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Featured, Healthy Living

Warm Kids?!

May 13, 2015

Are your kids warm enough? It’s kind of a nutty question in May, right? Well, maybe not. There seems to be some lively weather happening these days!

In Michigan we tend to have a big, “Whew!” as June draws near, pulling out the summer gear for at least a few months. Yet here at Indigo Forest we’re still getting a steady stream of customers with sore throats, coughs & colds as the weather rapidly shifts between the low 40’s & mid-80’s F in just the last week alone.

Old midwives from England once shared that if you kept your neck warm, it almost didn’t matter about wearing a hat.   Spring in Michigan is exactly what they were talking about! How about a cool bandana, a favorite scarf, the ‘turtle’ cut off an old turtleneck for the hard-playing kiddos, or even thin wool balacalva’s that cover those sensitive lymph nodes, ears & necks?

The last couple of years have brought extreme weather throughout the country and around the world; locally we’ve had extended power outages right at the coldest part of the year. Summer is EXACTLY the time of year to creatively outfit your family with warm layers for all season!   Look for thin base first layers to the heavier warmer outer layers at your local church sales, rummage sales, garage sales and mom-to-mom sales.  Mix silk, wool, fleece & synthetic.  Cotton is great for summer, but can be dangerous in the winter when it doesn’t insulate if damp and takes too long to dry.   ALWAYS pick up the soft European wool/silk long johns if you’re lucky enough to find them anywhere, anytime! We sell it new, and it’s worth the $30-50 a piece, but we never pass up the chance to also keep kids cozy with used versions these priceless items too. We’ve found that warm hats on infants seem to cure the hiccups, warm bellies seem to have less constipation, and warm bodies bring pink healthy cheeks. It’s hard to have too many mittens, wool socks or rain gear!

And for the creative among you – WHAT about the bunny soft cashmere sweater for $5 at the Salvation Army, a weird cowl neck in that crazy peach color? Cut off the arms, run it through the hot cycle of your washer to mildly felt it up just a bit, and you have the basis of a fabulous sleep bag for your infant or toddler! Or a man’s old wool sweater with elbow patches, could those long arms become the base of your preschooler’s wool trousers over tights?

Word all over is that climate change is going to bringing us ever more extreme weather in coming years. Now’s the time to stock up for great outdoor fun year round (1000hoursoutside) and family safety regardless of what the weather might throw at us!

Featured, Healthy Living, Playful Families

An Authentic Gift Giving Season

December 12, 2014

What does an ‘Authentic Gift Giving’ season look like?   Indigo Forest recently found the words for our vision – “The Learning Center for Authentic Living,”, and sustainable gift-giving was our topic last week at our “Natural Health Club Class.”  When we recently started feeling bullied (and financially stressed) by our usually-thoughtful kids’ expectations, here are some of the ideas we started exploring:

Give experiences over stuff.  One year we received a family gift of tickets to the traveling Broadway “Mary Poppins” play, allowing us to dress-up, snack in the city, and text pictures of ourselves next to the fancy gold gilt of the Theatre.  A lifetime memory!   Experiences could range from taking them out to eat, the elderly might especially appreciate time with you as much as the meal, to a ‘movie date night.’  I took my theater-enchanted teen to a Les Miserable showing at 10 pm on Christmas Day – it was immediate, personal, and felt ‘Very Important.’

Family adventures that bring year-long pleasures – Depending on your budget, giving a day or annual family pass to the local Children’s Museum can be a treat for cash-strapped families, especially as many museums have reciprocal admittance to other museums all over the country,stretching summer vacation fun.   Our kids think that going swimming in the winter is a hoot (since it has to be indoors here in Michigan), so in the past they’ve loved presents of swimming lessons, Rec center passes, and an overnight at the near-by indoor water-park.

Family Gifts – make family gifts of larger items such as wood block sets, hammocks and board games .  One Easter an Indigo Forest customer made a Basket for her entire family consisting of seeds, little shovels, and spring oriented items.

Minimize electronics & short-lived plastic toys and give toys that encourage exploring and learning –  wooden toys (especially for the younger set) can become family heirlooms, and look for items that can share their value over years or lifetimes.   Things like quality books, pocket knives, puzzles, craft sets, or handheld looms might hold their place longer.   How about a scavenger hunt poem – one that takes the kids all over the house or property, maybe takes them to a relative with a historical family question, makes them find a gift from last year, an item to share and give, or a photo of someone they love?  The list is endless – just think – “What memory do I want to create?  What gift of history or love or interaction do I want them to have?   Or how much time do I want them to be busy?  Just kidding.

Make gifts – scented lotions, essential oil sprays, handmade items that are knit or sewn, or simple home-made food like granola in a mason jar with a bow. It’s easy to adapt Resale Shop finds for the kids’ dress-up trunk!  Our boys (yes boys) gave knitted book marks years ago that are still being used, but most popular with Grandma were the felt hearts sewn by preschoolers with bright embroidery floss & stuffed with wool.

Coupons –   One of THE most popular traditions at our house for years!  Our coupons have included a ‘No thank you chore’, a massage for back, feet, etc (usually for bedtime), parent date, “I’ll do your dishes”, one piece of chocolate at the downtown chocolate shop,  ‘have your friends over’,  ‘I’ll play whatever game you want all afternoon’, laser tag with friends, movie night, house-cleaning, the stay up all night New Year’s Eve date (10 yr olds), and once I gave the 9 year enamored with avocado sushi a home ‘sushi night’ every Tuesday for 3 months!  Don’t be afraid to add in rules, at our house they have to be in ‘good standing’ to go get chocolates, and give a half hour notice so we can fit in the bedtime back rubs.

One year we gave their auntie a ‘Date-a-Month’ for the coming year, which included bowling, swimming, games & chili, sledding fest, summer hike & picnic, monopoly Saturday, and downtown explore with ice cream.

Something to wear, something to read, something to play with, something they need.  This just about covers it, doesn’t it?  I’m trying to get up the nerve to scale back to this simple approach.

Don’t be afraid to buck the ‘Amazon List’ trend with your kids and the relatives- the swimming lessons worked because we got the relatives to each contribute the value of one lesson instead buying a ‘thing’, so the kids got a full series of classes (& we then used free Family passes each Friday), stretching the whole experience throughout the winter.  Kids had fun, got safer from their gained skills, and there was nothing to store!

How do you celebrate your family, or your religious expression, in this season, and is your spirit of giving reflecting your spiritual intent, whatever that might be? 

Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Playful Families, Remedies & Supplements

Getting Kids to “Take Their Vitamins”

October 23, 2014

How the heck do you get in all these good-for-you supplements into your kiddos?

You may have heard that cod liver oil will help their teeth & immune system, or that magnesium will help them sleep?  But only if you get it in them!  Here’s a few tricks we’ve come up with after a decade with an ultra-picky kid who can’t swallow pills:

Tiny glasses EVERYTHING is more fun (and manageable) in a tiny shot glass! You can almost always get the kids to drink from a little glass, because it’s one big gulp. In there, mothers have crammed a bit of juice, a drop of natural iodine, probiotics, liquid B vitamins, herbal tinctures, few drops of trace minerals, and the crowning touch – a Tb of Cinnamon Fermented Cod Liver Oil.   WaLaa! Stir with the little baby spoon right before swallowing, and have a chaser ready. These glasses are super cheap (under $8) at your local TJMaxx; or even more fun, get a special tourist one when you visit the top of the Sears Tower, and distract them with fun vacation memories.

Tea Party EVERYTHING is more fun with a little tea party! This is effective when you are managing a sick kid – the one who is getting dehydrated and needs to be persuaded to sip fluids, or the one who has diarrhea and needs to slow down and sip fluids.   Tiny teacups, refilled endlessly by the cute little teapot, will engage the younger set (boys and girls), who don’t notice they are drinking slurp after slurp of something good for them. For those of you into the gut-healing benefits of bone broth, don’t hesitate to put it in a play teapot.   Just make sure that your set is FOOD SAFE!

Spoonful of Honey  EVERYTHING is better with a spoonful of honey, Mary Poppins wasn’t kidding! And luckily for the children over one year old, the wonderful benefits of raw honey are endless – immune boosting and packed with enzymes, vitamins, & wonderfulness. It can even be used by itself (but don’t tell the kids you ‘want’ them to take it, reluctantly ‘let’ them have it….. Parenting is mostly SALES! J)

Straws – EVERYTHING is more fun with a straw!  Get some for home to mix it up, and a glass straw can add that extra special touch while also protecting them from the nasty phytoestrogens that leech into food from the ubiquitous plastic straws.

Bath tubs – EVERYTHING is more fun in a bath!   A child happily playing in the tub while waiting for dinner will often wolf down the carrot or celery stick they were avoiding, drink a little fruit smoothie concoction (hiding elderberry syrup & probiotics as part of your stay-healthy-naturally routine), or drink down the tiny glass of goodness so they can then play pouring games with it. Teapots work here too, just stay present with your calm, happy fun voice until the goodness is in them, and then you leave the big-enough kids alone to their pouring fun while you pull together dinner. Have several big towels packed on the floor at the edge of the tub, and don’t get grumpy. There IS going to water OUTSIDE the tub!

Bribes – Yeah, really. But for something you want too! A chart with a nice big square for each day, or each dose.   It’s a RULE that taking the vitamins or remedies must be hassle-free to count for the big prize, which might be full attention on playing a game with them, a special walk in your favorite park, a bedtime footrub, or yes, a stop at the neighborhood chocolate shop where they can spend way too much time in the serious work of picking ONE chocolate (or maybe two if there was no hassle not even once!)

A few giggles along the way make the super-nutrients go down! Just ask Mary Poppins!



Healthy Living, Playful Families, Remedies & Supplements

Ice Cream Cones for Summer Breakfast!

July 16, 2014

Hot summer days sometimes wear down mothers’ enthusiasm for cooking and cleaning up yet another meal.  Here’s a breakfast we invented last week that quickly won 4 stars from the boys!  How about Breakfast Ice Cream Cones?!  Super nourishing (don’t tell, these ‘good fats’ really help their brains & immune system function well), really tasty, and the kids love ‘breaking the rules!’   What’s not to love?

It DOES involve a quickie ice cream maker – Cuisinart has a couple of great versions, no salt and no mess, done in 10-20 minutes!

We keep a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge (hence completed in 10 minutes because it’s already chilled).

1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk (Native Forest is our favorite)
1/4 cup Elderberry syrup
1 cup or more berries of your choice (get inspired to pick your own!)
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 TB RAW honey (complete vitamins, minerals & enzymes) or real maple syrup (good minerals, better flavor)

Whip it all up with your hand blender in a stainless or glass bowl (eliminating xenoestrogen contamination), pour into the pre-chilled ice cream chamber, and turn it on until it is frozen into that great homemade ice cream texture.

Serve in Gluten-free sugar cones (why avoid wheat)

And be THE most popular parent in town!  (Make enough for you too!)

Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

Spring Cleaning Our Bodies Too!

April 23, 2014

 Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, whether it’s a dusty house, crammed closets, or our bodies. There are many different ways to cleanse the body, how about an annual parasite cleanse?   Sounds yucky to imagine that it’s needed, yet most pet owners worm their animals as a matter of routine, so why don’t we worm our selves?  Our ‘modern lifestyles’ have not necessarily relieved humans from opportunistic parasites, they’re fairly common as you’ll see below.   The “sensational” ‘Dr. Oz says, that about 90 percent of humans will have a problem with parasites in their lifetime’, and “approximately 1 out of 3 Americans is infected with an intestinal parasite at any given time.”  Spring is a natural time to take action!

Coming in contact with  parasites is pretty common, they may be contracted by:

  • Consuming fresh, but not properly cleaned produce, pork (even extremely well cooked!), raw fish (sushi), undercooked meats (mostly factory raised), contaminated water, and living with or caring for animals.
  • Living with someone who has parasites, living with animals in your home, or walking barefoot in a house in which animals range freely.
  • International travel, especially to Third World nations, “Travelers Diarrhea”, & using public restrooms.
  • Amalgam (mercury) fillings can lower immunities in all areas, including against parasites, making one more vulnerable to a sustained invasion.
  • Playing in & handling dirt, neglecting to properly wash hands, and then placing fingers in the mouth (pin worms especially.)
  • Certain insects can transmit parasites by biting and infecting their victim.

Many symptoms or illnesses may indicate a parasitic infection, such as multiple food allergies, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, gas, symptoms of IBS, diarrhea, itching around the anus especially at night, grinding teething, drooling while sleeping, depression, fatigue, apathy, sleepless, trouble falling asleep, rashes, hives, rosacea, or eczema, pain or aching in the bones, joints, or muscles rheumatoid arthritis, frequent bladder infections, asthma, wheezing or coughing followed by vomiting, heart palpitations, itchy soles of the feet, birth defect, infertility, preterm labor, type 1 diabetes in children, cancer, facial swelling around the eyes, lymphatic congestion, seizures, gluten intolerance or celiac like symptoms, anemia, and frequent or unexplained chronic illnesses. Children who pick their nose and/or itch their anus are especially likely to need a good spring cleaning!

“Some (parasites) consume your food, leaving you hungry after every meal and unable to gain weight. Others feed off of your red blood cells, causing anemia. Some lay eggs that can cause itching, irritability, and even insomnia. If you have tried countless approaches to heal your gut and relieve your symptoms without any success, a parasite could be the underlying cause for many of your unexplained and unresolved symptoms.”*

Steps to Eliminating or Preventing Invasion

Keep things moving!  Maintaining healthy bowel transit time is a huge aspect of keeping parasites at bay. The average American’s transit time, the amount of time it takes the food you consume to exit the body, is about 96 hours!  A normally healthy length of time for food to exit the body is generally thought to be about 12-24 hours, which moves out most parasites before they can get a foothold.    For instance,  the female Trichinella spiralis, a parasite commonly found in pork (even organic pork), can lay up to 10,000 eggs a day, and these spores have an incubation time to hatch of about about 36 hours.   Once hatched, these parasites begin to reproduce and take hold in the body, sometimes even migrating into bones & brain tissue.  Yes, this is a very unappetizing subject!

Some Natural Approaches: Daily use of probiotics – the “beneficial bacteria”, eating ‘live cultured food’, taking magnesium citrate supplement, or slippery elm bark can all naturally assist the body in maintaining a  healthier transit time.

Limit Sugar Intake  A little here, and a little there…it all adds up! Whether it’s organic sucanat (a healthier form of cane sugar), Wonder Bread (refined complex carbohydrate, which the body breaks down into sugar), delicious Yummy Earth Lollipops (the most amazing lollipops on the planet) or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup (one of the worst forms of sugar), sugar is sugar. Although some forms of sugar such as maple syrup, raw honey, and molasses have some benefits, they too need to be limited. Parasites, and other unwanted pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and mold/fungus thrive in a sugared body. It suppresses immune function, and creates pH imbalances that are hospitable for the proliferation of parasites. Not to mention, it fuels them as well – if you want them to leave, stop offering them a comfortable couch & three square meals a day (not to mention dessert)!

Don’t Get to Cozy with Pets – especially dogs! We all love our furry little (or big) friends, BUT.  Sleeping with, sharing blankets, or allowing your pets to lick your face, and failing to exercise  proper hygiene like washing your hands after handling or petting  are all easy ways to contract parasites.  Yes, even if you think your dog is ‘clean!’

Wash Your Produce – Taking the time to properly wash fresh produce can significantly minimize your exposure to food born bugs. Use diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide or Super Veggie Wash (both carried at yours truly Indigo Forest.)

Silica is a magnetic mineral referred to as the “surgeon without a knife”. Silica will either help the body expel (“push-out”) or dissolve, and breakdown unwanted masses, such as a splinter, tumors, or infections, or unwanted parasites. Used in a dilute form, know as a homeopathic, as well as building your actual silica stores in the body are both excellent ways of utilizing this minerals powerful properties.

How To Get Silica : Consume the skins of properly washed produce, shavegrass-horsetail (herbal tea), HSNW (herbal caps from Natures Sunshine Herbal), use diatomaceous earth*, a silica rich compound that chews up unwanted critters. Potentiate your bodies use of silica by taking the cell salt silica 6x, or high potency homeopathic.

*Always use food grade Diatomaceous earth, and be cautious not to inhale it, if inhaled it can cause great harm to the lungs. Also, some studies suggest that people whom suffer from kidneys disease may want to avoid excessive amounts of silica in this form. In the case of Kidney disease, cell salt silica 6x may be your best option.

Black Walnut Hulls Extract/Capsules Black walnut hulls are a general anti-parasitic remedy, especially for parasitic worms. They also support thyroid function and the proper formation of tooth enamel. If you are pregnant or nursing consult a trained Herbalist.

How To: Use Black Walnut Extract or capsules through Natures Sunshine. Follow directions for dosage.

Di-gize Essential Oil Blend with Clove Essential Oil   Di-gize is a lovely blend used for digestive complaints that range from heartburn/acid reflux, to constipation, diarrhea, gas, colic, and intestinal parasites. Clove essential oil has been used historically for diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and helps ease toothaches. If you are pregnant or nursing consult a trained Aromatherapist.

How To: Dilute oils with a base of almond, grape seed, or coconut oil. Oils can be layer on the bottoms of the feet, or over the belly. Per drop of essential oil, use about a nickel size amount of base oil or more depending on sensitivity. Apply Di-gize, then layer or clove (DILUTE). In-general, use 1 drop of essential oil per 70 pounds of weight.

Herbal Pumpkin by Nature’s Sunshine Great for getting rid of intestinal worms.

Symptoms Specific Homeopathic and Isopathics Homeopathics are a great tool. They can complement herbal therapies, to expedite the process of eradicating parasites, as well as alleviating uncomfortable symptoms. Because homeopathics are symptom specific, you will need to find the one that fits your situation best – search online, stop in at Indigo Forest to use on of our references, or purchase a homeopathic book, we’re glad to help you learn.

Homeopathics often indicated for parasitic conditions: Cina, Sabadilla, Nat Phos, Podophyllum, Indigo, Cuprum oxidatum nigrum, Spigelia, Stanum, Filix mas, Santoninum, Teucrium, and Chelone glabra.


*This is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. We are not doctors.  Please use common sense, and seek professional help If you have a medical issue.