Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

stevia rebaudianaI’ve always been skeptical, so when I first heard about a natural sweetener that has zero calories, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels, and the extract is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar—I just dismissed it. Some things are just too good to be true, right?

But 15 years later, I revisited stevia and decided to try it myself. I loved it! 

I add it to coffee or make hot chocolate with cocoa, milk, hot water and stevia. I mostly add it to drinks, but I also make desserts with it.

My favourite so far is the liquid hazelnut-flavoured stevia from Now Foods. It’s doesn’t haven’t a bitter aftertaste like some others I’ve tried.

The price was the drawback—$15 for a 2 oz. bottle. But we used such a tiny amount at a time that it lasted a couple of months. I did manage to find some cheaper, though, and several people have asked where to get it, so I decided to share that here.

I ended up ordering seven 2 oz. bottles of differnet flavours from iHerb. ($8.40 each plus $4 international shipping.)

Here’s a link to the hazelnut stevia and new customers get $10 off their first order of $40 or more with coupon code: NKJ199






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241814_9129There are some things in life that are good in moderation. Donuts and hot chocolate would fit in that category…

Years ago, when our oldest four were small, we decided to take our children out for a treat. They pressed their little noses up to the glass of the display counter and chose the ooiest and gooiest of donuts with lots of icing, sprinkles, and rich filling. We laughed in delight at their wide-eyed wonder as they nibbled their donuts and then sipped on their hot chocolate topped with swirls of whipped cream.

It didn’t turn out as we expected though…Unused to such rich fare, two of my children threw up before we even left the restaurant, and another one lost her donut on the way home. Lesson learned: never give the children donuts and hot chocolate; one or the other is treat enough.

This is similar to the lesson that I’m ready to learn. I want to learn how to fully enjoy the richer foods in life—on occasion—without giving in to excess. I want to learn to cut the piece of cake in half, and enjoy every bite, instead of going back for seconds (or thirds).

I’m on a journey to learn self-discipline, to treat my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. And I believe that God, in his goodness, is going to teach this girl some self-control. 🙂

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Trying to achieve and maintain a healthy weight has been a 20 year battle for me. I have made more resolutions than I can remember, or care to admit and each time I have returned to unhealthy eating habits.

It is a lot of work for me to lose only a couple of pounds. It will take me a month of painstaking diligence to lose a mere 5 pounds, and only 1 week to gain it back. Oh, how I hate to admit it, but I just gained five pounds in the past week. {sigh}

Which leads me to the reason behind this post. Sharing my struggles and goals is going to make me feel much more accountable than I would feel if I hadn’t shared this with half the world, (slight exaggeration. 😉 ) and should help me to stay on track.

My goal is: to not eat until I’m hungry, eat slowly and stop as soon as I feel full. This seems so simple and really it is, but busyness makes me feel rushed and I eat too quickly. Nervousness and insecurities make me want to eat when I’m not really hungry, and learning to feel those tiny feelings of fullness takes tuning into my body as well as the self-control to actually be able to stop at that point.

I’d like to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks, but it’s more about the lifestyle than the weight for me. I’ll write in September and tell you how it went. Thanks for keeping me accountable. 🙂

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 In 11 years (and 5 children) we’ve only had to deal with two or three ear infections that were quickly treated at home. That was true until this past month. A few weeks ago Ethan got an ear infection and then Myra started having a terrible earache in one ear and then a few days later in the other ear! Obviously they had a cold that lends itself well to ear infections.

Ear infections are one of the most painful experiences that many children will go through. Knowing how to treat the infection can help to minimize the pain and speed the recovery. The way they are treated by doctors has changed dramatically in recent years. It used to be that ear infections were immediately treated with a course of antibiotics. Time has shown though that the chance of a recurring ear infection is significantly higher after having antibiotics. Thankfully medical treatment has caught up with statistics and standard practice now is to wait 2-3 days to see if it will clear up on it’s own. But how do you treat an ear infection then?


 Garlic is often used to treat ear infections because of it’s powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral characteristics. I use garlic oil as a treatment and I make it by placing a cut up clove of garlic in a pot with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I gently heat the oil for about 10 minutes and then carefully strain the oil. Once the oil is cooled to body temperature (test it on your wrist, it should feel neutral or slightly warm) place a few drops in the ear. This is quite soothing and the garlic is quickly absorbed and begins fighting the bacteria right away.

Ear Massage

Ear massage can be comforting and it also helps to relieve the pressure by encouraging the fluid to drain from behind the eardrum. Apply a few drops of oil to the area to be massaged. Start by gently stretching and massaging the lower lobe of the ear affected. Then massage from the area just behind the ear down towards the throat.

 Please note: Some people are allergic to the allicin in garlic and this can cause pain and irritation when garlic is applied to the skin. One way to check to see if you are sensitive to the allicin is to put some garlic oil on your inner arm for one hour to see if there are any reactions. Never put raw garlic juice in the ear. This can cause irritation even if you are not allergic to allicin.


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