos (Jonathan dodged the camera in the picture above, but you can see his orange straw representing for him!) LOVE their nighttime kefir. It couldn’t be simpler to make. Here’s what I do:
I use 3 simple ingredients: stevia, alcohol-free vanialla, and raw goat’s milk kefir (for info on how to make it and get starters,check out my resources page). Cinnamon is also a good addition. Basically, any sugar free “spice” you like can be added, but my kids are into vanilla and/or cinnamon right now. Trader Joe’s sells an alcohol-free glycerine-based vanilla extract for a little over $3.00.
1 cup of goat kefir
8 drops stevia
1/8 tsp alcohol-free vanilla flavor
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Serve it with a straw (doesn’t every kid love a straw?!?!) and know that your kids will have incredible nourishment throughout the night.
Since giving her the kefir nightly, my daughter has slept soundly through the night (whereas before she was waking up once or twice screaming for something to eat or drink).
Incidentally, this is an awesome “good morning” drink as well! I sometimes just have a glass of kefir in the morning and find that often it’s all I need for several hours.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend investing in a milk-kefir grain. Read the links I posted above; this drink is amazing.
Thanks to Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet I have been inspired to use more seaweed in our family’s diet. Without totally repeating Donna’s Chapter on sea vegetables, I will share some quick snacks that have been a huge hit with my picky 3 year old.
From Body Ecology:
“Ocean vegetables are important to restoring your body ecology because they naturally control the growth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A body ecology imbalance or immune system disorder causes a severe mineral deficiency, plus we have been eating foods grown in mineral-deficient soil for most of our lives. Ocean vegetables are rich in minerals and trace elements lacking in our diets today, and are organized in such a way that the body can assimilate them easily.”
My daughter had a severely imbalaced Body Ecology resulting from a whole year of prophylactic antibiotic use due to a kidney reflux disorder. Add to that my own ignorance about proper nutrition at the time. I was giving her a diet rich in grains that her body couldn’t digest; which only fed the yeast! This resulted in an inability of her to absorb minerals. Rebuilding her body ecology was essential. Beneficial microflora in our intestines are the key to mineral absorbtion.
Now that her gut has had time to heal and rebuild its microflora, her little body is starving for mineral-rich foods. Seaweed has been an amazing solution. These crunchy, salty snacks are low in carbs (if any) and high in a broad spectrum of trace minerals such as iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron and many others.
One delicous favorite has been Dulse Chips.
Dulse is salty and very tasty. It’s high in all the minerals mentioned above, along with vitamin B6. Sea Vegetables purchased from Eden Foods or Maine Coast Sea Vegetables are additive-free and carefully processed to retain enzymes and to be free of any pollutants. These nutrient-dense foods keep well for long periods of time, and would be ideal “rations” to have on hand in the event that times get tough with food.
If your local food store does not carry Maine Coast, you can order through the link below (this is for a bulk order, not just one package!):
Eden brand is also very highly recommended. You can purchase in bulk through Amazon. The cost looks hefty, but a little goes a long way when reconstituted (you can’t tell from the picture, but that’s for a pack of six, and it only takes about 2 T for a serving:
For a more economical seaweed (that is extremely high in trace minerals and nutrients also) is kelp:
1st way my kids love seaweed: Dulse Chips
How to make dulse (or kelp) chips:
1. Put about 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (or bacon grease) in a skillet (when melted, oil should cover the entire skillet at least 1/8 of an inch or so). Melt over medium-high heat. Place dulse (or kelp strips) inside skillet.
2) When dulse turns a light green, which will happen quickly, turn over. When both sides are light green, remove and drain on paper towel. Kelp will also turn lighter. Be careful not to burn!
2nd way my kids love seaweed: Nori strips (plain)
Nori strips are those which are commonly found in sushi restaurants. They are long and flat, and can be eaten plain or rolled up to make sushi. Nori isn’t the most nutrient-dense, but it certainly isn’t bad . It contains some iron and calcium. It’s great toasted (simply put over a burner for a minute or two until crisp).
3rd way my kids love seaweed: Arame Saute
Arame is an extremely easy to use seaweed, and it’s very kid-friendly. I like to saute chopped kale and scallions with the arame (it takes about 5 minutes for it to soak and reconstitute) and toss with toasted sesame oil and nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce). My kids devour this! You can use any veggies you like, but this one is a personal favorite.
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy seaweed? Please share!
This recipe is adapted from my favorite Slow-Cooker book; Healthy Crockery Cookery by Mabel Hoffman. I discussed this book and outlined some of my favorite recipes back in this post.
Taco Meat w/ Hidden Veggies
My family eats this like it’s going out of style! It’s great for a nourishing lunch or dinner. I use it to make tacos, burritos, taco salad, or just top with avocado and fresh tomatoes and leave it alone!
1 pound ground beef or turkey ( preferably from organic/free range/grass fed animals)
3 scallions, including tops, sliced
1 large bunch spinach , wash, stemmed, and cut into 1/4 ” slices
2 carrots, peeled and shredd
1 packet dry taco seasonings (I make my own to avoid MSG found in most all packaged taco seasonings using garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano , and sea salt. I just let the spirit lead when it comes to amounts, but it’s never been bad! )
To make your own taco seasoning mix, check out this website.
Directions: Mix crumbled meat with taco seasoning s and place in slow cooker. Layer with the vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until onions are tender.
Note: Despite the inclusion of spinach, it does not detract at all from the overall flavor and texture. Rather, it absorbs the flavors very impressively and melds quite well with the meat. So much so that my children never bat an eye when eating it!