Garlic Paste: Easy Peasy Poultice

Step by Step Garlic Paste Poultice

Step by Step Garlic Paste Poultice

We are big fans of Garlic in our family. We cook with it. Supplement with it. And use it medicinally. Garlic is one of the most incredibly potent antibiotics nature makes and also has components in it that boost the immune system in multiple ways. Once a fresh clove of garlic is crushed elements intermingle and create something called allicin. Allicin exhibits incredibly powerful anti bacterial and anti fungal effects. The nutritional industry has figured out ways to stabilize what is, in nature a fragile and limited time availability compound. Once a garlic clove is crushed the clock starts ticking. You only have a guaranteed 15 minutes from the time allicin is activated till the time it begins to fade. Some experts claim it lasts as long as 40 minutes. Immune boosting products that contain stabilized allicin are really fantastic and are an ideal way to get those benefits with no work and no smelly breath involved.

Supplements can be expensive. Especially for a large family on a tight budget. They also require the ability to swallow pills and are typically dosed for adults, not children.  For children, finding a way to get affordable allicin rich garlic compounds into them involves poultices. A while back I did a video tutorial on how to make a garlic poultice. This is the method we used in our family for several years and it works incredibly well. However, it is also wet and a bit on the messy side. This year a friend introduced me to the concept of Garlic Paste. We experimented with it and discovered that for our kids this is a more efficient and effective way of doing garlic poultices. So, without further ado, here is my DIY instructions on how to make:

Garlic Paste Poultice

The quantities in this tutorial should be enough for 2 to 3 pairs of child sized feet or 1 pair of large adult sized feet.

Start with a full head of fresh, raw, organic garlic. Why organic? The point of this is that it is going to be absorbed into the body and blood stream at a rapid rate. Any residual fungicides, pesticides and chemicals that are left on commercially raised garlic will be absorbed along with all the good properties. If it’s a choice between regular ol’ cheapest thing the local store has fresh garlic and none at all, by all means use what you can get. But, ideally, my recommendation will always be organic for this purpose.

Pre-minced garlic purchased at the store in glass containers, even that from the refrigerator section will not work for this purpose. Pre-peeled cloves will also not work nearly as well. Stick with the real deal still safely ensconced in it’s feathery papery layers.

Head of Raw Garlic

Head of Raw Garlic

Loosen all the outer dried layers off of it enough so that you can divide the individual cloves out. Once the cloves are separated lay on a firm surface (I use our granite counter top or a large wooden cutting board) take something solid like the flat bottom of a glass or bottom of a mortar and do a quick “whap” on each of the cloves. The purpose isn’t to crush them but to pop loose the dried individual outer peel enough so that they are easily removed.

Whapped garlic cloves Prior to Peeling

Whapped garlic cloves Prior to Peeling

Once the cloves are peeled they are ready for the next stage!

freshgarliccloves

This next stage you have a variety of options. I personally prefer using a tool we purchased a while back for this purpose. A high quality garlic press. Ours has been going strong for years. If you don’t own a garlic press you can crush the garlic with a fork and finish off the mincing with a knife. It can also be pummeled into small bits in a mortar and pestle.

Mincing the Garlic via a Press

Mincing the Garlic via a Press

This is what a head of garlic looks like after it’s minced. One of the advantages of mincing is that it goes fast and thoroughly mixes all the different parts of each clove together ensuring optimal allicin creation.

Head of Minced Garlic

Head of Minced Garlic

This is where the instructions differ from the water and heat based poultices we did before. Although some properties are drawn out faster and more effectively with the hot water it can be somewhat tricky to make sure the water isn’t too hot. Making it into a paste means that the active properties will be drawn out at a slower rate via the warmth of the skin.

A crucial component of the paste is the base the minced garlic is mixed with. Something too thin will not allow you to maintain that all important “paste like” spreadable consistency. It will also not adequately buffer or protect the skin from the burning elements of the garlic. Part of what makes the paste preferred by us is that it can be worn longer periods of time with reduced chances of irritation and burning over the water poultice method.

The original tutorial I read about this recommended using petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a no-no in our house mostly because…well, it’s derived from petroleum. So, it was important to me to find an acceptable substitute. Coconut oil is too thin and melts too rapidly in contact with warmth. Same with olive or almond or any of my normal go-to carrier oils. The first couple of batches I used Beeyoutiful’s Body Butter. It worked incredibly well and was the perfect consistency. It’s also rather an expensive base. With a second sickness hitting our house I needed something that would be affordable to use multiple times per day. As I stood in front of our open refrigerator wracking my brain for what I could use it occurred to me. Lard! That lovely tub of white lard. Not the best smelling but relatively cheap, natural and safe.

lard

Ideally you want to use at least 50% ratio of base carrier to minced garlic. For very small children, infants or individuals with extra sensitive skin the ratio can be increased to 2 parts Lard (or carrier base of your choice) to 1 part minced garlic. Once the base and garlic are mixed together it should be a thick, spreadable concoction.

The Mixed Garlic Paste

The Mixed Garlic Paste

Although technically this paste could be used on any part of the body my preferred spot is the feet. The skin is thicker and more protected from burning there while at the same time having a very high concentration of receptors that handles the uptake of the best properties of the garlic extremely well. Make sure the footsies are clean and dry and then slather the paste on. It’s Ok to be generous!

Garlic Paste spread on the foot

Garlic Paste spread on the foot

To top the paste off you can use water proof bandages which are my preference because they are nice and tidy with minimal risk of mess leaking out as the oil warms. Ran out of those before writing up this tutorial though so used my fall-back. Folded paper towels. You want the paper towel to be folded in enough layers to keep the oil from leaking out all over everything as the mixture warms against the feet. I use medical tape to secure it in place.

tapeandpapertowels TapedPoulticePasteThe finished product on my 2 yo Cmans footsies. For the record, he isn’t crying because of the foot paste, he was on his third hour of crying in misery from the on-set of a virus with full body malaise. He felt much improved after the garlic paste treatment and ran around happily for a couple of hours despite still having a low-grade fever!

Some cautionary safety notes:

Please understand that raw garlic potency and “burn factor” can vary a lot from one batch, one harvest, one head and one variety to another. There is no way to know for sure how “hot” a particular batch of paste is going to be. For this reason please DO NOT leave on feet all night as some tutorials recommend. Far too many individuals have been burned this way. Especially do not leave on the feet of children. Check frequently to make sure no initial redness or irritation is starting. My policy is to check every 10 minutes with the paste on our children and more frequently if they start whining or complaining about it. Garlic is powerful. It has literally burned holes into peoples feet. As with all things anything that has properties to be incredibly potent also has the potential to cause harm if not used with common sense, precaution and wisdom.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if it’s “done” or if it’s been left on long enough to do a good job. A rule of thumb that has served us well is to leave it on until you can smell garlic on the breath of the individual receiving the poultice. It’s a sure sign that adequate levels of garlic have been absorbed into the blood stream to do an effective job against whatever you need it to do. As soon as we smell the garlic breath we remove the poultice immediately. And prior to that if any irritation of the feet happens.

Let me know if you try this! Happy and safe poulticing and to all a goodnight!

Ideally Realistic Holiday Review

With three children now, still working somewhat, attempting to recover good health, attempting to somewhat keep up with a healthy diet while combating serious nursing difficulties over the past few weeks my real life has been in pretty stark contrast to my ideal life. Looking back over the Holidays makes me giggle a little. Cuz laughing at myself is a healthy, sanity saving skill I learned a while back.

Our ideal tree, the one that we created hand made ornaments for out of natural and or reusable supplies while having fun with the kids making memories as we made the ornaments was supposed to look something like the one pictured below.

PerfectChristmasTree

In real life, aka as reality our tree looked like a hobo’s collection of ornaments exploded upon it, barely snagging the branches in places and hanging in grouped clusters in others. It’s what happens when kids decorate a tree. Not to mention the bottom half the tree was adorned with everything deemed unbreakable while anything remotely breakable was assigned to the upper half. That is what happens when reality includes a tall toddler man cub loose on the premises. Reality tree also had both white lights and colored lights…mixed…which seemed like it must be breaking some cardinal tree decorating rule somewhere.  In my sleep deprived state state at the time I ended up comforting myself by making it a life metaphor for how beautiful messy, mixed up, rule breaking, lives can be. After all some of my favorite photos by favorite photographers are ones in which all the ‘rules’ are broken. Never-mind they are tastefully and strategically broken…not strung together in tangled chaos because 2/3rds of the strings of lights mysteriously refused to work this year.

Oh and what about the tree topper you may be wondering? What tree topper? That’s right. Our tree had no topper this year. Was going to get one and then never got my act together to buy one or make one.

Ourtree2013

Our kids thought it was the most beautiful tree ever. And made so many happy memories working on it. My theory is that charlie brown homely trees make kids happier than beautifully and artistically themed for optimal aesthetic pleasure trees do.

In an ideal world, we were going to make 7 different kinds of gourmet cookies in large batches, from scratch with all natural ingredients spread out over several days. Once they were all completed they would be divided up into beautifully arranged cookie gift platters and given to relatives, neighbors and friends. It was going to look something like what is pictured below.

christmascookieplatter

Reality was that one single type of cookie was made in one large batch. It took all evening with my little helpers fully engaged to bake sheets and sheets of cookies while the little ones took turns helping with the decorating icing bags and naturally dyed sugar sprinkles. That single solitary type of cookie ended up looking like this after they were decorated and left for the icing to firm up on cooling wracks…Picture taken just prior to the previously mentioned bear cub toddler helping himself to them by shoving a chair over to the area to gain access.

christmascookies2013

Returned to the kitchen to find the icing scraped off of half of them and about a third of them crumbled into a pile of crumbs. Yup. That was memory making reality. Our cookie gift baskets were stocked with Trader Joe’s cookies instead. Bless them for both having a wonderful holiday variety along with lots of gluten free options as well and fairly wholesome ingredient listings. It hurt my perfectionistic, bakers heart to the core but it got the job done.

Ideally we were going to spend the days leading up to Christmas doing all sorts of fun, Advent themed projects while carefully packing gifts for the many family members we planned to see on our long anticipated trip down to my home state of GA. It was going to be organized, neat and tidy, personalized and done on time because I had a plan.

Reality was our wee baby boy got sick. Very sick. The trip was cancelled while we waited hour by hour to see if we would have to take him to the ER. He took a drastic turn for the better the day after we were supposed to leave and we decided to go after all. We packed in a mad, slapdash manner. All order out the window. Barely grabbing enough supplies to throw together basic gifts for the family without all the personalized notes and special touches that were planned.

Almost all of the ‘ideals’ and plans my over achieving self could come up with went up in flames this year. Reality came along and tore them to bits, trompled all over them and ground them into oblivion for good measure. While nothing that came out of my holiday was Pinterest worthy…it was perfect. Beautifully sweet. Peaceful. Surrounded by loving people. My sweet little immediate family and lots of extended family from all sides. Overwhelmed by generosity to us and our kids. Delicious food. And an older generation that we may not see again earth-side meeting our youngest. Tears of happiness were shed more than once.

Granny Roberts and Doodles IMG_5791 IMG_5808 IMG_5821 IMG_5741

I wouldn’t trade one minute of what the Reality of our Christmas Holiday was for any of what my ideal plans were. Ok, I take that back. Maybe for the cookies. Those were going to be some incredible cookies. Ah well. There is always next year! =D

Hope the Holiday Reality you experienced was every bit as wonderful as the one we were blessed to have.

Sick Baby? Five Things Any Parent Can Do

Sad Squish makes for sad Daddy

Sad Squish makes for sad Daddy

Our wee Squish-boy is sick. Not quite six months old and a respiratory virus of some sort came to call. Over the years we’ve assembled quite the arsenal of products to deal with viral based issues.  Unfortunately, *Most* of them are for bigger people than very young babies. Through some trial and error though we figured out a few things that have helped to make the wee boy comfortable despite the severity of illness.

1) Hydration: Stuffy nosed babies have a difficult time nursing and may not be very interested in swallowing much of anything. With inadequate hydration plus the extra drooling, extra mucous production and the general strain the body is under as the immune system fights the invader hydration needs escalate. Warm sea salt and magnesium baths with just a drop or two of beneficial essential oils can make a world of difference. Not only is the warmth soothing, the steamy air beneficial for inflamed airways while the essential oils work their beneficial magic. Three favorites of mine for sick infants is Lavender Essential OilChamomile Essential Oil and Frankincense Essential oil. All three are anti inflammatory, soothing and calming to the airways. The pores of the skin are able to absorb moisture and it helps to rehydrate, especially via the feet!

The warm steamy air is also fantastic for loosening up stuffy noses enough that they can be gently suctioned or wiped. For babes old enough to understand blowing their nose or ones that require frequent wiping, I suggest keeping their delicate skin slathered in a layer of Miracle to help prevent chaffing. Miracle can also serve as soothing and healing carrier oil/base for essential oils as needed on other parts of the body.

IMG_5305

2) Massage: We have become big fans of massage for our babies and children on a regular basis. But it is especially helpful when they are sick. A light dab of Winter Breeze on their little footsies and gently rubbed in, focusing on helpful pressure point areas is a great thing to do.

IMG_4956

3) Probiotics. Infants have immature immune systems with limited capabilities. Most of the immune system is housed in the gut. Probiotics are one of the most gentle and safe supplements one can give an infant. It works well in addition to breastmilk or formula. I personally use Tummy Tune Up capsules. For 0-3 months 1/4 a capsule worth of the mild and slightly milky tasting powder on the tongue before nursing. 3 to 9 months 1/2 a capsule at a time and 9+ months one full capsule at a time. Another favorite for us to use is Bovine Colostrum. Beeyoutiful’s is sourced from grass-fed cow’s and is freeze dried to maintain optimal nutritional benefits.

SweetSquish

SweetSquish

4) Sleeping Positions: Our babies have not been good sleepers under the best of circumstances. Actually, pretty sure they are in the running for some of the worst baby sleepers out there. But, what good sleeping we do manage to make happen on a normal basis goes straight out the window as soon as snuffles and congestion arrive on the scene. We have found that our babies do much better when sleeping on an incline. When breathing issues are really acute it’s best to have baby skin on skin with mama, sleeping on her chest (especially if she’s lactating!) A recliner, or propped up safely in a bed is safest. Arranged in such a way that if Mama’s arms go limp in sleep baby is still safe from rolling off and getting into a smothering situation or hitting the floor. We have also put a fully swaddled baby on their back on a pillow set at an incline to help with breathing. The swaddling prevents them from rolling over or flipping themselves into a position where they could smother or have restricted air access from the pillow (firm pillows are best for this purpose). We also sleep right next to our sick babies. SIDS is a worry that is never too far from my mind but always rises to the forefront whenever there is sickness that affected their airways. With my Mama spidey senses in full gear I am pretty tuned into their every breath or lack of one sleeping near them.

Room sharing may mean parent(s) get less sleep but it can make for more attuned care to the little ones. Especially if it means getting to them before they are able to work up into a cry when they wake up. Crying = more mucous production and distress so preemptively doing as much care as it is possible to do without them having to cry is ideal. Also, and possibly most importantly there is some research to suggest that babies are triggered and “reminded” to breath by the bio feedback. Hearing the deep, even rhythms of breath from especially the people their little bodies are best attuned to is one of the best regulating things you can give them access to when breathing is at all a struggle.

SquishSleeping

5) Rest: With the 24/7 attentive care that babies need when they are sick, rest is of top priority. Even for Mama’s that have other little ones running around that need care. There is too much at stake with a sick babe for mama to run herself into the ground and get super sick herself (preaching to the choir here as I hack and cough from having succumbed to what the wee man had over a week ago). Rest as much as it is possible to. We all have these lofty parenting goals of what our kids are allowed to do and not do on a normal basis. This is one of those times where it’s Ok to call a truce with the electronics and declare a documentary marathon if it means Mama can snag a nap when baby naps. Rest is that oh so vital and yet oh so undervalued and under prioritized component of healing we so easily overlook. Take shifts with a spouse. Swallow that pride and ask for some help. It’s very worth it.

SquishSleeping2

Our little Squish is, thankfully on the mend from his first illness. I started this blog post when he first got sick and am just now able to finish it up over a week later. Did I mention how overwhelming life gets when dealing with a sick baby??? Yeah. He has been the youngest I’ve had get this sick and it was scary. Was so thankful for each and every tool we’ve learned over the years and been able to practice with on less severe illnesses in his siblings. Our focus going forward for the rest of this winter is prevention!

Next post will be about our new and improved method of doing garlic poultices around here! Stay tuned.

Baby Mark

It’s been…yeah. Way too long since I posted here. Thought about it a lot but the further behind in life I got the less blogging seemed like the thing to do.

So. Let’s see. Since I last checked in on the blogging world we got pregnant with a very surprise baby. He made it past those perilous first weeks and into the safer waters of the second and then third trimester. The Doodles and Cman were super excited to be getting a little sibling. Doodles voted, lobbied, prayed and then acted in complete and total faith that said sibling would be a girl. The poor ultrasound tech that delivered the news that the baby was a *boy* and not a girl received the death stare and was informed she must be mistaken…check again by the Doodles. Finally resigning herself to the reality that two little brothers were immediately on her horizon she adopted a philosophical attitude about it.

Our little BabyMark arrived after several weeks of off and on midwife mandated bed-rest, LOTS of prodromal labor and exhausting life logistics as we shuttled ourselves back and forth from The Farm Birth Center and the little cottage that became our home away from home as we anticipated Mark’s arrival.

He was born into the water just like his siblings were. We were blessed to have the most supportive, loving and cheerful group of labor support ever. Our Farm birth experience was amazing and we’ll always remember the wonderful women-birth-servants who work there with such respect, kindness and professional wisdom.

Life with three is interesting. It’s a bigger struggle to get things done, that is for sure. Laundry and household messes seemed to double overnight. I love the freedom to take a few minutes, an hour or a day as needed and just focus on our three little people. Still keeping up with work as I am able to in between caring for a bigger than ever personal life.

Both Cman and BabyMark are in cloth diapers. Need to write another blogpost about cloth diapers again. Still a huge fan and cloth diapering has saved us so so much money in addition to being a totally fun fashion statement. Cman loves choosing between different patterns of pocket diapers and is already making his own sense of style be known. Think brilliant orange diaper with soccer balls on it. Hands down favorite!

The next few months promise to be overwhelming. Have to produce both a Beeyoutiful Catalog, a BeeyoutifulSkin Makeup Catalog and prepare for a huge conference all at the same time. Somewhere in there will be attending the birth of a dear friend as a Doula if all goes according to plan.

It’s a crazy, wonderful, loving, demanding, fulfilling and exhausting life I am blessed to live right now. These little peoples years may be the hardest in terms of juggling personal life and business needs but pretty sure it’s safe to say they are the sweetest and the reality of how incredibly lucky I am to enjoy every one of our children is never too far from my reality. 

Hopefully I can get back to posting every so often again. At least any yummy food stuffs. Delicious food still makes me happy. Very happy. 

The wee hours of the morning have arrived and the littlest one will be waking up soon to eat so I’d better close this out. A few pictures are attached below for your viewing enjoyment! They were taken by our wonderful birth Photographer, Cindy Sarlo.  We were thankful to have her there to document labor and our first moments of meeting sweet BabyMark. 

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Rosemary Lemonade: Simple and Delicious

Rosemary Lemonade

Rosemary Lemonade

A favorite beverage in our house is fresh lemonade. The tart sour of fresh lemon juice mixes beautifully with the sharp sweetness of Beeyoutiful’s debittered liquid Stevia. A really nice treat graduates to something bordering on the divine when a sprig of fresh Rosemary is added. Allowing the lemonade to steep with the rosemary for 30 min or more gives it such a unique and delicious flavor! The longer the Rosemary is left in the Lemonade the richer the flavor becomes. Not only does the Rosemary add an amazing flavor you get all of the health benefits that Rosemary brings to the table as an herb as well. 

Want to take it to the next level? Mix 50/50 Black Mango tea with this Rosemary Lemonade and serve over ice. You are officially ready for front porch sitting on a warm spring or summer day. Enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies: Grain and Dairy Free

Our kids have been sick over the past week. Because of that I’ve had them on a strict no treats diet to help their bodies fight it off better. They are almost totally better now so last night I decided to make them a treat!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies: Grain and Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup Raw Almond Butter
  • 2 Free range eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey OR French Vanilla Liquid Stevia to taste.
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Flour (leave out if you use Stevia instead of honey)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Dried, unsweetened Coconut Chips. Can substitute with Flakes
  • Small bag of gluten free mini chocolate chips (Optional!)
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mash Bananas up until smooth. Add Almond butter and mix until well blended. Add Eggs, honey (or Stevia) and Vanilla. Add Baking Soda, Coconut Flour, Cinnamon and Sea Salt. Mix well. Taste and adjust sweetener if needed. Add chocolate chips and Coconut Chips. Mix well. Prepare baking pans with Parchment paper. Pour dough onto paper using 1/4 cup measuring cup. Cookies will expand while baking so leave plenty of room. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before lifting off of the pan. If you can’t wait, scrape it off with a spoon and enjoy with raw milk.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Garlic Kale Salad

I’m not a huge fan of raw greens. For many reasons. One of which is the issue of the anti-nutrients that cooking or culturing neutralizes in greens. So, even if I loved them, raw greens are still not a great idea from a nutritional standpoint on a frequent basis. A couple of years ago though I had a delicious raw kale salad served as a side at a slow food restaurant. It was so yummy 2 years later I still think about it every time I prepare Kale. So, tonight, I threw together a knock-off version of it using the delicious, mild and delicate curly leaf kale provided by our wonderful Winter CSA. Got some recipe ideas from a couple of on-line sources and cobbled together my own. It’s yummy. I ate 3 servings of it in one sitting.

Garlic Kale Salad

  • 2 bunches curly leaf kale (although any kind of Kale will do)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (raw is useful because the extra enzymes in it make the kale more nutritionally accessible in it’s raw state)
  • 3 large cloves raw garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cultured g/f soy sauce (Can substitute Coconut Amino Acids in it’s place if soy needs to be avoided at all costs)
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (this is totally optional but please don’t leave it out even if you typically think of anchovies as disgusting. It simply adds a bit of mild salty tang with no residual fish taste once it’s blended into the whole recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.
  3. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Can be made a day ahead and stored in refrigerator. Tastes bolder and more flavorful the second day!

Garlic Kale Salad