img_0177_med_med_hrAs we venture into eating and cooking with greater awareness, from time to time we’ll come across ingredients that enhance the quality of our food experience.  This page is devoted to sharing and exploring these items.  Obviously, each person will need to use discretion in selecting certain ingredients, depending on dietary needs.  Feel free to add on to this list as you discover new items.



submitted by Cheri Smilanick

I love all things coconut. Coconut flakes, coconut butter/manna/concentrate (different words for the same thing), shredded coconut, coconut milk, even coconut flavored La Croix sparkling water…but most of all coconut oil. The possibilities are endless with coconut oil. It is nutritious AND delicious. It is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Yes, it is saturated fat. Saturated fat is not the enemy it was once made out to be. Trans fats and highly processed, man-made fats are the ones to avoid.

Coconut oil has been studied to show that the high lauric acid content of coconut oil is beneficial in attacking viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. It has been shown to aid in weight loss. It has been known to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and possibly prevent it. I know that for a friend of my grandmother’s, this proved to be true. There are several other health problems that it has been known to improve or cure.

For more detailed information on the above, check the following links:

This post has a whopping 333 uses for coconut oil along with an in depth overview:
There are many manufacturers of coconut oil. The most pure option is to get organic virgin unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined is preferable, but for neutral flavor and no hint of coconut, expeller-pressed or organic refined might be better for some uses and palates.

Known stores that carry organic virgin unrefined coconut oil:

Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods
and health food stores

Brands that I’ve used personally are:

1)    Wilderness Family Naturals – I’ve used both the certified organic expeller-pressed coconut oil and their cold pressed. They have small jars all the way up to 5 gallon buckets. Their quality is top notch; they are still run by the original owners and have great customer service.


2)   Garden of Life Virgin Coconut Oil – This is a quality coconut oil that I have used.

3)    Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – It’s not as perfect as the others, but at $5.99/jar, it’s a good option.

4)    Nutiva also has a good reputation. Costco now carries their Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in the 78 oz. size for around $22.


Here are some of the many uses for coconut oil that I have had great success:

1)    Replace unhealthy “vegetable” oils with coconut oil in all cooking and baking

2)    Add to smoothies

3)    Add to coffee

4)    Use it to heal burns, insect bites and cuts (first-hand experience for all)

5)    Use it as a sunscreen

6)    Use it as a moisturizer – face and body

7)    Use it as a cleanser / makeup remover

8)    Use it in place of shaving cream and follow up as an after shave

9)    Use it instead of eye cream

10)  Coat the inside of your nostrils when it’s dry or if you have nosebleeds

11)  Use it as a carrier oil for essential oils

12)  Use it as a deep conditioner for your hair

13) Use it to tame flyaway hair

14)  Use it to moisturize leather

15)  Use it to season cast iron pots and pans

16)  Use it to pop popcorn (only non-GMO kernels, please)

17)  Use it as a nail oil instead of the over-priced tiny bottles from the salon

18)  Whip it to make a coconut oil body butter

19)  Use it with a bit of baking soda as an exfoliator

20)  Can be used as deodorant – I have tested it with baking soda and it does work…but it does not prevent perspiration

21)  Use to remove ink pen, markers, paint, etc. from a child’s legs, arms, face

There are likely more, but this is my main list. I know from a few friends that it increased their milk supply while breastfeeding.
I highly recommend adding coconut oil to your daily routine!


submitted by Carrie Marrill

image-6_med-2_med_hrSuddenly my happy nursing 9-day-old son turned into an uncomfortable non-sleeping ball of pain. Docs suggested possible protein allergy, colic and acid reflux. The doctors recommended I stop breastfeeding after I had tried an “elimination diet” with no success. He went on special formulas and numerous medications. NOTHING worked – hardest thing we’ve ever had to go thru, we cried everyday for our little guy. In total he was sleeping 2.5 hours the whole day, the rest  of the day he was screaming in pain. Went to see a gastroenterologist, got him on compounded Prilosec and tried Elecare and Nutramigen. The formulas made him scream after each feeding and caused 5 days of constipation which resulted in green kale smoothy poop. Needless to say we were at our wits end.

I had heard from numerous older people who had tried goats milk when they couldn’t breast feed. I knew that proteins in goat and sheep milk are smaller like human milk, unlike cow’s milk proteins (which are in all formulas) are larger and harder for some bodies to digest.  I finally took matters into my own hands and did research online about homemade goats milk formula and got him sleeping on a RES-Q wedge (which I learned about from my sister-in-law, doc had never heard of it!). I use the recipe on Dr. Sears’ website and combined it with blogs of other mothers who had done the same (look up homemade goat milk formula online – best one is she was really helpful). I use the Meyenberg powdered goat milk (don’t use the evaporated cans – not consistent) and amend mine with1 tsp virgin organic coconut oil (largest concentration of lauric acid found in coconut oil, besides breast milk.), 1/2 tsp organic blackstrap molasses (it contains significant amounts of  B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and aids in good poops) and organic brown rice syrup (for sweetness and carbs). I use warm water to mix it all in a vitamix blender, an immersion blender works well too (a reg. blender does not work as well because of the warm water), let cool before you refrigerate. AND, unlike formula this stuff smells and TASTES good, like breast milk!

image-3_med-2_med_hrThis mix makes 36 oz which can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. I fill all my bottles and have them ready in the fridge to reheat when I need them.  After the first feeding I could tell the difference, he did NOT scream!!! and he slept and pooped the next day. We felt like we had met our baby for the first time – he is big (95%) and happy and can sleep on his back without the wedge.

Make sure to supplement with a non-dairy non-soy probiotic (RAW probiotics makes a powder for babies, you can find at most health food stores, I add this to his warmed milk or applesauce once a day). I also give a multi-vitamin that has Vit. D, Iron and Folic Acid (these are the three things they worry most about the goat milk lacking – D-Vi-Sol can be found at most drug stores or you can use a powdered one found at Whole Foods).

He is now 6 months old and has had a blood test to make sure everything is functioning properly and all is as it should be! I am sure it’s a combo of drugs and milk working effectively but I am so thankful I went with my mommy instinct and took control of the situation. I know docs have the best intentions but they are guessing as much as we are in how to treat these uncomfortable babies. Thankfully, my pediatrician has an open mind and has been on board but the specialist looked at me like I was poisoning my baby and suggested I go back on the Elecare.  I politely told her that is not an option.