Becca's Fab Five- October Edition
Over on my personal blog, I’m always sharing anecdotes from my personal life and trying to touch on some of the deeper thoughts that plague us as we age, get married, embrace our story, raise children, and question our existence. But every month, I like to publish a quick Fab Five. It’s just five little things that are working over at our house. I hope you’ll find something that makes your life just a little better, too! ~ Becca
I LOVE the Human Body with all of its mysteries and intricacies. New products and science are always coming down the pipe and it's hard to know what to read, where to spend your dollars, and when to focus your energy. I thought it would be helpful to show you just FIVE things I'm loving each month. Maybe a recipe, or a book, or an exercise or stretch..... Maybe a product, or a podcast, or a restaurant or venue. I'm giving you ONE THING in each of the areas of our Four Cornerstones or Health, plus a bonus. I hope you'll try them in your life and find a benefit for you!
I am really into fermented foods. The health benefits are indisputable and the flavor options abound, adding a little pizzazz to meats, stews, tacos and more! It can be a little scary to tackle the process of fermentation. Until recently, I did it the old way with a huge stone crock and it was a big process that created a huge batch. This made it difficult to do a lot of variety. Then my sweet Miss Diane gave me this book** and these Pickle Pipes. Mind. Blown.
“A Pickle Pipe is a one-piece, self-sealing, silicone and waterless airlock. When fermenting your own vegetables, it is important that carbon dioxide is allowed to escape (or else the jar can explode) and that oxygen is not allowed to enter (or else your food will spoil with mold).
The Pickle Pipe maintains the perfect, maintenance-free fermenting environment without the need to burp your jars every day or monitor the water levels of a clumsy 3-piece airlock.” What I love the most, though, is that I can cut up one cabbage and flavor it three different ways in three different jars. I can test a new recipe easily with a small amount of product and a shorter wait time. I LOVE THESE! Right now I have Pickled Beets, 3 different flavors of sauerkraut, and a super yummy cucumber/watermelon radish/matchstick carrot/onion combo. How do I eat these fermented foods? My kids just pound them by the fistful… fermented foods weren’t in my diet growing up, though. For me, adding these to lettuce wraps, tacos, or salads is the best way to include them in the diet.
** That book ^ and the Pickle Pipes is the perfect gift for a friend that is a kitchen enthusiast, since Christmas is looming and all…
The weather here in Florida is FINALLY cooling off. It’s difficult to get yourself and your family outside to enjoy some time in nature when it feels like you just opened the oven door every time you step outside. But alas, the cool down has begun! I feel strongly that going for a family hike is THE BEST movement, or movementS, you can get. Hiking some tough trails provides a muscular stimulus with uneven terrain, elevation changes, aaaaaand the added bonus of probably managing an awkward load as you carry a kid. I likely don’t have to tell you that shutting off all your electronics and stepping out into nature is good for your mental health and perceived stress level. You’ve experienced that before… and, well, science backs it up!
“Our anxiety is seeping into our kids. Children don’t need perfect parents...a parent who isn’t tired, stressed, worried or angry is so much better equipped to do a world of good simply by not freaking out. Managing your own stress is the most important thing you can do for your child.”
— The Self Driven Child
At our house, when the stress levels are rising, the to-do list is so overwhelming we don’t know where to start, or the kids are at each other’s throats, going for a hike is the ultimate game changer. If you are going to take kids with you, take a peak at THIS article I wrote a little while back to ensure you have a successful outing. Locally, my favorite hiking is out at Loyce Harpe Park in south Lakeland and Medard Park off of Hwy 60 towards Brandon. Regardless of where you decide to hike, give yourself a huge block of time. Trying to cram your Vitamin Nature in between other obligations just makes it stressful. Add to the variety of movement by looking down and looking up. Squat to get a closer peak, balance on a log, and test your strength by hanging from a limb. Hell, stop looking wistfully at that tree and climb it, too.
The world of supplements is super confusing. Even with my background in functional nutrition and constant continuing education, all the information can feel overwhelming. Supplements can be a HUGE part of the game of feeling your best, though, and tinkering with what you use can make a big difference in how you feel, how you sleep, and how you handle the stresses in life! Fish oil is one of those supplements that has gone in and out of the spotlight, even receiving some pretty bad press a year or so ago. The International Fish Oil Standards Program states, “Extensive clinical and epidemiological research has revealed numerous health benefits of EPA and DHA. DHA is found in the brain, retina and heart and is a particularly important dietary nutrient for infants and children as they grow and develop. EPA is heavily involved in the inflammatory pathway and may help prevent or alleviate diseases resulting from chronic inflammation. These include heart disease, stroke, obesity and arthritis.” EPA effectively inhibits the secretion of E2 series prostaglandins which inhibits the brain’s ability to release serotonin. you need the release of serotonin to regulate behavior. In other words, there is a lot of good reason to have a fish oil supplement in your diet! But nothing is ever that simple, is it? Supplemental Fish Oil isn’t always exactly what you think it is…
Fish oil concerns include:
Does your fish oil contain what the label says it does? With supplements being unregulated, it’s important to find a fish oil that is third party tested. This ensures you are getting what you want in the product!
How safe is your fish oil? Contaminants commonly detected in fish oil samples include heavy metals (e.g., mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium) PCBs, dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs. Clinical research suggests that contaminants from edible marine sources can have negative health effects, many of which outweigh the beneficial health effects of omega-3 intake.
How fresh is your fish oil? Ingredients that are prone to degradation or spoiling, such as fish oil, can quickly turn rancid if the product was not formulated adequately, not handled properly during manufacturing or stored in unsuitable conditions
These concerns are legitimate and when consuming poor quality fish oil, the negative effects can outweigh the benefits. The health benefits of fatty fish intake can be obtained by taking fish oil supplements. Fish oil is derived from the tissues of fish such as anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon and smelt, among others. Fish oil is available commercially in capsule and liquid form. Adult females should be consuming 1-1.5 grams of HIGH QUALITY fish oil per day, edging towards the higher amount or more if pregnant or nursing. Adult Males should get 1.4-1.8 grams per day. Babies and children should start with .5 grams and build up to 1.2 grams by the age of 13 yrs. Which fish oil should you use? You can always swing by Haka Fitness and grab the Eicosomax capsule or you can give one of these brands a try for the best quality product!
It’s important to me that my children grow up to be “Others Focused.” In today’s world, there are plenty of opportunities to be self-centered and narcissistic, including the ever-present temptation to capture every moment of my child’s life on camera….. deleting the imperfect ones, of course ;-) <-- That’s a blog post for another day
Last year, we started the December Party with a Purpose. Both my boys have birthdays in January. We work realllllllly hard to limit the ridiculous amount of material acquisition of “stuff” that happens at the Holidays, but it’s still so much. Anyways, a birthday party just seems like overkill. Thus, the tradition was born. We throw a Party with the purpose of raising money for a good cause. Instead of paying for gifts, we get together with the grandparents and each put in the money we would spend for gifts. With that, we throw a fundraiser instead. This year we are paying to have Tricky Rick’s Dog Show come perform. We’ll open the performance up to the public and simply ask that everyone bring something for the SPCA. We provide a list of acceptable donations. That’s it. My boys get a fun performance in their honor, lots of kids get to enjoy the show, tons of donations come in, and we deliver these donations as family to complete the circle. This is our second year of Tricky Rick’s Dog Show. After this, we might throw a Carnival, invite a different performance, or any number of other fun options. If you live locally, we hope you’ll come to our Party with a Purpose. You can see the event on FB and RSVP there. We’d love to have you!