Friday, June 28, 2013


another week with che and fidel
Aidan: content on this rainy day after finishing the school year.
Bella: loving the rain and playing with her brothers and "sheepy".
Kai: i can not tell you how much he loves this dog.

the end of grade 2

yesterday was the last day of grade 2 for aidan
he had an awesome year!
 his lunch with a special treat and jokes
i also love all our reusable lunch containers that i picked up at ecoexistence. love that place!
another year done! (where does it go....)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

scapes and avocados

it is that time of year again!
garlic scapes
 it was too hot for a big lunch, so i made a quick guacamole and added some finely chopped scapes.
avocados are a great source of healthy fats, high in fiber, vitamin k, folic acid, vitamin B5 and B6, potassium and vitamin C. They are also anti-inflammatory, are great for the heart and balance blood sugar levels.
it is often called the perfect food!
bella and kai love it. we're still working on aidan!
did you know if you leave the pit in the bowl it stops the avocado from turning brown!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

dairy and asthma.

this is my experience with dairy. when aidan was about 3 years old his seasonal allergies set in. i thought it was no big deal, until one day he awoke from a nap and was having difficulty breathing. i remember his sternal notch caving in with each inhalation (a sign of severe breathing distress). i rushed him to the pediatrician (i fear hospitals ever since his newborn jaundice experience). he was given steroids to decrease the inflammation and a puffer. it was stressful. at that point i took him off dairy (pizza at bday parties was the exception). i gave him almond milk instead of cow's milk, almond butter instead of cream cheese, sorbet instead of ice cream and used dairy free chocolate chips in baking. i was quite lucky as he did not like yogurt or cheese (unless melted on pizza, of course!) it was around this time that i started this blog and started experimenting with vegan baking. i made my own pancakes, muffins, cakes and easily eliminated dairy. i also gave him acidophilus daily as well as fish oil and vtm D. after a year i starting re-introducing cow milk and more cheese and he was ok. i am still mindful to how much dairy he gets and use alternatives whenever i can. 

there is a well known triad in the naturopathic (and medical) community connecting asthma-allergies-eczema. i know how hard it is for people to eliminate dairy (and wheat, eggs, citrus, soy etc.) from their little ones diets. our culture is so wheat and dairy oriented ie. pizza, grilled cheese, pasta with cheese, cheese and crackers and then there is the cream cheese, yogurt and ice cream. you get my point. but there are so many wonderful and tasty alternatives making it so much easier!

my nephew, A, is 20 months and on the smaller size. they try to "fatten" him up with dairy. he was eating upwards of 2 yogurts per day but has since been decreased or become soy based (another big allergen and one of my next blog posts!). he also gets pediasure daily. it's hard for me to even read the ingredients. it contains dairy (along with sugar, a variety of oils, vtms-which are minimal and food additives). he has been hospitalized for his asthma and it frequently returns. studies show that dairy produces excess mucus, compromising the lungs and that milk may worsen asthma due to an undiagnosed milk allergy. i am certain he is sensitive to dairy. he also has eczema. there is your triad. allergies-asthma-eczema.

kids, especially little ones, eat what we give them. if they choose to not eat their dinner and then are given snack foods ie. goldfish crackers or cheddar bunnies and a yogurt, they will wait to get their snack and push their dinner aside. i stopped giving my kids snack foods. i keep them hungry for dinner and they eat their food. after that they can have a snack, which is typically an apple with almond butter or as of late, almond butter on a spoon.

parents get worried about calcium. here are some excellent sources; tahini, sesame seeds, almonds/almond butter, almond milk, soy milk, green vegetables, seaweeds, molasses, figs, beans (kidney, white, chickpeas), sardines and salmon. we can also get fortified rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk and orange juice. give them a try. just because you don't like a certain food does not mean your kids won't. my kids love sardines on toast (bleh to me!) but so good for them!

it's hard to make changes. i get it. i see so many kids in my practice and there is almost always a food sensitivity (dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy) and when we figure it out, they get better. it is wonderful! they grown and thrive and have minimal illnesses. maybe it's dairy for little A. maybe it's not. but something is going on. no harm in trying. worst thing that can happen is he gets better!

"let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". hippocrates


Friday, June 21, 2013


this week with che and fidel
Aidan: checking out the new engraved pavers at the artscape wychwood barns. it was a communty effort to get "shade to the barns" so our children can play in a bit more of a covered space. these pavers were purchased to help raise money for the shade structures. if you take a close look at the triangle made by his right arm, you will see our paver 
"E & A Levy, ABK Miller". they were pretty excited to spot their paver shared with their Levy besties.
Bella: focusing on something in the tree, with her "panda baby"
Kai: keeping up with the big kids at the park. love those cheeks!

Friday, June 14, 2013


the baby chicks hatched on monday at the nursery school and by week's end they were being gently held. 
Aidan: in black, of course
Bella: and yellow for her
Kai: he really loves this old dog of ours. 


this is the herb we discussed last night at john reddens practical herb course.
we got up close and personal with comfrey and even had a spa night.
it was blissful.
i am going to talk about its external applications, as it is illegal to prescribe comfrey internally. it has been documented to cause liver damage when taken internally, but really it is in those that have liver disease or are alcoholics.
you have to be cautious when planting comfrey as it will take over! you either need to grow it in a container or keep your eye on it and prune it.

the latin name is symphytum officinale.
symphytos, to unite (as in, broken bones)
one of its main indications is in wound healing; broken bones, bruises, scrapes and tears. it will heal the body in half the normal time. amazing to have on hand for the kiddies! you do need to be cautious of deep wounds as the skin will heal on top before the deep inner wound heals and you can create an abscess. postnatally women use dried comfrey as part of their sitz bath to help the perineum heal quicker.
i had burned my finger just before going to the class (perfect timing!) on the panini press. after rubbing comfrey on my hands, the burn was gone by morning! it is that healing.

it is also amazing for the skin! is helps to tighten the skin, yet keeps it internally moist. there is an astringent quality that helps to remove impurities ie. black heads (yuck) but also puts the moisture back it. we applied this green comfrey sludge to our faces and left it on for a good 30 min. after removal my skin felt so clean and fresh!
all we did was boil some water, add the fresh herb, leaves, stems, flowers and stalks and boil them for about 3 min. we then took out all the herb parts, blended them and once cooled applied to our face, hands and feet. you would apply it to the injured part of the body the same way and then you could wrap the wet herb in cheescloth to help keep the herb in place and to contain the mess! if you did not have the fresh herb, then you would boil the dried herb, the way you would make a tea and then dip a cloth into the water and apply to the skin.
seriously, you don't need fancy creams. this is fantastic. give it a try!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Garden

It is a work in progress. We have a deep front lot in which I am slowly pulling out the "weed grass" to plant food, herbs and perennials. I recently started taking a herb course (more on this tomorrow when I post what I learned with a photo of me...stay tuned!) to help me work on the garden and refine my herbal medicine knowledge. I recently added a few new things; a peony, lavender and some ornamental grass that will grow 3 ft. high. I also have about 25 garlic plants growing. so here are some pictures and I will update as my work progresses.

 potted basil amongst the perennials and garlic
more garlic
if you have any suggestions on things to plant, let me know!!

Friday, June 7, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013." with Che and Fidel
A, B and K: it's rare to get a photo with all three. quiet with popsicles. kai has to have one like the big kids (a healthy version, he does not mind!)