Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic: Your Dragon Glass for this Winter’s War

Ok. I truly hate to be the one to bring this up while we are all enjoying a beautiful summer, but…Winter Is Coming! We need a stockpile of “dragon glass” (aka fermented garlic) to win the war against colds, sinus infections, flus, bronchitis, and stomach bugs this sickness season. (If you’re not a Game Of Thrones fan, I apologize, but I just couldn’t resist.) Even though I believe a crucial part of being healthy is being present in the moment, this, of course, has to be balanced with preparation for the future, something I failed at last year because “winter” came early. 

Last winter:

Last winter was a doozy for us here in the pacific northwest, especially my little household! I can usually get through the winter with a cold or two (and rarely a GI bug), but not last winter. My littlest one started preschool and brought home every sniffle and flu. Every single one. I had meant to make this fermented garlic, but the season started off with a bang in September, and if I wasn’t sick myself, I was caring for a sick child (or two). I had my usual arsenal of homemade echinacea tincture (go here to learn how to make your own tinctures), elderberry syrup, raw cod liver oil, and kraut juice (this one was our savior), but I feel like if I had had the fermented garlic, I could have prevented more of the colds or nipped them in the bud before they took me (and my family) down.  

This summer:

Fast forward to this beautiful, sunny summer day, and I am starting my preparations for the winter to come. The first item on my list is to stockpile fermented garlic for my family and friends. With fermented garlic, you get the benefits of raw garlic multiplied without the drawbacks such as garlic breath and garlic sweat. I am sensitive to the smell of raw garlic on my breath or through my skin, but fermented garlic and cooked garlic are fine. Although cooked garlic is good for you, it doesn’t hold a candle to raw garlic, and can’t even come close to being compared with fermented garlic. As always, I would love to break down the nutrition for you in my attempt to convince you to make this for your family as well.  

Fermented Raw Garlic:

Garlic Cloves

  • Is powerfully antibacterial. It has been shown to be effective against drug resistant bacteria. 
  • Is anti-fungal, and antiviral. It can not only prevent colds and flus but also lessen the severity and duration. It has been shown to be particularly effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the GI tract and lungs. This is due to the high allicin content. 
  • Is loaded with probiotics to support your microbiome
  • Lowers blood pressure and protects against heart disease
  • Balances cholesterol levels by lowering bad cholesterol
  • Contains protective antioxidants
  • Promotes healthy blood sugar levels and can even help with diabetes
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Reduces yeast infections such as Candida
  • Can reduce build up of plaque in the arteries
  • Removes heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body
  • Is helpful for ulcerative colitis

To make one quart of fermented garlic you will need:

  • 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 2 T sea salt
  • One quart mason jar
  • Airlock lid (optional)
  • herbs (optional) Some good and tasty antibacterial and antiviral herbs are oregano and rosemary.
  • Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)

First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls and shake, shake, shake!! (Metal bowls are really the only way to go here. Borrow them if you have to. You don’t want to peel this many cloves with a paring knife or even one of those rollers. ) Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.

Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a more mild roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like. 


Fermented Garlic
Fermented garlic to prevent and lessen the severity of colds and flus.
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  2. 2 T sea salt
  3. One quart mason jar
  4. Airlock lid (optional)
  5. herbs (optional)
  6. Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)
  1. First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls (metal is best) and shake, shake, shake!! Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.
  2. Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Fermented Garlic

How should I use my fermented garlic?

  • First, you can just chomp on a clove if you feel a cold coming on. I would probably follow that with some elderberry syrup mixed with echinacea tincture a few times a day. Mixing fermented garlic with raw honey is another (tastier) possibility. Raw honey has it’s own host of benefits when it comes to fighting colds and flus. You can’t go wrong with a bit of kraut juice either. 
  • Second, use your fermented garlic preventatively in cooking. (This will probably be the easiest way to get it in your children if you have them.) I prefer to use it in unheated dishes so that I don’t kill the probiotics. Some ideas are white bean dip, hummus, salsas, salad dressings, garlic butter, and pesto. Basically, anywhere you would use raw garlic or roasted garlic should work.Be sure to save the garlic brine after all the garlic is used up. It is great to use in dressings or marinades.


Have you had fermented garlic before? If so, did you ferment it yourself? What did you think?



Magnesium Deficiency

Do You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?

It is estimated that 80-90% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. Are you one of them? Let me help you figure that out.

Things that contribute to a magnesium Deficiency:

  • Eating things containing refined sugar and/or corn syrup (both high fructose and regular)
  • Eating refined grains such as white flour, white rice, etc.
  • Eating packaged and/or processed food
  • Not getting enough sleep 
  • Consuming 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week (or binge drink)
  • Eating a high protein diet
  • Not consuming your recommended veggie allowance (especially if you are missing dark leafy greens)
  • Being stressed 
  • Having been sick recently
  • Getting sick frequently
  • Eating fast food
  • Eating non-organic dairy
  • Eating a semi-decent diet but don’t supplement with magnesium
  • Not eating grains, seeds, nuts, or legumes
  • Eating meat that is not pastured/grass-fed (especially lunch meat and hot dogs)
  • Drinking a lot of coffee (decaf or regular) or black or green tea
  • Drinking soda or juice (pasteurized) Bye Bye juice boxes for kids!!!!
  • Using iodized salt
  • Drinking water that has with chlorine and/or fluoride in it

As you can see, this list encompasses most of the country. This rampant deficiency is so important to rectify!! If you have been reading my blog, you have probably heard me mention magnesium numerous times. I promised a full post on the benefits of this mineral in my 10 ways to Sneak Nutrients into your Diet without Taking a Pill post and here it finally is!! In preparation for this post, I re-read Carolyn Dean’s The Magnesium Miracle. I highly recommend this book. It is hard to believe that there is 250 pages of information regarding this mineral, but there is and it is well worth reading! There is a section on each disorder/disease with the scientific information on how a magnesium deficiency can be the cause of or exacerbate the disorder. If you have any of the disorders below, or even just a family history, you should read the book, paying special attention to your section.

Problems that Can be caused or exacerbated by a magnesium deficiency:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Asthma
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines and Pain
  • Cholesterol and Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity and Syndrome X
  • Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
  • PMS
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS)
  • Infertility
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps)
  • Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • SIDS
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bladder incontinence (not having full control of your bladder at all times and needing to pee frequently during the night) 
  • Kidney Stones
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Premature Aging and Alzheimer’s

Why are we magnesium deficient?

Although our poor diet is the largest contributing factor to this problem, it is not the only factor. Despite the fact that Americans eat such a poor diet, with around 25% of our calories coming from junk food and 90% of our food budget on processed food, we also have to contend with soil depletion and erosion. Even if you do eat a great diet by making most of your food at home and eating plenty of fresh veggies, nuts, and seeds, you might still be magnesium deficient because the food you are eating has significantly less magnesium than the food your great-grandma ate. What are we to do?

How should I correct my magnesium Deficiency?

Eat a diet high in magnesium-rich foods:

The good news if that you have been eating to feed your microbiome and get resistant starch, a lot of those same foods are high in magnesium. Some magnesium rich foods include:

      • Dark leafy greens such as kale
      • Wheat germ and bran
      • Buckwheat
      • Nuts such as brazil nuts, cashews, and pecans
      • Molasses
      • Some of your best magnesium providers can be found in your yard or garden such as nettles, cilantro, chickweed, dandelion.
      • Kelp powder and Dulse (seaweed) are also a good sources.
      • Avoid anything processed, refined, or fried, especially fast food. 
      • Choose organic pastured meat and dairy. 
      • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
      • Manage your stress with exercise, meditation, yoga, or whatever works for you.
      • Avoid over-the-counter and prescription medications when there is a viable option.
      • Avoid refined sugar and refined sugar products.
      • Avoid sodas and pasteurized juices. 

Supplement with magnesium oil:

Transdermal (through your skin) supplementation is the safest method. Your skin will only absorb the amount  magnesium that you need. This eliminates the possible colon flush that can come with taking oral doses of magnesium. Sprays such as Ancient Minerals have a 25% concentration. This means that each spray has 13-18 mg. The recommended dose is 3-4.5 mg per pound of body weight. So a female weighing 140 pounds would take 420-630 mg a day. She needs to spray 24-36 sprays a day. Be sure to choose the fattiest parts of your body for spraying. When you are deficient, the spray has an uncomfortable tingle. That tingle is worse if you spray it on a bony part of your body such as an ankle. You need to leave the spray on for about 30 minutes to be sure that it absorbs. You could do half of your sprays in the morning when you wake up and then shower after 30 minutes. In the evening, the magnesium helps you sleep if you do it at least a half an hour before sleep. If it is too tingly, wash it off before going to bed. You can also create a magnesium roller for your feet with magnesium oil and essential oils to aid sleep. 

Supplement with epsom salt baths and/or magnesium flake baths:

Again, transdermal  supplementation is the safest. Enjoy a nice hot bath with magnesium flakes or epsom salts. The flakes have a higher concentration of magnesium (5 times as much), but the epsom salts are detoxifying. I like to combine them. I use Ancient Minerals  magnesium flakes and Dr.Teal’s epsom salts (I buy the plain and add my own essential oils). I try to take a magnesium bath a couple of times a week (unless it is summer and too hot).

Supplement with oral magnesium:

If you do choose an oral dose, Dean recommends magnesium citrate. Follow the instructions on the bottle. We supplement with Calm after being sick or engaging in another activity that depletes magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency


Do you think you are probably deficient? Do you supplement with magnesium? Did you notice health changes after your started? I would love to hear from you!

Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread

Tiger Nut “Corn” bread: A Delicious Way to get your Resistant Starch (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Corn-free)

Although there is no corn in this cornbread-like tiger nut bread, it is tasty and loaded with resistant starch! If you haven’t yet heard of the importance of resistant starch, go here. If you have, then you are probably hoping to find some easy ways to incorporate resistant starch into your diet to feed your microbiome. Well here you go, my friend. First though, indulge me while I breakdown the other benefits of tiger nuts for you. 🙂

Tiger NutS:

  • Are not a nut but a tuber.
  • Contain resistant starch to feed the bacteria in your colon (as stated above)
  • Are full of antioxidants
  • Contain a ton of fiber (10 grams per serving) 
  • Are antibacterial
  • are a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and B6

Quick note: If you are experiencing a gluten sensitivity, are Celiac, or just like to rotate your grains seasonally like we try to do, you can rest easy because this recipe is gluten-free. If you make this bread with buckwheat flour instead of brown rice flour, it will also be grain-free. As stated above, there isn’t actually any corn in this recipe either. We call it tiger nut “corn” bread because the gritty texture of the tiger nut flour is reminiscent of the grittiness of corn bread. We like to top this bread with cultured honey butter!

Tiger Nut “Corn” Bread Recipe (gluten-free)

  • 2/3 cup tiger nut flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or you van use rice flour if you aren’t grain-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 pastured eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup non-homogenized grass-fed milk or milk substitute (coconut milk works well)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons melted grass-fed butter, plus 2 more for pan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put your cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Take skillet out of oven and add a couple of tablespoons of butter and melt it.
  5. Pour batter into hot cast iron skillet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread
A corn bread like tasty treat full of resistant starch.
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 2/3 cup tiger nut flour
  2. 1 cup rice flour (brown or white) (Use Acadian Buckwheat for grain-free version)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  4. 2 tablespoons baking powder
  5. 3 pastured eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 1 cup milk or milk substitute
  7. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  8. 6 tablespoons melted grass-fed butter or ghee, plus 2 more for pan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put your cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Take skillet out of oven and add a couple of tablespoons of butter and melt it.
  5. Pour batter into hot cast iron skillet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread


Are you gluten-free or grain-free and looking forward to tasting something like corn bread again? 

Resistant Starch

Resistant Starch: What is it, Why You Need it, and How to Get it

Resistant starch (RS) is yet another area where the Standard American Diet (SAD) is lacking. Americans average just 3-9 grams of resistant starch a day. Whole foods, plant based diets in developing countries get around 30-40 grams per day. Some experts believe our paleo ancestors consumed about 135 grams per day by eating tubers, roots, medicinal tree barks, and other wild plant foods. 

Why are we so deficient? Aside from not hunting and gathering and chewing on roots and barks along the way, we’ve also refined the resistant starch right out of our diet. We eat quick cooking rolled oats instead of whole or split oat groats soaked and cooked, we eat white bread instead of whole wheat sourdough, we eat meat, meat, and more meat, instead of seeds and legumes. You get the idea.  Ok, so you get that we are lacking, right? Now let me tell you what resistant starch is, how it can help you, and how to get it without going out and munching on your trees. 


RS is a type of fiber (carbohydrate) that doesn’t get digested. In other words, it “resists” being digested. Once it reaches the colon, the bacteria there “digest” it for you, thereby feeding an important part of your microbiome. Feeding these bacteria in your colon produces short chain fatty acids. (specifically butyrate, acetate, and propionate)

These short chain fatty acids:

  • increase the blood flow to your colon
  • slow the growth of pathogenic bacteria
  • help you absorb minerals
  • prevent you from absorbing toxic compounds
  • increase the amount of nutrients circulating in your microbiome

What does all this translate to? Continue reading, my friend.

What Can resiStant starch do for you?

Feeding the bacteria in your colon with RS:

  • Improves your digestion (It can help with IBS, constipation, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis.)
  • Reduces your appetite thereby aiding in weight loss
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Can correct insulin sensitivity
  • Improve your immunity
  • Can give you more vivid dreams. Pretty awesome benefit if you ask me.  (Go here if you want to learn more)

All this sounds great, right? So, where do you get this stuff?

4 Types of Resistant Starch:

  1. Grains (whole wheat, brown rice, barley, etc.), seeds (sunflower, flax, buckwheat, etc.), legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.), and roots such as Tiger Nuts.
  2. Starchy fruits and vegetables such as unripe bananas, plantains, and raw potatoes. (You can buy these last two in powdered form, but I don’t recommend it.)
  3. Cooked and then cooled starches such as rice,  potatoes, and bread. (Think sushi rice and potato salad.) AKA “retrograded starch”
  4. Man-made (yuck)

As always, the best way to get your resistant starch is through your diet, not supplementation. Our diet benefits greatly from variety! If you buy bags and bags of potato starch and add it to your water, yes, you will increase your resistant starch intake, but you will not only lose out on important vitamin/mineral combinations in other foods containing resistant starch, but also on different protective benefits from different types of resistant starch. Different types of resistant starch are thought to help different areas of the colon. Wow! Go here for more information.

Some of the ways we get our resistant starch in my family:

Things to keep in mind

  • Somewhere between 30-45 grams of RS is a good target
  • RS is best increased slowly to avoid digestive discomfort
  • It should be consumed as part of a regular meal
  • It is best to consume RS in its whole food form 

Resistant Starch

Do you get enough resistant starch? Are you going to try to increase your intake?




Three Easy Ways to Add Fermented Foods to Your Daily Diet and a Basic Kraut Recipe

You have probably heard that fermented foods like kraut (sauerkraut) are full of probiotics and that probiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut or microbiome. Now the question is how to get them into your daily routine so that they become a habit. You are much more likely to eat fermented foods if they are on hand all the time, of course. One easy way to assure that this is so is to make your own. Most fermented foods are truly simple to make and do not require a lot of time. I usually do it while I am in the kitchen making dinner anyway. See the bottom of the post for a basic recipe for Kraut that you can change up however you like. 

      1. Breakfast: You’ve heard me say this before. Start your day with kefir (water or milk) mixed into a smoothie (or a “shake” as my kids call it). We have this in addition to our breakfast. 
      2. Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches: Top your finished soup with veggie ferments (kraut and kimchi work well). Just be sure to let your soup cool for a minute or two so that you don’t kill the beneficial bacteria with the heat. You can also add veggie ferments to your salads. Radishes, beets, jicama, and carrots are my favorites). Add veggie ferments to your sandwiches. Pickles come to mind, of course
      3. Snack Time: Make fermented foods your snack We like to make homemade ranch dressing with homemade yogurt, and homeade kombucha mayo. The we dip raw veggies like carrot sticks and sugar snap peas for a healthy snack. Another favorite snack is homemade yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of lemon curd.  
      4. Bonus: Add a glass of kombucha or water kefir lemonade to your daily routine! So simple to do and so delicious.

Veggie Ferments

Basic Kraut Recipe

Kraut Close Up

      • One large head cabbage (or 2 small)
      • 2.5 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
      • Filtered Water
      • Optional: Spices: one Tablespoon caraway or juniper berries (Caraway is my favorite.)
      • Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized (3 or 4)
      • Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
      • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)

Shredded cabbage for Kraut


      1. First, take off the first couple of layers of cabbage. Then shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife because I like crunchy kraut, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor. Do not use the core. 
      2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
      3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
      4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and “work” it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes. (You can do this with a wooden or stainless steel mallet as well.)
      5. Now mix in the spices if you are using them. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablespoon of caraway seeds.
      6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt (and spice) mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with a fermentation weight to keep your cabbage submerged in brine. (Or you could use the cabbage core or a sterilized rock.) Keeping the cabbage submerged is crucial to not developing mold!
      7. Screw on your airlock lids or regular lids. The airlocks are optional, but they really do help protect your ferment. 
      8. Let it set out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. 
Basic Kraut Recipe
Basic Sauerkraut is so easy to make!!
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. One large head cabbage
  2. 3 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. Spices: Some common choices are caraway or juniper berries (optional)
  5. Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized
  6. Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  7. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
  1. First, Shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor.
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and "work" it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes.
  5. Now add the spices if you are going to. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablspoon of caraway seeds.
  6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation.
  7. Let it sit out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
    1.  Do you make your own kraut? What are your tricks for getting fermented foods into your daily diet?



Veggie Ferments



Nutrient dense foods

10 Ways to Sneak Nutrients into your Diet Without Taking a Pill

These days, with things to contend with such as soil depletion, food traveling great distances before it reaches your table, and processed foods that are stripped of nutrients, it can be hard to get the nutrients that your body needs in your daily diet. Although there are many ways to sneak in extra nutrients, I find that a small list is better for comprehension, so here are 10 ways to sneak in nutrients. Most of them you will barely notice! And, hey, if you only pick 2 or 3, you are better off than you were before.

To sneak nutrients into your diet (or the diet of someone you love):

  1. Add a kefir “shake” to your breakfast. This can be milk kefir made with grass-fed milk, or coconut milk kefir. With either, you will get the benefit of gut-loving bacteria to help balance your microbiome. We make ours with milk kefir, berries, and a little maple syrup. Go here to learn more.
  2. Add kelp powder to your salt. It has a salty taste, so you are unlikely even to notice that it is there. Kelp has iodine which is essential to thyroid function, especially to preventing thyroid dysfunction. It also has over 70 vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and amino acids. You can go up to half salt/half kelp powder.
  3. Speaking of salt, switch to sea salt over table salt. Table salt is stripped of it’s minerals and then potassium iodide is added (for iodized salt) as well as anti-caking agents like sodium chloride. Make sure not to get refined, sea salt, however. This has been stripped of it’s minerals as well. Good choices are Celtic salt and Himalayan salt.
  4. Besides making soups and stews with bone broth, cook your rice, beans, and potatoes in bone broth. Go here to learn about the many benefits of adding bone broth to your diet. Either make your own, or buy one like Kettle and Fire.
  5. Put collagen powder in your tea or coffee. Collagen powder has many of the benefits of bone broth, such as healing the gut lining, creating soft, supple skin, boosting the immune system, and lubricating the joints. It also has protein and all of the essential amino acids.
  6. Take magnesium baths and or use a spray or roll-on before bed. Magnesium deficiency is rampant in those eating a western diet (or SAD). This deficiency is a factor in many of the leading diseases and disorders in our country, especially heart disease and mood disorders. For an indulgent bath, add at least two cups of Ancient Minerals magnesium bath flakes to your bath water along with your choice of essential oils (be sure that the oils are not “hot” oils like Oregano). I like lavender and geranium, or you can use a special synergy blend if there is something in particular that you want to work on, such as hormonal balance. If you are short on cash, just use epsom salts instead. Trans-dermal (through skin) absorption of magnesium is the safest way to supplement because your skin will only take in what you need. Therefore, you won’t get any of the uncomfortable side effects of supplementing with magnesium internally (like an undesired colon flush). Aim to take a magnesium bath 2 or 3 times a week. Alternatively or in addition, use a magnesium spray and/or magnesium roller a half an hour before bed. Magnesium is critical to a good night’s sleep!
  7. Have a glass of kombucha daily (or a “Probiotic Palmer”). Kombucha contains probiotics and many beneficial acids to help balance your microbiome. Go here to learn the long list of benefits!
  8. Hide chicken hearts in ground beef meals. Organ meats are the most nutrient dense and they are often overlooked. If you are new to consuming organ meats, chicken hearts are a good place to begin because they have a mild flavor. You won’t even notice them hidden in burgers, meatloaf, chili, etc. Be sure to choose organic, pastured chicken hearts, however. Conventionally raised birds are exposed to all sorts of toxins that can lodge in their meat, bones, and organs. Go here to learn more about the benefits of chicken hearts.
  9. Start taking liver “pills”. Buy organic, pastured liver (chicken, beef, lamb) and freeze it for a day. Take it out of the freezer and let it soften until you can cut it. Cut it into pill-sized pieces and then freeze again. (It is helpful to flash freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.) Keep them in the freezer and take daily or as needed for an extra nutrient boost. Liver is high in b vitamins and iron. Go here to learn more about the benefits of eating liver. If you want to take a grass-fed liver pill already make for you, you can take Perfect Dessicated Liver.
  10. Add sprouts to salads and sandwiches. These tasty gems are packed with nutrition. Go here to learn about the long list of benefits of consuming sprouts as well as how to make them at home. You can even hide them in smoothies!

How about you? Do you eat any of these things? Are you going to start? What other ways do you sneak nutrients into your diet? I would love to hear from you!


Nutrient dense foods




Dandelion: A Super Food?

Oh, the lowly dandelion! This “weed” is actually anything but lowly, and now that it is spring, it is the perfect time to bring to mind their benefits before you start your war with them (if you do). Please allow me break down the benefits of consuming the different parts of dandelions for you.

Dandelion Root:

  • Helps with digestion
  • improves liver function and increases production of superoxide dismutase (the body’s primary antioxidant)
  • Contains resistant starch which balances your microbiome)
  • Full of anti-cancer phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • Regulates blood sugar and insulin
  • Improves cholesterol ratios
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves gall bladder function by increasing bile production
  • Boosts immune function
  • Regulates blood pressure

The roots are most often made into tea. There are many brands sold at Amazon and even your local grocery store. Dandy Blend is a brand of dandelion “coffee” that contains beetroot and chicory as well (both have health promoting properties). It is tasty and you can control the strength easily. I drink it at more of a tea strength, but your can just add more and have “espresso”. It is instant and dissolves in hot or cold water.

If you want to make  dandelion tea or Coffee from the roots yourself:

    1. Harvest dandelion roots from a safe place (that hasn’t been sprayed and there aren’t pets using that area as a restroom).
    2. Wash the roots and chop them up.
    3. Dehydrate. You can do this in a dehydrator, or in your oven on the lowest setting. 
    4. Grind roots in a spice grinder.
    5. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons ground dandelion roots in a pot and add filtered water. (You could also add ground chicory and/or a cinnamon stick for flavor.)
    6. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.
    7. Strain grounds out when pouring into your mug and enjoy!

Dandelion leaves:

  • High in calcium (higher than kale!), vitamin K (which is not so easy to get, vitamins A, B, C
  • Loaded with antioxidants and minerals
  • Contain complete protein (contains all essential fatty acids)
  • A natural diuretic that relieves bloating and swelling
  • Aids kidney function
  • Detoxifies your liver
  • Boosts immune function
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Helps with PMS

Dandelion greens are usually served mixed with other greens in a salad. You can harvest the leaves from a safe place (one that hasn’t been sprayed and isn’t a bathroom for local pets.) The smallest leaves taste the best because they are less bitter. You can also saute them to mellow their flavor. Here is a simple recipe for sauteed dandelion greens. The leaves are also used to make dandelion leaf tea. Some people use dandelion their greens in smoothies as well. They are sold at specialty grocery stores such as Whole Foods and PCC (Seattle area), but they are free from  your back yard.

Let’s not forget dandelion flowers!


  • Full of antioxidants
  • Contain vitamins A, B, C, potassium, and iron.

Here is a recipe for dandelion wine. I have not tried making this yet, but it is on my to-do list. (Oh, my ever growing to-do list!) It is from Susan Weed’s book, Healing Wise. This is a great book for learning how common plants can benefit you. You can also make dandelion jam. This sounds interesting, and I also plan on trying this. I will let you know how it goes when I do.

Do you harvest dandelions from your yard or local meadow? Do you eat dandelions? Do you plan on starting? How about dandelion wine or jelly? I would love to hear from you!




Sprout Mix

Sprouts: These Tasty Gems Contain Nutrients that Detoxify, Fight Cancer, and Balance Hormones

Sprouts are one of my favorite ways to get extra nutrients into my diet! They are tasty, simple to make, and jam packed with nutrients, many of which are cancer fighting. I add them to salads, sandwiches, wraps, and even soups (such as Mung bean sprouts for Pho). Even if you have no space for a garden, you certainly have space for a jar to sprout these!

Why sprout at home?

Sprout mixes dry

  • Inexpensive: A small pack of organic sprouts at the store is anywhere from $5 to $8. Two tablespoons of sprouts will get you a whole quart full for pennies!
  • Less risk of mold/contamination: Sprouts are at risk for being contaminated (this is mostly Alfalfa and Mung beans). By sprouting your own, there is much less risk of contamination. (Especially if you buy organic seeds). If sprouts are not stored completely dry, they can mold. Often at the store, the plastic box they are stored in develops condensation.
  • Different varieties of sprouts: The store typically just has Alfalfa or Clover sprouts. Every once in a while you will see Broccoli sprouts, which are the king of sprouts. At home, you can choose sprouting mixes. I have a regular mix that has Broccoli, Alfalfa, and Clover and a “spicy” mix that contains Clover, Alfalfa, and Radish. This mix isn’t actually spicy, it just has a bit of a peppery taste from the Radish sprouts. Yum! You can get sample packs of sprout mixes as well. At specialty grocery stores, there are single packs of sprouts, but they are small and usually expensive.

How to Sprout seeds:

You will need:

Sprout Mix

  1. Be sure to have clean hands, and a sterilized jar, and utensils when sprouting.
  2. Soak your seeds in filtered water for 10 minutes. Strain them and add more filtered water.
  3. Soak again. (For soaking times, see below.) Strain again.
  4. Turn upside down and really get the water out! Put the jar at an angle in a dark place. I use a paper plate for this( it helps catch any leftover water). I wedge it into a cupboard.
  5. 2 to 3 times a day, rinse your sprouts and turn the jar over.
  6. Most sprouts are ready 48-96 hours later. Give them a taste at 48 to be sure. It will depend on the variety of sprouts you chose. (See below for more information.)
  7. To separate the sprouts from the seed hulls, place in a large bowl of filtered water. Pull apart sprouts from seeds. (I like to use my fingers.)
  8. If you have a salad spinner, it can be helpful to get rid of the water. If not, dry them with paper towels.
  9. I use a baking tray covered with paper towels to lay the sprouts out and sort the rest of the way.
  10. These keep for up to 5 days, but are better fresher. Be sure to keep them very dry! Also, keep them dry after sprouting and eat promptly (within the first few days after sprouting) to reduce the possibility of mold. I roll them up in portion sizes into paper towels and then put them in a zip-lock bag.

Some common sprout-soaking timelines:

  • Broccoli sprouts: Soak for 8 hours; sprout for 2-3 days.
  • Alfalfa: Soak 4-8 hours; Sprout for 5 days
  • Clover: Soak for 8 hours; Sprout for 5-6 days
  • Radish: Soak for 8-12 hours; Sprout for 3-4 days.
  • Fenugreek: Soak for 8-12 hours; Sprout for 5-8 days
  • Mung: Soak for 8-12 hours; Sprout for 4 days.

Nutritional Benefits of Sprouts:

  • Broccoli: These are the champs when it comes to sprouts!! They are loaded with 50 times thee amount of sulforophane as mature broccoli. Sulforophane is a potent anti-cancer antioxidant. They are also loaded with vitamins A,  C, and K, and many minerals.  Besides fighting cancer, these sprouts will help protect your heart and lungs.
  • Alfalfa: These sprouts contain phytoestrogens to help with PMS and  menopause. They contain vitamin C, K, folate, and many anti-aging nutrients, as well as being good for blood sugar control and bone health.
  • Clover: Full of antioxidants to detoxify, fight cancer, and help with PMS and menopause.  Contains vitamins A, B, C, and K as well as many minerals.
  • Radish: Vitamins A, B, C, and
  • Fenugreek: This herb is a lymph cleanser! It helps balance hormones, aid digestion, reduce inflammation, supports milk production when breastfeeding, stabilizes blood sugar and helps with weight loss.
  • Mung: Have protein, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, manganese and zinc. They boost immunity, fight cancer, help with blood sugar and blood pressure. Can also help with PMS.

Sprouts Dry and Sprouted

Do you eat sprouts? Do you sprout at home? Are you going to try?








Gardening Tools

Gardening: The Health Benefits

The calendar professes that it is spring. Although it hasn’t felt much like spring here in the Seattle area, I am excited to start gardening. Right now I have some seeds started indoors and we are doing a major renovation of the garden. We are taking out the old raised beds and converting it to a square foot garden. I am going to do a whole section of medicinal herbs this year!

If gardening has never been your thing, you may be wondering why I do it when we can now buy organic produce readily at most supermarkets. Well, you actually get a lot more from gardening than just fresh produce and herbs as you will see below.

Benefits of Gardening:

  • It is extremely good for your microbiome because your hands come into contact with soil-based probiotics. It is especially good for those who have allergies.
  • Stress reliever: the smell of great soil is especially relaxing. Pulling weeds is similar to a form of meditation for some.
  • Vitamin D exposure: so many of us are vitamin d deficient (especially up here in the higher latitudes). Although you can supplement, the best vitamin d is obtained through sun exposure. You need about 10-20 minutes a day (depending on the time of the day and the time of year). This is in shorts and a tank top and no sunscreen. You need significantly more if your legs and/or arms are covered. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to autoimmune disorders, MS, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, cancer, poor bone density, and mental illness.
  • Although it might sound hippy-dippy, contact with the Earth is grounding in a literal way because the negative ions attach to the excessive positive ions (free radicals) that build up in our bodies (especially from electromagnetic waves that things like appliances and Wi-fi put out). I go barefoot as much as possible even when not gardening to take care of this healing effect. It’s not magic, it’s physics! Read, Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever, if you would like to know more.
  • Produce organic food and herbs for your family for pennies. This is probably the most obvious benefit. Seeds are inexpensive and fresher produce contains significantly more nutrients than veggies and fruits that have traveled miles and miles to reach your store and wait for you to come get them. Plus, since you know exactly how the food was grown and who has touched it, you can just rinse it instead of wash or scrub it. If you do this, you can take advantage of those soil-based probiotics by ingesting them! If that isn’t an option though, you can buy soil-based probiotics.
  • Get a work out without feeling like you are working out!

What do you do if you don’t have space for a garden?

You don’t actually need a lot of space to grow things. If you live in the city without a yard, you may be able to find a pea patch nearby to grow some veggies. Also, you can grow many types veggies  in pots on a balcony. If you don’t have a balcony, you can grow herbs in a windowsill. There are so many benefits to adding fresh herbs to your cooking and if you have them on hand, you are much more likely to start putting them in your food. In an effort to persuade you to at least start an herb garden, let me break down some of the health benefits of common culinary herbs.

Health Benefits of common culinary herbs:

  • Oregano: This powerful herb is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and detoxifying. It is great for your digestion and boosts your immunity. The b vitamins in oregano help with energy and metabolism. It also contains omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and calcium.  If you would like to know more about this amazing herb, go here. 
  • Thyme: Is an mood-boosting anti-septic and anti-bacterial herb! It is good for sore throats and coughs. It contains vitamin C, vitamin A, and many minerals. Go here for more information on Thyme.
  • Cilantro: Helps to rid the body of heavy metals! High in antioxidants. Improves blood sugar and sleep. There are many more benefits. Go here to learn more if you are interested.
  • Basil: Is anti-inflammatory, and improves blood sugar and cardiovascular health and is cancer-inhibiting. You could also grow Holy Basil (aka Tulsi). This version of basil is considered an adaptogen that combats stress. I love to have a cup of Holy Basil tea in the evening and will be growing it this year in my medicinal garden. Culinary basil is full of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C. Go here to learn more.
  • Mint: Aside from the uplifting, stress-reducing scent and always being prepared for mojitos, having this herb on hand can help with an upset tummy, improve digestion, cure nausea and headaches. It is also helpful for coughs and asthma. Go here to learn more about mint.
  • Parsley: This is a very detoxifying herb loaded with antioxidants. It is a diuretic (relieves water retention) and is anti-septic and anti-inflammatory, Go here for more information.
  • Sage: This herb lowers inflammation, improves cognitive function, boosts your immune system and improves skin health. Go here if you would like to know more.
  • Dill: An anti-microbial herb that can help with depression, aid digestion, lower cholesterol and even repel bugs. Contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. Go here for more information. Put it in your lacto-fermeted sour pickles or a probiotic tartar sauce.



Garden Tools

Do you garden? If not, are you tempted to start? I would love to hear from you!




Chopped Slippery Elm Bark, Marshmallow Root, and Licorice Root

Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark to Heal and Seal your Gut

Decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root

What is a Decoction?

A decoction is simply a very strong tea made from the chopped, sturdier parts of herbs (roots, barks, etc). In this decoction, we use chopped Slippery Elm bark and chopped Marshmallow root. Both are demulcents. A demulcent relieves irritation and inflammation and forms a film over your  mucous membranes to soothe Them. This decoction is great for anyone with leaky gut (go here to find out if that is you) or someone dealing with diarrhea or constipation. For mild cases, you can simply take a tablespoon upon waking, about 15 minutes before each meal, and before bed. For extreme cases of leaky gut, you can take a tablespoon every two hours or so. This can be done for a month, or even two if your leaky gut is really bad. For my decoction, I add a little bit of Licorice root. Let me break down the individual ingredients for you before I give you the recipe. The printable version will be at the bottom of the post.

Slippery Elm Bark:

  • stress relieving
  • loaded with antioxidants
  • soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
  • improves digestion (which can help with weight loss) and helps with digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, acid reflux, IBS, Colitis, Crohns
  • it is great for sore throats and coughs as well as certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

Marshmallow Root:

  • good for coughs and colds.
  • fights bacterial infections such as UTIs and bronchitis.
  • repairs and coats the lining of the intestines.
  • helps with heartburn, stomach ulcers, constipation and diarrhea.
  • lowers acute and chronic inflammation
  • supports heart health
  • reduces water retention (edema, bloating)
  • good to use in homemade beauty products for skin and hair.
  • Make marshmallows the way they were originally made! Go here for a marshmallow recipe from Wellness Mama.

Licorice Root: (Use only if you are not pregnant and have no problems with your blood pressure, liver, or kidneys.)

  • an adaptogenic herb that is great at lowering cortisol (good for some stages of Adrenal Fatigue-go here if you think you might have it and want to know which stage.)
  • anti-viral (especially helpful for hepatitis)
  • enhances immune system by boosting interferon
  • anti-inflammatory
  • pain reliever
  • it’s an expectorant, so it is excellent for coughs
  • it is also a demulcent so it soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines
  • good for premenstrual cramping (it’s anti-spamodic which helps with cramps)
  • good for premenstrual irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness
  • supports heart health by limiting the damage done by “bad” cholesterol
  • provides a natural sweetness to teas and decoctions 

Decoction of Marshmallow Root and slippery elm bark:

You will need:

Decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root

  1. Add all ingredients into a large pot with a lid.
  2. Let sit overnight.
  3. In the morning, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half.
  5. Let the mixture cool before bottling.
  6. strain through a stainless steel sieve and funnel into a glass bottle.
  7. Keep the mixture in the fridge. It will keep for a month or so. (Throw it out if it starts to smell “off”)
  8. For diarrhea and constipation, take 1 tablespoon before meals and before bed.  For leaky gut,  take 1 tablespoon every 2 hours while awake for one month (can do two months if needed).


Decoction of Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm Bark
Yields 2
A decoction to heal and seal your gut lining. Will alleviate constipation and diarrhea as well.
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr
  1. 2 Tablespoons chopped Slippery Elm Bark
  2. 2 Tablespoons chopped Marshmallow Root
  3. Optional: 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons chopped licorice (see information regarding licorice)
  4. 2 Quarts filtered water
  1. Place all ingredients in a stock pan and cover with a lid.
  2. Allow to soak overnight.
  3. In the morning, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until it is reduced by half.
  5. Allow mixture to cool before handling.
  6. Once cool, pour the mixture through a stainless steel strainer and then funnel into a glass bottle.
  7. Keep mixture in the fridge to keep it fresh.
  1. Take 1 tablespoon before meals and bed for constipation and diarrhea.
  2. For leaky gut, take 1 tablespoon every two hours for one month.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Please remember that I am NOT a doctor. You should have one with whom you can discuss adding herbs and supplements to your regimen in case they interfere with any medications you are already taking.

Slippery Elm Marshmallow Decoction Benefits

Have you ever made a decoction? How about a decoction of Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root? Are you going to try? I would love to hear from you!