Bedford Real Food Co-op
Live in Bedford? Eat Real Food? Then join up our facebook group and take advantage of bulk purchasing with other like minded people who care about their families health... and their budgets!
I support Compassion and would love to encourage you to as well. Please take a few minutes to read about the work they do and how you could get involved
My incredibly talented friend Hannah has just launched her new website selling custom illustrations for your home. Click here to take a look. You won't regret it!
Below the Line
Each year Matt and I live on just £1 a day for a week in aid of poverty relief in the UK. You can find out more about our experiences (and sponsor us!) by clicking here
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Thursday, 23 August 2012
In fact my frugal-ness concerning his nappies inspired this conversation to appear under a photo of my son on facebook:
Richard: Yeah, those pants are ridiculous. You look like you just wrapped him in a tea towel.
Me: Yeah? Well you'll be glad one day, when your babies can all breathe and have a planet to live on because Will was thoughtful enough to reuse his diapers...
Well, things have come a looong way since back then, and it turns out you can now buy shaped nappies and liners really cheaply on ebay, in fact the entire set that my daughter currently uses (and we have more than we need) set me back less than £30. We'd spend more than that on disposables in a month! Not only that, but they come in totally cute patterns too.
It's saving us a fortune, but you should be aware that we don't pay any bills where we live. If you are going to switch to real nappies you might want to factor in the cost of running your washing machine and extra time everyday. We also have a HUGE boiler room that I hang them in to dry overnight, as the bamboo would take several days on a line in most British weather. Also, for that reason (water, electricity, washing soap, tumble dryer etc...) I'm not sure how eco friendly they actually are. I'll leave that to you to decide.
BUT, we do use them, and here is why:
Doesn't everything on this blog eventually seem to come down to the same thing? I know you must be getting bored of it by now, but bear with me. Cutting out toxins in our lives is a major part of our healing, along with the diet, and disposable diapers are pretty toxic.
Have you ever noticed little jelly crystals on your babies bottom after you've left them in a diaper a wee bit too long? Maybe overnight? (In fact, now I think on it they look a lot like my water kefir babies...) Those crystals are a substance called PolyAcrylic Acid. This is a substance which absorbs liquid (useful in a diaper, right?) but you should also know that it was banned from use in tampons in 1985 due to links with toxic shock syndrome. In fact, employees of factories where polyacrylic acid is used are found to suffer organ damage, fatigue and extreme weight loss. It also draws moisture away from the babies skin and contributes to nappy rash and bleeding of the perenium and scrotum. In fact, 54% of one month old babies using disposable diapers have nappy rash according to the Journal of Pediatrics and 16% have 'severe' rashes. Procter & Gamble also did a study and found that the risk of nappy rash increased from just 7.1% to 61% if you use disposable diapers.
TBT or Tribulytin is also found in several brands of disposable diaper and has been linked with immune system damage and hormonal problems, including male sterility. They also contain dioxin, which is a by product of the bleach used in disposable diapers is carcinogenic and known to cause birth defects, skin disease and liver damage.
As with most things on this blog, this is a journey for us. We don't do it perfectly. I send Lila to kids work at church in a disposable diaper (I don't think it's fair to the teenage helpers to have to deal with real nappies), but she wears bamboo most of the time. In all honesty I'm hoping that we will be all potty trained and moving on from this whole season of our lives fairly shortly!
When we do, if anybody wants some gorgeous bamboo nappies, drop me an email and I'll post them your way.
Little by little we are removing the toxic substances from our lives, not completely, but better than we were. My best advice is this - if you you can't everything, don't let it stop you doing something.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
My friend Laura made us the most spectacularly good GAPS legal meal on our last night, and I had the pleasure of cooking alongside her and learning some new recipes.
This salad dressing is absolute heaven, and is based on a river cottage recipe from the 'veg everyday' cookbook, but with a bit of a twist.
It's simple to make, and you could easily eat it with absolutely anything, but drizzled over a French bean and courgette salad was how we had it and it was amazing. It's also a great way to use up the glut of pesto you will have made if your herb garden is looking anything like ours this summer!
- 3tbsp cold pressed olive oil
- juice and zest of one lime
- juice and zest of one orange
- a clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp of pesto (how to make pesto)
- generous amounts of salt and pepper
You basically pound all this stuff together in a pestle and mortar (which I'd never used before, but thoroughly enjoyed) then drizzle in the liquid ingredients, adding the oil last and whisking just before you drizzle over your salad.
We actually used red pesto, but I've since come home and made it with green and I haven't quite decided which is best...
I'm thinking this could work well to marinade my 'sun dried' (dehydrated) tomatoes too.
Sunday, 19 August 2012
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
I'm totally indebted to the Cheese Slave for all kinds of things, but not least of which is the revelation that many of my 'M.E.' symptoms could be, for the most part, accounted for by a magnesium deficiency.
Better yet, she also includes a recipe for the simplest fix ever, and for once it's not diet related!! Magnesium oil is simple and cheap to make, and so easy, just spritz on the tummy right before bed and your are good to have a fantastic nights sleep.
The cheapest way to make this oil is to buy salts in bulk, so I bought myself a 5kg tub, not realising how long my two tablespoons would last in spray form! It turns out there are a hundred different ways to use them though, so never fear, I will get my money's worth. If you've bought an excess too, here are a few of the things you can use them for.
1. Bath Soaks - this is the most obvious one, but it's because the salts interfere with the pain receptors, so next time you have an achey, flu-ey, type cold, jump in the bath with a couple of cups of magnesium salts and a cup of olive oil (to moisturise) but don't use any soap (it interferes with the skins absorption).
2. Reduce inflammation from bites and stings - mix two tablespoons in a cup of water and soak cotton compresses to hold on the injury. This also works as a chemical free after-sun if you have been burnt.
3. Remove splinters - make your own drawing ointment with magnesium dissolved in water.
4. Hair cleaner - If you suffer from greasy hair, add some salts to your shampoo to soak up excess oil (about 1/3 cup to a 250ml bottle of shampoo).
5. Hair volumiser - warm equal parts of conditioner with salts until dissolved. Work the mixture through your hair, wait 20 minutes and then rinse for super soft, volumised, hair.
6. Grow more fruit - magnesium salts thrown around the base of plants like tomatoes and peppers, then watered into the soil, increases crop yield by as much as 40%
7. Sprinkle around your herbs and salad leaves to keep slugs at bay. They can't slide on it and you can steer clear of nasty repellents full of chemicals.
8. Clear eye infections - 1/2 a tsp of salts dissolved in a cup of boiled water allowed to cool and kept in the fridge can be used as an effective eye wash for conjunctivitis.
Sunday, 5 August 2012
It was me and Elisha's birthdays recently, she was two and I was... (ahem). Isn't she gorgeous?
They're both really easy to make, so here are the recipes.
500g passata (homemade if possible, but if not just check for one that is, preferably organic, tomatoes with no added ingredients)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (raw, organic, with a mother if possible)
Honey, salt and pepper to taste
The nature of homemade passata is that it will taste different depending on the tomatoes used, so you will need to taste it to decide how much honey to use. I use somewhere between one and three tablespoons.
Place passata, honey, bay leaves and salt in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Allow to simmer for an hour or two until thick (a slow cooker without the lid works well).
Allow to cool.
Stir in your apple cider vinegar (allowing the mixture to cool first means you keep all the good stuff in your apple cider vinegar alive) and pour into a clean jar.
On to the BBQish sauce.
In all honesty this sauce was a bit of a mistake, but one that tasted good! I was making BBQ sauce from memory and somewhere I merged into a hoisin sauce recipe. It's yummy, but the name BBQ sauce would definitely be misleading...
2 onions (chopped)
Juice of two limes
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
Place the onions in a pan with a small amount of butter and cook over a low heat until soft.
Throw onions, garlic, lime juice and soy sauce into a blender and blitz until smooth.
Return to the pan and stir in peanut butter and honey over a low heat until well combined.
Cool and pour into a clean jar.
Have a nice, chemical and sugar free, BBQ!
Thursday, 2 August 2012
Small changes can make big differences to how welcoming your home is. You and your family spend plenty of time there, so making a few small habits can go a long way to bless you all.
Today's small change - Freshening up your mattresses.
Did you know the average mattress contains between 10,000 and 10,000,000 dust mites? Gross. vacuum slowly and regularly my friends. That's something I learned pre-GAPS when my kids both struggled a lot with asthma - thankfully it's not too much of a problem anymore.
To make your bed smell really fresh and great though, you need some mattress deodorant, and lucky for you I know how to make it ;-)
Take 2 cups of baking soda (one for a single bed) and put it in a jar with a well fitting lid. Add 10 drops of your favourite essential oil, replace the lid and shake, shake, shake. You should try to choose something calming like lavender or chamomile that will aid sleep. I love citrus oils, but they aren't suitable for this job.
Sprinkle all over the mattress and leave it for an hour or so to soak up all that dirt, moisture and odour. Now grab your vaccuum with the upholstery attachment on and run it slowly along the mattress. Slowly is important to draw up as much dust and debris from inside the mattress as possible.
Now put on some fresh bed linen and enjoy that lovely clean bed!