Jul 09

Legit Grain-Free {Paleo} Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

The health food store that I shop at started carrying bulk blanched almond flour. Previously, they only carried almond meal. So not the same thing. Let me just say that having good ingredients makes all the difference in the world. I couldn’t have guessed just how much good almond flour would take my baked goods to. the. next. level. Y’all, these chocolate chip cookies are too legit to quit. And paleo. Ya know, if paleolithic peeps ate chocolate chip cookies. Anyway… get yourself some good blanched almond flour and it will change your life.

If you’ve been pining away for real chocolate chip cookies since sticking with a grain-free diet, these will change your life also!

Legit Grain-Free {Paleo} Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 36
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
110 calories
11 g
18 g
7 g
1 g
3 g
24 g
90 g
5 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
24g
Yields
36
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 18mg
6%
Sodium 90mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 5g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  2. 1/2 cup butter, softened (or palm shortening if you want to stick to strictly "paleo" ingredients)
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1/2 cup {Enjoy Life} chocolate chips
  5. 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 3 tbsp. coconut flour
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla
  9. 1 tsp. baking soda
  10. 3/4 tsp. real salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add softened butter, honey, vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
  5. Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, then flatten the cookies with your fingers or the back of a wooden spoon, dipped in water.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
beta
calories
110
fat
7g
protein
1g
carbs
11g
more
http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/
You know what the best part about these cookies is? Eating the dough. A cookie recipe is only as good as its dough tastes, and this dough is delish!

Chocolate chip cookies are one of those main-stream treats I’ve missed since sticking with a grain-free lifestyle, but these totally fit the bill! The key is not to eat too many because they’re so good!

May I recommend:

Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Chunks

If You Care Parchment Paper

Organic Coconut Flour

Redmond Real Salt

 

Have you noticed a difference in your kitchen creations when using different quality ingredients?

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/07/09/legit-grain-free-paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Jul 07

Why I Take Turmeric Capsules and How I Save Money By Making Them Myself

turmeric

I’ve read about the benefits of turmeric for quite some time, but knew I could never season my food enough to achieve any real results.  After encapsulating desiccated liver, as well as my placenta, I learned just how easy it is to fill capsules with whatever you would like to take in supplement form.  I decided to try turmeric, and am happy to report that I can attest to the healing properties of this awesome spice!

All About Turmeric

Turmeric has been used due to its medicinal properties for nearly 4000 years, originating in India, where it was also used for culinary purposes, and even in religious ceremonies.  Today, most of the world’s turmeric comes from India with 80% being consumed in India.  Because of its high content of curcumin, the disease-fighting, anti-inflammatory component that gives turmeric its distinct color, turmeric produced in India is considered to be the best in the world.  It is called by many names, including over 50 different names in Sanskrit alone, due to its various uses and attributes.

“It was used in ancient times on the Indian subcontinent to treat various illnesses such as rheumatism, body ache, skin diseases, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, intermittent fevers, hepatic disorders, biliousness, urinary discharges, dyspepsia, inflammations, constipation, leukoderma, amenorrhea, and colic. Curcumin has the potential to treat a wide variety of inflammatory diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, [and more]…” (1)

There is literally no condition that can’t be helped by turmeric, from digestive disorders, to cuts and abrasions, and even depression.  Turmeric has been extensively studied and found to be beneficial in relieving respiratory illnesses, including asthma, and is a powerful anit-mucosal.  It is a cholagogue, which means it stimulates bile production in the liver and encourages excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats. In many cultures, turmeric is mixed with milk or water and taken to treat colds and sore throats.

Is It Safe?

To date, no studies in either animals or humans have discovered any toxic effects associated with the use of turmeric, and it is clear that turmeric is not toxic even at very high doses (2).  This is great news for pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as those who wish to use nontoxic means of treating symptoms in children.  I personally began taking turmeric capsules since I’ve been nursing my fourth child and have not seen any side effects whatsoever.

Curcumin may interact with blood thinning drugs (3).

My Experience with Turmeric

I started taking turmeric capsules after recently having my fourth baby and finding myself in need of some relief of inflammation.  Since we had eaten some things we normally don’t following the birth, I sensed that my body was not feeling its best and my sinuses were a little tender.  I also developed a blocked milk duct in the early weeks.  Because nursing limits even the natural remedies that can be used (I used oregano oil to treat a sinus infection while I was still nursing number three and my milk dried up overnight!  Thankfully, it bounced back after I drank a few cups of Mothers Milk Tea!), I knew I needed to find something that would not effect my milk supply.  I had read about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric but wasn’t sure I could get enough to fight inflammation by drinking it in milk or tea, and certainly not by lightly seasoning my food.  I decided to put it in capsules.

The results were noticeable and I found turmeric to be very effective.  Within one or two days, my tender sinuses cleared up and my milk blockage was relieved.  After that, I decided I would just give these capsules to my whole family as part of our daily supplements.  Unfortunately, we ran out quickly and stopped taking them after a little while.  Again, I found myself in need of them when last week, my oldest son and I seemed to be developing some seasonal allergies.  We were both sneezing and had runny noses and itchy eyes.  After only one day taking turmeric capsules, both of our symptoms had cleared up entirely.

These benefits have convinced me that I need to keep enough capsules on hand to keep them as part of our daily supplement routine.  I also suspect some problems with candida and perhaps intestinal parasites, which we are always working to remedy with diet, but I think the turmeric capsules will be a fantastic ally in fighting these undesirables.

Dosage

When I’m experiencing inflammation, I take 12-18 capsules a day, depending on how often I remember to take them.  I pop 4-6 capsules at a time, several times a day.  I give my six year old about four at a time, two to three times a day.  And as a regular supplement, I like to give everyone a couple of capsules in the evening, along with our other supplements.

How to Make the Capsules

If you’ve read my post on how to make desiccated liver capsules, you know I stress the importance of using a capsule machine to fill capsules.  I did without one for a while and it is a lot more work!  Once you have an easy way to fill capsules, you’ll think about all the different things you can fill capsules with that will benefit your body!  I’ve also filled capsules with grassfed gelatin, spirulina, probiotic powder and even Natural Calm!  Capsules are just a really convenient way to get things into your body that would be prohibitive otherwise based on taste or messiness.  They are especially helpful when we are going to be out of town and we need a more easy-to-transport form of our regular supplements.

Because co-supplementation with 20 mg of piperine (extracted from black pepper) has been found to significantly increase the bioavailablity of curcumin (by 2000%!) (3), I add black pepper to my turmeric capsules. One 00 capsule holds 735 mg, so 20 mg is only a very small portion of this.

If you’d like to make turmeric capsules, you will need:

00 capsules

Capsule machine

or buy this kit to save some money!

(organic) turmeric

and a little black pepper

After mixing a little black pepper in with your ground turmeric, simply follow the instructions for filling the capsules!  It’s so fast and easy and saves a ton over buying pre-made turmeric capsules.

Have you tried using turmeric as a medicinal spice?

 
Sources
1 Pari L, Tewas D, Eckel J, Role of curcumin in health and disease, 2008
2 Prasad, S. Aggarwal, BB, Turmeric, the Golden Spice, From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine, 2011
3 Mishra, Shrikant and Palanivelu, Kalpana, The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview, 2008

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/07/07/why-i-take-turmeric-capsules-and-how-i-save-money-by-making-them-myself/

Jun 30

The Home Birth of Our Sunny Side Up Baby

sunny side up
After having a home birth with our third son, we knew we would birth this way for any future children we might have! Our home birth with Everett was so perfect, spiritually rewarding and everything we could have wanted in a home birth. When we became pregnant again just over a year-and-a-half later, my midwife was one of the first people I called. We had moved to a town about an hour and a half away, but we knew we wanted to use Kelly for our second home birth. We were so excited to have a chance to use her again and welcome another baby at home.  Here is our story!

 

About six weeks before I was due, my midwife discovered that our baby had turned to a posterior position (face up). I wasn’t worried. I knew I had plenty of time to get the baby to turn, and figured it would happen on its own. She told me about some exercises I could do to help baby to turn and I worked on doing them in the weeks that followed. By the next time I visited my midwife, the baby still had not turned. Nor had baby turned at the following two visits. I was feeling a little worried and frustrated, but still believed our little one would turn when the time was right. I visited the chiropractor and continued to do the exercises to help the baby turn.

About two weeks before my due date, my sister flew in for a visit, with the hopes that she would be around for the birth. I had asked Karyn of In Bloom Photography to photograph our birth, but she was scheduled to leave town the day after my sister arrived and would be gone for more than a week. I prayed I would have the baby the day my sister arrived, in that small window before the photographer left. My sister and I took my three older boys and went hiking, but to no avail. I had been having strong Braxton hicks contractions, but they weren’t doing anything serious. I went to bed knowing that I most likely would end up having the baby while the photographer was out of town and was a little disappointed. I had had all of my other children at least a week early, so I didn’t expect to make it past 39 weeks.

Fast forward to 39 weeks. I was still pregnant! I couldn’t believe it! The best part was that my sister stuck around to wait on the baby and our amazing photographer had arrived back in town.   While my contractions were not “real” contractions yet, they were uncomfortable during at least the last couple of weeks and a couple of times became very strong and regular for a couple of hours before dying out. That last week was emotionally trying, as my body seemed to be trying to go into labor, but struggled to get it in full swing because of the baby’s positioning. My midwife told me this is typical of babies in the posterior position. I was so frustrated!

I went to the chiropractor again on a Wednesday, because I knew baby was still face up, plus I hoped an adjustment might get labor moving. She adjusted me, then did some acupressure on points that are supposed to help induce labor. The contractions did seem to get closer together and that night I thought I might be going into labor, but by morning nothing had happened. The contractions stayed uncomfortable and 30 minutes apart all day long on Thursday. Somehow my husband, David, convinced me to get dressed up and go to a work dinner with him. I didn’t feel much like it, but thought it would be good to get out, so I went.

last pg pic hudson

39 weeks, 5 days

Through dinner, the contractions continued. After we’d eaten, they began to get stronger and I was feeling like it was time to go home. I stuck it out a while longer until they had really become painful and were getting a little closer together. We headed home and got everyone to bed. My sister went to bed, but insisted I wake her up if anything happened. I worked on some laundry and asked David to help me out with a few tasks before we went to sleep just in case I was in labor. Because I had had so much false labor at this point, I wasn’t convinced the contractions I was having were the real thing yet. David went to sleep for a while and I tried to rest for a bit also, but the contractions were not letting up. This was different than the couple of times I’d had false labor because when I went to sleep, they went away. This time, they were not going away and I could not sleep.

I lay in bed for a while and decided I should track the contractions, so I downloaded an app. I tracked them for a while and by about 1 am, they were getting stronger and closer together, so I got into a hot bath, rocking on my hands and knees to continue to encourage the baby to turn. The hot water felt great on my belly and back during the contractions. I realized I was really hungry, so I called David into the bathroom to get me some milk. (Raw milk = perfect labor food!) When he came in, I don’t think either of us was convinced yet that I was really, truly in labor. I wasn’t ready to call the midwife yet either.

We did a few more tasks around the house and David began to help me through the contractions by putting counterpressure on my back. Finally, around 2:30 or so, we felt it was time to call my midwife, Kelly, so I did. I was so scared that I was calling her for a false alarm! She said she would pick up her assistant and head my way. Because she lived about an hour and a half from us, I was really worried about crying wolf. I hated the thought of her getting up in the middle of the night, driving to my house and then finding that I was not actually in labor. Thank goodness when she arrived at just after 4 am, she found me to be between 5-6 cm dilated! We could all breathe easier knowing I was actually having the baby! Suddenly, it was “go” time, and David began setting up the birthing pool!

My sister had woken up a little before our midwife arrived and Karyn, our photographer, arrived soon after. Just before everyone started arriving, a beautiful song had started playing, saying “Start a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of you God.” As I sang along, I began weeping. I can’t explain why, but I know in that moment, God was present and He stayed with me through an emotional and physically trying labor and delivery. I still thought that if I spent time on my hands and knees, my face up baby would turn. So, as my birth personnel gathered around me for support and my husband labored with me, I rocked back and forth on my hands and knees through every contraction.

Hudson-138-3278665146-O

Finally, I felt ready to get into the birthing pool. The contractions were getting pretty intense, and though the back labor I was experiencing (thanks to the back of  baby’s head pushing on my spine) was helped by a TENS unit (used to send little electric shocks via pads affixed to my back), I felt the warm water would help more. Someone reminded me to take the TENS unit off before getting into the water… but did not remind me to shut it off before taking it off! It shocked my hand and scared me, giving us all a much-needed laugh!

 Hudson-148-3278682874-O

I thought that once I entered the water, I would stay in the water, and felt that labor was surely drawing to the end. I had asked my sister to make a couple of phone calls to let my parents and a good friend know I was in labor. She was unable to reach the friend so left a message, and my mom decided to rest for a while before she and my dad made the hour-and-a-half long drive to my house. I thought they would all miss the birth.

Hudson-163-3278711819-O

Goofing off between contractions.

It turned out the end of labor was not as close as I’d imagined. Not very long after getting in the water, I felt a little more relaxed and my labor even seemed to be slowing down. I was worried and asked my midwife what I should do. She ended up giving me an herbal labor augmentation tincture and it seemed to help because labor got harder and harder after that. I ended up getting in and out of the birthing pool several times to use the bathroom.

 

Before long, I noticed the sun was up and my mom and friend were in the room. I was so glad they had made it! By this time, labor was getting very hard to bear and I made lots of noise and grabbed onto David during contractions. I was really getting worn out, but as my contractions got closer together, I knew I was getting very close to the pushing phase. Out of nowhere, I began weeping and I knew I was in transition. Even though I couldn’t explain why I was crying, I knew it meant I was almost done, and it helped to calm me. To be honest, I think part of me was crying because I was disappointed by how hard my labor had been and I was exhausted and frustrated.

 Below, my sweet friend Mary greets my son; my mom arrives, excited to meet her new grandbaby!Hudson-206-3278757316-O

Hudson-192-3278743246-O

Hudson-185-3278735245-O
In transition and nearing the end.

I still had some hard contractions ahead of me and they were overtaking me at this point, washing over me, one after another, and I was ready for the ride to be over. Instead of visualizing peaceful waves, I imagined the contractions were slamming against me, like angry waves against a rocky cliff. Before my labor had gotten quite so intense, I had tried to use some of the positive speaking techniques I had learned from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, saying “my body is going to open up and I’m going to have my baby.”. Now, as my labor became unbearable, I spoke loudly and with authority “In Jesus’ name, I will be fully dilated on this next contraction!” as another contraction overtook me.

 Hudson-188-3278738106-O Hudson-189-3278738829-O Hudson-217-3278774532-O Hudson-219-3278777065-O

I could hear and feel those in the room in prayerful agreement with me and I knew what I had declared had taken place. It was time to push. I began to feel urges to push and could reach down and feel my waters bulging. I tried to get my husband to feel because it was such a miraculous thing to me, to reach down and feel that, but I think he was too shy in a room full of people! On the next contraction, I pushed and my water broke, with my hand still over it. What blissful relief and an amazing thing to feel with my hand! I had never done that before and thought it was really cool to experience delivering my baby in this way.

 Hudson-213-3278769158-O

My mom and midwife pray together as I labor.

 

Hudson-221-3278777575-O

Relief and a quick water break.

My relief was short-lived as I began to feel my baby’s head emerging. Keeping my hand down, I felt my baby’s head! How special to know our sweet baby was almost here! As the baby began to push through, however, having my hand down began to be a downfall, as I could feel myself stretching over the head, coming out the wrong direction. Despite my efforts to turn my little one during labor, the baby was coming out face up. I screamed: a loud, horror-movie-worthy scream. Kelly immediately told me to stop screaming (I thought it was because that was no way to peacefully welcome a baby, but realized later it was because screaming causes your body to tense up and therefore, delivering a baby to be much more difficult). I instantly regained the presence of mind I needed to deliver my baby.

 Hudson-230 Hudson-244

Hudson-247

The delivery took a little longer than my previous children, I assume because of the face up position. In two to three contractions, I pushed the head out, and almost felt for a moment I was done and could relax. Alas, the body had to follow! On the next contraction, I pushed out the rest of our baby, and just as the body was emerging, the baby turned! I can’t quite describe what a strange feeling it was to feel that little body spinning as the baby came out of me. Baby was brought to my chest and we were attended by loving hands.

 mom dad and hudson

We had not found out what sex our baby was, so one of the first things I did upon delivery was reach to feel what parts the baby had! Another boy! Number four! I had been so sure and convinced he was a girl for most of my pregnancy, so I was surprised to welcome another boy. We had already chosen the name Hudson, but didn’t decide on the middle name until the next day.

 Hudson-442-3279451478-O

Hudson David was born on April 25, 2014 at 8:47 am, weighing 6 lbs, 12 oz and measuring 20.5” long.

Hudson-324-3278922653-O Hudson-326-3278925703-O Hudson-321-3278921898-O Hudson-319-3278915619-O Hudson-312-3278903745-O Hudson-346-3278958071-O Hudson-371-3278991236-O Hudson-387-3279016214-O Hudson-399-3279034302-O Hudson-402-3279038261-O Hudson-410-3279049915-O Hudson-434-3279438998-O Hudson-446-3279459917-O Hudson-450-3279463346-O Hudson-464-3279489614-O

All pictures are courtesy of Karyn Carbone with In Bloom Photography. Images may not be used without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/06/30/home-birth-sunny-side-baby/

Jun 25

Legit Grain-Free {Paleo} Tortillas

 

grain-free tortillas

I’ve come up with some decent replacements for tortillas since going grain-free. We eat lots of lettuce-wrapped “tacos” and I occasionally make cauliflower wraps. Those options work and we enjoy them. But. I’ve really been wanting to try to make legitimate tortillas. Ones that taste good on their own and not just as a vehicle for their tastier contents.

Because these tortillas contain arrowroot powder (also known as arrowroot flour or starch), I hesitate to call them “paleo”, lest the paleo police slap a fine on me for calling arrowroot paleo.  However, I think the occasional use of arrowroot or tapioca starch is ok, as long as you’re not on a more restrictive diet like GAPS. Too much starch can feed back bacteria in your gut, but I think it’s okay from time to time.

I’ve been dreaming up ways I can make them, and apparently I’m not the only one! My friend Kimball of Heavy on Wholesome recently posted a picture of tortillas she had made and shared the ingredients with me. I tried a variety of combinations and tweaked the recipe until I was happy with it. Today, I made quesadillas with the tortillas and the family loved them! My two-year-old was sort of over the moon about them, as he’s never even had a quesadilla.

But the real test was whether the tortillas tasted good with butter and honey, one of my favorite snacks of all time. What’s that you say? That’s weird? Hm. You should try it.

No really. Try it:

Legit Grain-Free {Paleo} Tortillas
Yields 6
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
20 min
111 calories
13 g
0 g
6 g
2 g
1 g
61 g
397 g
0 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
61g
Yields
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
Calories from Fat 53
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
10%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 397mg
17%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup blanched almond flour (not meal)
  2. 3/4 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  4. 1 tsp. real salt
Instructions
  1. 1. Blend all of the ingredients in a blender, making sure to scrape the sides if need be so that the batter is smooth and not clumpy.
  2. 2. Heat a stainless steel skillet on low heat.
  3. 3. Spread butter in the skillet to prevent sticking. This is important. If you don't eat dairy, use your preferred oil (although I think the butter adds to the flavor, so if you can use it, do!).
  4. 4. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and smooth it out quickly with the edge/back of your scoop. It will begin cooking and thickening right away, but the batter is pretty forgiving and will let you continue to smooth it out for a bit.
  5. 5. Let the batter cook on the first side for 2-3 minutes before flipping, then cook on the second side for another 2-3 minutes. I smashed it down a bit with a slotted spatula to flatten in out more and squeeze out moisture as it cooked. I also flipped each tortilla back and forth a couple times to ensure thorough, even cooking. The key is to be sure the tortilla gets cooked in the middle or it becomes gummy. This is why it's important to cook it on low enough heat to not cook the outside too quickly.
beta
calories
111
fat
6g
protein
2g
carbs
13g
more
http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/
I am so excited thinking of all the ways I can use these! Fajitas are next on my list, as I bought my hubby a cool cast iron fajita skillet for father’s day.

For another great paleo recipe, check out my Paleo Chicken Enchiladas!

What are you excited to make with tortillas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/06/25/legit-grain-free-paleo-tortillas/

Jun 04

Holistic Circumcision: What it is and Why it Matters

holistic circumcision

A Personal Decision

Circumcision has become an extremely controversial topic in recent years.  There are some great perspectives out there on both sides, and I believe you can choose to circumcise or not and be ok, spiritually, emotionally and physically.  While I don’t personally feel that circumcision is necessary for Christians, as Christians are not obligated to uphold ancient Jewish laws and traditions as laid out in the old testament, I do think there are some considerations that might cause couples to feel circumcision is the right choice for their son.

There are reported health benefits of circumcision.  Because I generally don’t trust much from the mainstream medical community, it is hard for me to determine if I truly believe circumcision prevents disease.  I also find it difficult to accept that circumcision diminishes sexual pleasure for adult males because there is no way to physically test this theory, short of asking an intact man to experience intercourse, become circumcised, then have sex again and report back his findings.  That’s not likely to happen.  The most recent report (2012) of an AAP task force “found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.” (1)

My aim is not to help you to decide whether or not to circumcise.  There is plenty of good research to be found on the subject.  Whether families choose circumcision or not is a very personal choice and one that I think should be left up to each individual family (just as I think all decisions, medical or otherwise, should be left up to parents).  What I want to offer you is information on circumcision that is not routinely discussed: there is a gentler method!

Holistic Circumcision

What is holistic circumcision?  Dubbed “holistic” or “easy” by the mohels (Jewish professionals who specialize in the ceremony of circumcision; mohel is pronounced moyel) who perform them, this type of circumcision focuses on the family being present during the procedure, where the infant is attended by loving hands, laid gently on a pillow, where his comfort is of utmost consideration, and allowed to go to his mother’s breast following the procedure.

Routine Circumcision

  • In a doctor’s office or hospital
  • Parents generally not allowed to attend
  • Takes 20-40 minutes
  • Baby’s arms and legs are strapped down
  • Injections/other drugs are used

Holistic Circumcision:

  • Surrounded by loved ones
  • Held by loving hands
  • Performed often in the child’s home or another comfortable place
  • Takes only 10-20 seconds
  • No drugs or injections

Method of Procedure: Holistic vs Routine

Please note that I am not a medical professional and the following descriptions are my own, based on my observations and research.

During a routine circumcision, a doctor will use tools to clamp the foreskin while inserting another tool to separate it from the head of the penis.  The doctor will then cut the foreskin so that the head emerges, but the foreskin is still attached.  At this point, a metal or plastic device (called a “plastibell”) is used to gather up and clamp the foreskin away from the head of the penis.  The doctor will then cut the foreskin away in a sawing motion.  This process, again, can take 20-40 minutes and the parents are generally not allowed in the room to comfort their baby during the procedure.  Healing takes 5-7 days.

During a holistic circumcision, the mohel will use a tool to quickly separate the foreskin from the head of the penis (no prior clamping required), another tool, called a hemostat, is used to gather up the foreskin altogether so that it can all be cut at once, rather than in a sawing motion as in a routine circumcision.  The mohel will then, in one fluid, swiping motion, cut the foreskin away from the head of the penis.  The whole procedure takes only 10-20 seconds and the parents are encouraged to touch and talk to baby during the procedure.  Healing takes 24-48 hours.

If you’d like to watch the procedures for yourself, these two videos nicely reflect the differences in the two: (WARNING: these videos are graphic, especially the first.  I advise you to be certain you’d like to watch.  If you are adamantly against circumcision, I would suggest skipping the videos, as they will likely be upsetting to you, especially the first video.)

A routine circumcision

A holistic circumcision

*This video shows the Jewish ceremony known as Bris Milah.  My purpose for showing this video is so that the different circumcision technique can be observed.  For families who simply want to have their son circumcised, regardless of their religion, home or office visits are available from qualified mohels.

How to Find a Mohel

It should be noted that to have a holistic circumcision performed on your son, you need not be Jewish or have any specific religious reason for doing so.  Many families choose this gentler method simply because they feel it is better for their son.  If you would like to find a mohel to perform your son’s circumcision, you may be able to find one through your midwife or doctor (though a holistic practitioner is more likely to be in contact with a mohel).  Interestingly, many mohels can be found through a simple internet search using “holistic circumcision” or “how to find a mohel” (which brings up the site mohelusa.com, where can you search for a mohel by state).  I would recommend seeking out references before choosing a mohel.  I personally recommend Rabbi Michael Rovinsky.

Please Note:

I am well-versed in the history of circumcision, the differences between modern-day circumcision and the way it was originally performed, and modern-day circumcision’s roots in masturbation prevention.  Hateful comments, those bashing parents who choose to circumcise and foul language will not be tolerated.  My aim here is to provide information so that families who do choose to circumcise know what their options are.

Sources (1)

If you plan to have your son circumcised, have you considered a holistic circumcision over the routine procedure?

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Jun 02

What’s In Your Probiotic? + A Giveaway From Organic 3 Worth Over $100!

gutprogiveaway

On our journey to better health, from the GAPS diet to Paleo, to slacking off, one thing has remained constant as I’ve cared for my family: our need for a good probiotic.  We have tried many brands, and honestly sometimes have gotten a lesser quality at times based on our budget.  The problem with lesser quality probiotics is that most of them contain fillers or allergens.

Additional ingredients that many probiotics contain include:

  • stearic acid
  • maltodextrin
  • silica
  • fish
  • milk
  • soy
  • pectin
  • silicon dioxide
  • corn
  • and more

Just like in our food system, probiotic ingredients are sometimes difficult to pronounce and may have mysterious origins.  For those seeking to take therapeutic doses of probiotics, these ingredients can be harmful to healing, as many of them serve to further irritate the gut.  If you’re going to go through the expense and trouble of taking a probiotic, you should make sure it’s one that doesn’t do any harm along with any good it might be doing.

Bacterial Strains and Colony Forming Units

Not only are ingredients important when it comes to choosing a probiotic, but it’s important to look at the bacterial strains present, as well as how many colony forming units (CFUs) are in a dose.  While a good variety of bacterial strains are necessary, it’s also important to note which kinds of bacteria are in the probiotic, as some are not very compatible with the human gut, particularly compromised guts.

Equally important is how many CFUs are in each dose.  For therapeutic dosages, it is necessary to take at least 15-20 billion CFUs per day for an adult (the Healthy Home Economist has a helpful chart here which highlights suggested daily CFUs for all age groups).

The GUTPro Solution

The folks at Organic 3 recently let me try their specially-formulated probiotic, GUTPro.  I have been so incredibly impressed with the results I’ve seen in my family from this amazing supplement that I couldn’t wait to share it with you all- and give one of you a bottle!

GUTPro is one of the few probiotics on the market that have no added ingredients.  None.  If you purchase the powder alone, all you will find in the ingredients is the bacterial strains.  If you buy the capsules, you will get only the extra ingredients found in the vegetarian capsules, which the creators of GUTPro painstakingly chose through much research.

gutpro-powder-label

This formula has been so thoroughly and carefully researched and has been found to be effective by many who adhere to diets such as GAPS and SCD, and is recommended by many practitioners whose clients experience severe gut abnormalities. 

One bottle of this concentrated probiotic powder contains 240 servings of adult-sized therapeutic dosages of 25+ billion CFUs!  (If you’re giving it to a child, the dosage is half.)

Our Experience

We are loving using GUTPro and plan to purchase it when our current bottle runs out.  Why do we love it so much?  When we first began taking it (starting with small doses and working our way up to the therapeutic dose), we felt a sort of “clearing out” of our digestive systems.  While it was a gentle cleansing and we didn’t have any terrible die-off symptoms (likely thanks to the extensive healing we’ve already done through diet), everyone seemed to get “cleaned out” the first couple weeks on the probiotic.  We were even able to get off of a supplement we’d been taking to help keep everyone regular, as the GUTPro alone did the job.

The most exciting result of taking GUTPro occurred about six weeks after we began taking it.  My two-year-old’s mild eczema (that previously was only helped by completely eliminating dairy) vanished!  Because eczema is closely linked to food intolerances, I knew that healing his gut was in order to eliminate his eczema.  The GUTPro seems to have done the trick because not one hint of eczema has returned, another couple months later. 

My husband also did quite a bit of traveling this past month and was forced to eat foods he normally doesn’t for extended periods of time.  After returning home from his first trip, he was practically begging for his GUTpro!  I made sure to pack him some to take with him on the next trip and he thanked me for it!

Also, I should note that I was pregnant for the first six weeks or so that I took GUTPro and have no doubt that our little five-week-old has the healthiest gut of any of our babies so far.  He does. not. spit. up.  This is the hugest blessing!  I’ve never had a baby that didn’t spit up and I know it’s because he has such healthy gut flora (and because I eat better than I ever have before!).

After trying several different brands of probiotics, and now having been on GUTPro for several months, I can tell the difference!  Our family will be taking GUTPro for the foreseeable future!  The concentrated powder works well for us and one bottle will last many months for our whole family of five (the baby doesn’t take it).  If a single person is taking it, it will probably last them 6-7 months!  GUTPro is actually very cost effective if you break down the price per dose.

So, how would YOU like to win a bottle of GUTPro? 

The generous folks at Organic 3 have offered to send one winner a bottle of either GUTPro or GUTPro Infant (worth $99.95!), along with the measuring spoons needed for accurate dosing.

Simply complete the rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends June 6th, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.  Winner will be selected by rafflecopter.com and be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Naturalmommainprogress.com is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  I have represented the sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsor, in most cases, will ship their item to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you in obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.  The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge; no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  Facebook, Pinterest,Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.  By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone.  I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

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May 06

Grain-Free Spice Cake Recipe for GAPS and Paleo Diets

spice cake

I recently came across a recipe for a spice cake made with sourdough.  I was instantly reminded of a (much less healthy) spice cake I enjoyed as a kid and knew I had to create a grain-free version.  Immediately.  So I headed straight to the kitchen and came up with this yummy treat that the whole family loved!  If you want to enjoy a special treat on a limited diet such as the GAPS diet or a Paleo or grain-free diet, read on for the recipe:

Ingredients

Cake

1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup honey
5 eggs
1/4 cup butter, coconut oil or palm shortening
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Frosting

1/4 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup butter or ghee, melted
1/4 cup cream cheese (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

To make cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 

2. Line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper or grease with fat of choice. 

3. Combine dry ingredients, sifting the almond meal and coconut flour if clumps are present, into a large mixing bowl. 

4. Add melted butter, eggs and honey and mix thoroughly.

5. Bake for approx. 25 minutes.

For Frosting:

1. Blend milk and cashews together in a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix.

2. Once cashews are completely blended with the milk into a smooth, creamy mixture, add the remaining ingredients and blend once more until well-combined.

3. Once cake has been removed from the oven, you can spread the frosting on the warm cake if you prefer to eat the cake warm, or wait for it to cool if that is your preference.  Personally, I love a warm spice cake with a nice, cold cup of raw milk!

4. Sprinkle a very small amount of cinnamon over the cake for extra flavor and visual appeal.

 

What’s one of your favorite childhood treats you have made or would like to remake grain-free or in another healthy way?

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/05/06/spice-cake-recipe-gaps-paleo/

May 01

My Secret to a Stellar Postpartum Recovery

postpartum recovery

It’s been five days since I delivered our sweet little Hudson at home (more on that later!).  I can honestly say I have never felt as fantastic during the early post partum days as I do now, and I chalk it up to one thing I did during my pregnancy, which I have never done before.  During my pregnancy I consumed a sacred superfood rich in iron, b vitamins and folate.  These nutrients were easy for my body to absorb and use.

What was this wonder food that has me feeling so great and has helped me recover so well?  If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably already know I’m talking about liver!

Benefits of Eating Liver

Liver is such an amazing source of vitamins and minerals, and because it is animal-based (vs plant), they are highly available for our bodies to use.  As I highlighted in this post, liver is:

  • an excellent source of high-quality protein
  • nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A, all the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • one of our best sources of folic acid and a highly usable form of iron
  • a good source of trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium (liver is our best source of copper); an unidentified anti-fatigue factor; and CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • a good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.

Hemoglobin is Key

So how do all these wonderful nutrients equate to an easier postpartum recovery?  Well, the last time my midwife did bloodwork, she commented on how high my hemoglobin levels were, especially for someone pregnant with their fourth child.  It is normal for hemoglobin levels to decrease as pregnancy progresses, and it is common for mommas of multiple children to have lower hemoglobin levels.  Mine were well above what she normally sees for someone in my position.  At the time, I didn’t know what a huge blessing that would be in many ways!  I just knew that if I failed to take my liver, I became tired and run down.

What is hemoglobin exactly?  Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells which carries oxygen throughout your body via the blood.  Because I had such strong hemoglobin levels, I experienced very little blood loss on delivery of our baby, and have experienced very light postpartum bleeding as well.  Low hemoglobin levels contribute to anemia, which can be serious during pregnancy, and especially during birth.  Mommas presenting with low hemoglobin levels may not be candidates for home birth because of the likelihood of increased blood loss and hemorrhage.

My Stellar Postpartum Recovery

So what has my stellar postpartum recovery looked like?  Well, within these first few days, I’ve done light housework and food prep, been active and energetic (you know, for just having had a baby!) and have been (mostly) emotionally stable (I had a bit of a rough start yesterday but snapped out of it pretty quickly thanks to a few placenta pills- more on THAT later too!).  Because I lost so little blood and am hardly having any postpartum bleeding to speak of already on just day five, my body has less work to do to recover.  My blood stayed in my body instead of leaving and causing my body to have to build my blood supply back up.  Instead of being weak, my body has remained strong and better physically able to bounce back.

Eating Liver

What if you don’t like liver?  I don’t!  There’s no way I would eat liver every day.  So, I’ve done the next best thing: taking liver capsules.  It’s very easy to make your own liver capsules, and it makes eating liver as easy as swallowing a few capsules.  Follow my easy instructions here!  Or, if you find that making them yourself is unlikely, high-quality liver capsules can be purchased online.  I recommend these that come from free-range buffalo liver.  I took six per day during my pregnancy and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I’ve had four children now and can tell a huge difference in my recovery this time vs the previous three!  I hope that you find that by adding this simple supplement into your daily routine that you can also experience a stellar postpartum recovery!

What are your tips for having an easier postpartum recovery?

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/05/01/my-secret-to-a-stellar-postpartum-recovery/

Apr 29

Cesarean Sections: Leaving More Than Just a Physical Scar (One Woman’s Journey to a Better Way to Birth)

c sec pic

Image Credit

Today, I’m sharing a guest post from my dear friend Jess, who was kind enough to share her powerful story of two unnecessary c sections, and her subsequent choice to have a VBA2C!

April is Cesarean Awareness Month. The CDC reports that the United States had a c-section rate of 32.8% in 20121. The World Health Organization suggests a c-section rate no higher than 10% to 15%2. While a cesarean section can be a necessary and life-saving intervention, many c-sections are unnecessary.  Many women who have had these unnecessary c-sections struggle to find support and outlets that help them deal with the sadness they feel over their birth. They are afraid to reach out in fear that they will be judged as though the disappointment over their c-section is in any way an indication of how they feel about their baby.  Birth creates a new life as a tiny baby, but a mother is also born that day as well. She deserves to have her feelings validated.

New Life… and An Unplanned C Section

I became pregnant with my first child just 2 months after my husband and I married. Although we were young newlyweds, we were ecstatic at the thought of becoming parents. I had an easy and uneventful pregnancy. Finally the day came for us to meet our daughter. Light contractions started in the late morning on a Wednesday. At the hospital, I tolerated labor well as I was allowed to walk the halls with my husband. Then they told me I needed to get into bed so I could have the fetal monitor strapped on and an IV started. “Standard protocol”, they told me. Confined to a bed, my labor stopped progressing as fast as they thought it should be.

“We’re going to break your water to get things moving more quickly.”

I also had the privilege of being the lab monkey as they brought med students in to watch the procedure. I remember yelping for the doctor to stop as the amniohook was inserted during the height of a contraction, but my pleas were ignored. I dilated another centimeter or so, but they decided I still wasn’t progressing fast enough for their liking despite the fact that I and baby were doing fine. I was then notified of their next decision:

“Ok, we are going to start you on some Pitocin.”

The Pitocin made the contractions unbearable. I had wanted to avoid an epidural, but the pain overwhelmed me as I had no other coping mechanism confined as a prisoner to my bed.  After the epidural, I felt relief from the Pitocin-intensified contractions. I even slept in bursts interrupted by frequent vaginal examinations. The final time I was awakened, I was told that I was fully dilated and it was time for me to push. I felt absolutely no pressure or other sensation to guide me, so my pushing was directed by the nurse. I mostly remember how uncomfortable I was. I was flat on my back, my head elevated a bit, with a nurse holding my left leg and my husband holding my right. After an hour of pushing, I was told:

“I can see baby’s head, but it hasn’t slipped under the pubic bone. Baby is going to get distressed. I think we need to consider a c-section.”

Those words crushed my heart. I asked if the epidural could be turned off so I could try pushing in another position like squatting.

Their reply to my request was: “This is like squatting.” (Meaning them pushing my legs up to my chest as I laid on my back).

I was in labor for 14 hours and pushed for 1 hour. The official reason for the cesarean section listed on my hospital report was cephalopelvic disproportion and failure to descend past +1/+2 station.

I do not remember much about the operating room, just feelings and sounds: the clanging of metal instruments, banter of the staff, and wanting to move my arms which were spread out and strapped down. The hospital staff were the first people to see my daughter as she wss pulled from my sliced abdomen. My husband saw her as she was taken to be weighed and dressed. I was the last person in the room to see my baby. She was wrapped in a blanket and wearing a hat so all I could see was her perfect little face. I so badly wanted to stroke her velvety cheeks, to hold who I had waited 9 months to meet, but my arms were still strapped down. All I could do was tell her that I loved her and follow her with my eyes as my husband walked out of the operating room with her.

Recovering… and Another C Section

The physical recovery from the c-section was painful, but I was not prepared for the emotional pain. People told me “Be thankful that you have a healthy baby” and “Lots of people have c-sections nowadays”. I know they meant well, but it just made me feel crazy for being disappointed in my birth experience. I played the events over and over in my head, beating myself up for not being stronger and more assertive. I told myself things such as: “it was my fault”, “I should’ve refused”, “I was weak”, “I couldn’t even do what my body was designed to do”, and “I’m broken”. Thankfully, I did not have any issues with bonding, but breastfeeding was a struggle. Despite having home visits from a certified lactation consultant, my supply never increased enough to exclusively breastfeed. By the time I returned to work at 10 weeks post-partum, I had given up breastfeeding completely.

Fifteen months later we conceived another blessing. After my daughter’s birth, I had done a little research on VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Unfortunately, I still blindly trusted the authority of medical professionals. My husband received orders to a new duty station, and we moved to Texas from Wyoming when I was 28 weeks pregnant. I could not find a doctor who would support my desire to have a VBAC. In their eyes, I was damaged goods. An out-of-hospital VBAC wasn’t even a consideration for me back then. I didn’t even know it was a possibility! We scheduled a repeat c-section. I went into labor about a week before my scheduled c-section. I went to the hospital 5 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and with bulging waters. Since I was already in labor, I figured they would go ahead and allow me to deliver vaginally. I was told that was impossible. When I asked why, the sole reason they could give me was “because I had a prior c-section”.  My son was pulled from my opened abdomen just as his sister was 24 months before.

Doing Things Differently

In the years after my son’s birth, our family moved toward a natural lifestyle. We became the people that we always thought were so weird— we homeschool our children, follow a Paleo diet, and embrace holistic/alternative medicine. Learning new ways of doing things not only educated me, it empowered me. It gave me confidence to make my own decisions and not always rely on an “expert” or authority figure. We knew that any subsequent children the Lord blessed us with would be born at home or in a birthing center. 

Birth is a deeply personal experience, and each woman views her birth differently. I do not have the answers for everyone, but I can share some info that has helped me on this journey. Our third child is due in October, and I am planning a VBA2C!

  • I had to allow myself to mourn. A c-section was not the birth I had envisioned, and it took time for me to get over that loss.
  • I tried to focus on the beautiful gift of my child. Beating myself up over what I should have done differently only made me feel awful and wouldn’t change the outcome anyway.
  • I found so much healing through ICAN, the International Cesarean Awareness Network. The online support is amazing, but I highly recommend attending a local group meeting if that is a possibility for you. You can find out more about ICAN at www.ican-online.org
  • If you desire to birth your next child vaginally, begin research NOW. Interview care providers, even if you are not yet pregnant. Utilize VBAC information from websites such as ICAN and www.vbacfacts.com. The more you educate yourself, the more confident you will be.
  • I prayed. I asked God to help me through the disappointment I felt. I am now praying that He guides my decisions as I seek a provider who will support my desire to VBAC after two prior cesareans.

The most important thing I learned was that having a c-section did not make me any less of a woman. Realizing this has allowed me to extend grace to myself and not get fixated on what my birth HAS to be. Whether a child is born vaginally, by c-section, or in our heart via adoption, we are all mothers.

1 Martin, J. Births: Final Data for 2012, Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/delivery.htm

 Chaillet, N. Identifying barriers and facilitators towards implementing guidelines to reduce caesarean section rates in Quebec, Retrieved from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/10/06-039289/en/

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/04/29/cesarean-sections-leaving-just-physical-scar-one-womans-journey-better-way-birth/

Apr 25

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

books

I’m on. the. verge. of having baby number four, so if you’ve noticed it’s been quiet around here, that’s why!  But I wanted to share an awesome deal with you that’s only available for a few more days: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

 

This collection of over 80 ebooks, printable resources and other products (plus freebies!) is worth over $850!  For three more days, you can buy the bundle for just $29.97!

These ebooks can be printed out and bound, or you can purchase the Kindle version to have an electronic version at your fingertips.

So, what’s in the bundle?!

instant library

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has 77 ebooks that cover everything from home organization, marriage, faith, finances, natural health, homeschooling, healthy recipes, motherhood, pregnancy and more!

Plus:

plus

Freebies Include:

1. Dayspring – Free 10-pack of Cards ($19.99 value)

2. Hope Ink – Free $15 Store Credit + Free Art Print ($39 Value)

3. Redeeming Beauty Minerals – Choose any 3 eyeshadows for Free ($16.47 Value)

4. Dizolve – Free 64 Load pack of Laundry Detergent strips + 64 Free to a food bank ($25.98 Value)

5. Marie-Madeline Studio- Free $15 Store Credit ($15 Value)

6. TriLight Health – Free $15 Store Credit ($15 Value)

7. Fit2B Studio – Free 2-month online membership ($19.98 Value)

8. List Planit – Free 90-day site membership ($15 Value)

9. One a Month Meals – Free 2 Month Membership ($20 Value)

10. Bulk Herb Store – Free digital download of “Making Herbs Simple: Volume 2” ($14.95 Value)

 

To learn more about the bundle, follow this link or click the picture below:

why bundle

I hope you’ll find that this awesome deal will help you “feather your nest this spring”! 

Spring Blessings to you,

Jaclyn

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.naturalmommainprogress.com/2014/04/25/ultimate-homemaking-bundle/

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