Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Homeopathic Ignatia - Remedy for Grief, Heartbreak, Homesickness, Disappointment, and Emotional Stress

If I could have have just one homeopathic remedy on-hand for acute emotional stresses, it would be Ignatia amara. From grief to homesickness to disappointment, this remedy is indispensable for many of life's emotional stresses. Like all homeopathic remedies, Ignatia works by stimulating the body to fix whatever is wrong, be that on the emotional, mental, or physical level. Rather than suppressing symptoms like conventional medicines do, homeopathic remedies actually work with the body to heal the underlying problem. In the wake of an emotional stress, Ignatia can help the body and emotions become re-balanced, just as they should be.

Emotional Stressors

Ignatia is known to help with the following types of emotional stress:

  • Grief, such as after the death of a loved one or pet
  • Heartbreak or relationship troubles
  • Homesickness
  • Disappointment or failure
  • Hearing bad news
  • Worrying about a loved one, such as following a specific event such as a car crash or medical diagnosis)

Symptoms That Often Point to Ignatia

Some of the symptoms that may be present when a person will benefit from Ignatia include the following. These symptoms do NOT have to be present in order for Ignatia to be indicated, as they represent just a few of the many possible symptoms that can indicate Ignatia.
  • Sighing and/or yawning
  • Sensation of lump in throat or stomach
  • Mood swings or alternations/mingling of tears and gaiety
  • Unexpressed emotions (silent, withdrawn)
  • Paradoxical symptoms (sore throat relieved by swallowing, toothache relieved by chewing, etc.)
  • Any symptoms that appear in the wake of an emotional stress (grief, heartbreak, loss, etc.)

Success With Ignatia for Emotional Stresses

Some examples of using Ignatia for acute emotional stress from the homeopathic literature include the following:

  • "I was called to a young girl who during several weeks had vomited frequently and who was rapidly losing strength and weight. She told me that she had no pain in the stomach or anywhere else... Her illness had followed a grave mental upset. Since then she would not speak to anyone, had become very morose, and she wept often. These happen to be the leading symptoms of Ignatia. She was therefore given... Ignatia..., and immediately the vomiting came to an end, and the girl lost her melancholy disposition and became perfectly normal." [Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12]
  • "One thin, nervous, alabaster-pale girl of twelve, suffering from growing pains in the legs, had not been placed in the honor section of her class. High expectations of herself had been cultivated by her parents, so she was mortified and began to feel an aversion to everything connected with her school... a dose of Ignatia... was prescribed. Shortly afterwards, one evening at dinner, she volunteered, 'You know, I'm really glad I didn't make the fast track in school. Now I have more time for extracurricular activities. I've signed up for drama and glee club, and I think I'm going to love them!' Thus, instead of brooding on her failure... she cheerfully and confidently went on to something else." [Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2]
  • "Another Ignatia-requiring situation is homesickness, as was perceived in the case of the ten-year-old... boy at camp, who begged his mother to please let him come home... The ... mother sent her son some Ignatia instead, to be taken twice a day until he felt better. After several days, there were no more pathetic phone calls and the parents received a bracing postcard: 'The food here is wonderful, the activities are just great, and my cabin leader is a real neat guy!' " [Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types]
In my own family, Ignatia has worked well for various emotional stresses in daily life. One such example was a couple years ago, when one of my daughter's chickens was taken ill. That same night, my daughter was suddenly ill, with a high fever and by the following day she was quite ill. Ignatia proved to be the right remedy for her, and quickly cleared up her acute illness.  On subsequent questioning, my daughter told me that she had been worried that her chicken was going to die.

Since then, there have been several other times when my daughter has felt grief over animals dying, and I've been able to give her Ignatia earlier before any physical symptoms have developed. I've used Ignatia for myself, as well, at times when I've had large disappointments that I kept dwelling on, and other times when there has been loss or grief. Each time, Ignatia has allowed me to quickly get out of the rut I was becoming mired in, and  re-normalize my emotional state. 

Dosage and Potency Guidance

I generally use homeopathic Ignatia in the 30c potency for treating acute emotional events. When used very soon after the precipitating event, typically only one dose is needed for the body to restore balance. When there has been a time lapse between the event and the usage of Ignatia, sometimes more than one dose is needed.

With all homeopathic remedies, the least number of doses is always the best.  Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body to heal itself. Anytime there is a noticeable improvement, no more doses should be given unless the symptoms start to regress (or unless there is a plateau, where the symptoms get better to a point but then stop improving). And if no improvement is observed within 3 doses of taking a remedy, the remedy should be discontinued.

While Ignatia typically works quite well for treating acute emotional events, in cases of long-standing feelings of grief or loss the selection of the appropriate remedy is typically more complex. Ignatia might still be helpful in those instances, but often the chronic state will instead morph into needing a different remedy such as Natrum mur, Phosphoric acid, or Aurum metallicum


[1] Vithoulkas, George, Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12, pp. 2677-2723, International Academy of Classical Homeopathy, Alonissos, Greece 2009.
[2] Coulter, Catherine R., Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2, pp. 107-151, North Atlantic Books, California, USA 1988.
[3] Coulter, Catherine R., Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types, pp. 163-168, Ninth House Publishing, West Virginia, USA 2001.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed healthcare professional. I am a homeopathic practitioner whose services are considered complementary and alternative by the state of New Mexico. The uses of homeopathic remedies described herein are provided for educational use only.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Review Request: My eCookbooks on Amazon

My cookbooks are available on Amazon. Nourishing Eats, released in 2012, is now only $6.99. Nourished Cooking, released in 2013, is only $7.99. The recipes in these cookbooks are free of refined sweeteners and gluten, and nearly all of them are grain-free as well. Both of my eCookbooks are perfect for those who eat:
  • traditional, real foods
  • whole foods
  • gluten-free diets
  • grain-free diets
  • Primal diet
  • GAPS™ Diet
  • Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Nourished Cooking

Nourishing Eats

Here are links to each of the cookbooks:
Nourishing Eats
Nourished Cooking

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blini - Russian Pancakes - With Savory or Sweet Toppings (gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

Blini - I had never heard of these thin Russian pancakes before our homeschool world studies last fall.  Now blini are an adored recipe in our household, and everyone is excited for Blini Night. On Blini Night, I work at the stove, cooking the blinis, while everyone keeps coming back for more. We have both savory and sweet toppings ready, and it feels like a simple feast.

For the savory blini, we use sour cream with smoked salmon, thinly-sliced cucumbers, capers, and green onions. Our sweet blinis are topped with sour cream and jam, honey, or strawberries. Sour cream, salmon, and honey are all traditional Russian foods, so these toppings work well for our Russian-inspired meals.   

Traditionally, blini are made with either buckwheat or wheat flour. Since two members of our household are still most often avoiding gluten, and tolerate other grains to varying degrees, I make our blini primarily with white rice flour. Tapioca starch is used to give the blini a bit of holding power, since blini made with only rice flour break very easily. Milk kefir gives these blini a fantastic taste.

Blini - Russian Pancakes

Makes 12-14 blini

For the Blini:
  1. Combine the white rice flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to combine. 
  2. In a small bowl, beat two eggs with a fork.  Add the milk kefir and stir well to combine.
  3. Using a hand mixer or whisk, mix the kefir mixture into the flour mixture.
  4. Mix in the 2 Tb melted butter.
  5. Set aside the blini batter for 10 minutes.
  6. In the meantime prepare the toppings (ingredients listed below).
  7. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. I like to use a cast iron skillet to cook the blini.
  8. Melt some butter in the skillet, coating the bottom of the skillet well. Use a 1/4 cup of batter for each blini (a 1/4 measuring cup works well for this). Immediately after pouring the batter into the skillet, give the skillet a gentle swirl to allow the batter to spread out. 
  9. Cook the blini until golden brown on one side (about 2 minutes), then add more butter to the skillet and flip the blini. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Top the blini with savory or sweet toppings and enjoy!
Savory Blini Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • smoked salmon
  • green onions, green parts only, sliced thinly
  • thinly sliced cucumbers
  • capers
  1. Start by spreading the sour cream over the blini, then add the rest of the toppings. 
  2. If desired, fold the blini over the toppings.

Sweet Blini Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • honey
  • jam
  • strawberries
  1. Start by spreading the sour cream over the blini.
  2. Add jam or honey, and fresh strawberries if desired.  
  3. If desired, fold the blini over the toppings.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Scotcheroos (gluten-free)

I have fond memories of one particular item that was part of the school lunch program when I was a kid. It was a peanut butter bar, covered in chocolate, and I was always so happy on the days it was served. I never knew the name this dessert until recently, when I was researching recipes for the midwestern United States. I kept seeing Scotcheroos mentioned, and I was gleefully surprised to see that Scotcheroos were the treasured relic from my childhood cafeteria!

Most Scotcheroo recipes are loaded with high fructose corn syrup combined with butterscotch chips, peanut butter, sugar, rice crispies, and chocolate chips. I initially tried to dismiss the idea of making Scotcheroos, as they obviously are not a healthy item. High fructose corn syrup plus butterscotch chips (made with even more undesirable ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil); not for my family!

But yet, I kept thinking about Scotcheroos, remembering how much pleasure they brought to me as a child and thinking how sweet it could be to share that with my own children. So I finally decided to embark on creating a healthier Scotcheroo, one that was devoid of those uber-processed ingredients and instead made with healthier ingredients such as honey, sucanat, and butter.  I'm not claiming these Scotcheroos are healthy and perfect; they do still have some processed ingredients, but they are much healthier than the typical Scotcheroos.

It has been fun to share this food-from-my-childhood with my kids. Oh, and did I forget to mention? These Scotcheroos are DELICIOUS! Rich, sweet, creamy, crispy, and oh so yummy.


Serves 20-30 
Make the Peanut Butter Mixture
  1. In a med-large pot (4-qt), combine the honey, sugar, sucanat, peanut butter, and salt. 
  2. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  3. Turn off heat. Allow to cool slightly, and then stir in the rice crisps cereal.
  4. Use butter to grease a 9X13 glass baking dish.
  5. Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly in the 9X13 dish.
  6. Place the dish in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes before adding the chocolate topping.
Make the Chocolate Butterscotch Topping
  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine the butter, sucanat, milk, vanilla, and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has melted and all is well-mixed.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and continue to cook over low heat. Stir frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
Bring It All Together:
  1. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread out the chocolate as evenly as possible.
  2. Place the 9X13 dish back in the fridge to cool for at least 1.5 hours.
  3. Once cool, slice the Scotcheroos into squares and serve with a glass of raw milk. These Scotcheroos are quite rich, so we generally get ~30 servings out of one batch. 
  4. Leftovers can be stored in the freezer so there is no pressure to consume them all quickly. Parchment paper works well to keep the Scotcheroos from sticking to each other.

What is your favorite childhood dessert?

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Cobb Salad (grain-free : gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

As my children and I are wrapping up our unit study on the United States, we're "visiting" the west coast.  Cobb Salad is a California specialty that has become a mainstay salad all over the country.

An easy way to remember the ingredients in Cobb Salad is to use the acronym EAT COBB - Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, Onion, Bacon, Bleu cheese. My family enjoyed this hearty salad recipe, although it was preferred to substitute goat cheese for the bleu cheese.

Cobb Salad
Serves 4
  • For the chicken:
    • 3 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
    • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped roughly
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped roughly
    • 1 white onion, in large chunks
    • Celtic sea salt
    • filtered water
  • For the bacon and eggs:
    • 6 slices of bacon, preferably nitrate-free
    • 4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
    • filtered water
  • For the salad:
    • 1/2 head romaine lettuce
    • 1/2 head red leaf lettuce
    • 2 small endives, diced
    • 2 ripe avocados, chopped
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    • 3 Tb diced green onions, green parts only
    • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese or goat cheese
  • For the dressing:
Cook the chicken: 
  1. Place the carrot, celery, and onion in a 4-qt pot. Add the chicken thighs, cover with filtered water, and add a generous pinch of salt. 
  2. Bring the pot of chicken to a low simmer. Cover the pot and allow the chicken to gently simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool until it can be handled easily. (The super-delicious broth leftover from cooking the chicken can be used for some other meal later on. It makes fantastic nutrient-dense white rice.)
  4. Once the chicken is cool enough, remove and discard the chicken skin. (Or feed it to the dog!) Remove the chicken meat from the bones, being careful to avoid any cartilage or other chewy bits. The bones can be saved for making chicken bone broth
  5. Chop the chicken into small pieces.
  6. The chicken can be prepared earlier in the day or even a day in advance of the meal. If so, just allow the chicken to sit out for a few minutes before adding it to the salad, so the chicken isn't refrigerator-cold. 
Cook the bacon:
  1. Cook the bacon until it is nicely crisp. My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven at in a 9X13 glass baking dish. It takes about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees, and seems to cook best on the bottom rack.
  2. When the bacon is done, place it on paper towels to remove the excess grease. Once the bacon is cool enough, it can be chopped or crumbled for the salad. 
  3. The bacon can be cooked earlier in the day or even a day in advance of the meal.
Boil the eggs:

  1. Boil the eggs to your liking. My preferred way to make boiled eggs is as follows: Put the eggs in a small pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover the pot. Set a timer for 15-18 minutes (depending on the size of the eggs). When the timer goes off, pour out the hot water and then add cold water and ice to cool the eggs down quickly (so they don't continue to cook).
  2. Once the boiled eggs have cooled enough to handle, peel them. Chop the eggs into wedges or slices.
  3. The eggs can be boiled and peeled earlier in the day or even a day in advance of the meal.
Prepare the dressing:

  1. Combine the red wine vinegar with all other ingredients except for the olive oil.
  2. Whisk or shake vigorously to mix it all up. I like to use this salad dressing bottle so I can just put on the lid and shake it all together.
  3. Add about 1 tsp of the olive oil and whisk/shake vigorously again. Adding a small amount of oil first helps the dressing become better mixed so it won't separate back into oil and vinegar as quickly.
  4. Add the rest of the olive oil and whisk or shake to combine.

Prepare the salad:

  1. Rip the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and chop the endive. Wash and dry the lettuces and endive. A salad spinner works excellently for this. I use this method to easily wash and dry all of my salad greens.
  2. Chop up the avocado, slice the tomatoes, and dice the scallions.

Bring it all together:

  1. Place a generous amount of lettuce on each plate.
  2. Create stripes over top of the lettuce, adding the avocado, bacon, eggs, bleu cheese (or goat cheese), chicken, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the green onions over it all.
  3. Shake up the dressing and drizzle to taste.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

10 Fantastic World Music Stations on Pandora

Last year, as part of our homeschool "world trip", my kids and I delved into music from around the globe. We discovered that, in addition to the great Putumayo world music CD's, there are actually many fantastic world music stations on Pandora internet radio. To be sure, there were some world music stations we did not enjoy (ugh, Japanese pop music drove me nuts!), but there were also many world music stations which have become a regular part of our musical experience at home. With our Blu-Ray player, we are able to listen to Pandora radio very conveniently in the main living space in our house.

Our 10 Favorite World Music Stations on Pandora

Punjabi Hits Radio - Upbeat music from India

La Camisa Negra Radio - Latin American pop music

Bluegrass Radio - Appalachian-inspired music, typically with fiddle and banjo

Celtic Radio - Music from Ireland and Scotland

African Radio - Calming mix of African music, including one of our favorite artists, Mamadou Diabate

Cuban Radio - Music featuring African-inspired drums and Spanish lyrics

Mariachi Radio - Traditional Mexican music featuring violin, guitar, and trumpets

Samba Radio - Brazilian music featuring African-inspired beats with Portuguese lyrics

Russian Traditional Radio - Classical Russian music, featuring composers such as Shostakovich

Zorba's Dance (From "Zorba the Greek") Radio - An interesting mix of classical music and classical renditions of modern music

Do you listen to world music? Which stations or artists do you recommend?

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Butter Smash Potatoes (gluten-free : grain-free : nutrient-dense)

This recipe for Butter Smash Potatoes is a super simple yet tasty way to prepare potatoes. Although I love mashed potatoes, on busy nights all of that peeling and mashing feels like too much work. The beauty of this recipe is that it requires much less hands-on work, and my family loves the results. Butter Smash Potatoes is the potato recipe I use most often.

Butter Smash Potatoes
Serves 6-8

  1. Wash the potatoes and remove any bad spots.
  2. Chop the potatoes into large chunks of approximately equal size.
  3. Put the potatoes in a large (4-quart) pot and cover with filtered water. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
  5. Allow the potatoes to cook until they very easily break apart just by piercing them with a fork. Depending on the size and freshness of the potatoes, this usually takes about 35-45 minutes.
  6. Drain the potatoes. I just use the lid of the pot to hold back the potatoes while I pour the water down the sink.
  7. Nestle the butter down in the potatoes in the pot, and put the lid on so the butter can melt.
  8. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt. I generally use about 1&1/2 tsp finely ground Celtic sea salt, but use more or less depending on your taste preferences.
  9. Once the butter is melted, lightly stir the potatoes using a large spoon. Keep turning the potatoes over just until all of the butter has been soaked up by the potatoes.
  10. Serve and enjoy! This recipe is a great all-purpose side dish to pair with chickenParmesan fried chickenbeef roast, meatloaf, or any other main course.

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