Best Wellness Tip EVER!

Kefir is an amazing living food that provides multiple benefits especially when ingested every day. Kefir is known to play a curative role in diabetes, cancer, autism, gastritis, IBS, arthritis, and many more. In fact regularly ingesting kefir might be the single most beneficial thing you can do to ensure wellness!

Kefir has the benefits of a pro-biotic since it is rich in vitamins, minerals and polysaccharides, with a diversity of bacteria, yeast and mould which are beneficial to the human micro-biome.

Kefir provides over 70 different pro-biotic species which keep harmful bacteria in check, help bring healing to the gut, and enhance immune function. Even people who are lactose intolerant are able to consume kefir because the live organisms consume the lactose leaving it 97% lactose free.

Making kefir is simple – far easier than making yogurt – but you can use it in all the same ways as yogurt, or just drink it straight to make sure you get the daily benefits. Add to soup, stews, waffles, breakfast, salad dressings, etc.

Your kefir grains are often dehydrated for travel and delivery.

  • To revitalize your kefir grains, place in a glass jar and pour in milk – leaving about a 1 inch space at the top. Cover with a piece of paper towel held by a rubber band. Choose the size of jar based on the amount of kefir you desire. A bigger jar of milk will take longer than a smaller jar.
  • Leave the jar sitting on the kitchen counter. Kefir is ready when you shake the jar and it jiggles. The first batch from dried grains may take slightly longer, but generally kefir is ready in 24 – 36 hours.
  • If you leave kefir for too long – several days – it can separate into ‘curds’ and ‘whey’. It is still fine to consume, just mix. Or if you like it thick you can pour off the whey, or use it in soup or baking, and have a thick creamy kefir.
  • Once kefir is firm you can remove the grains and begin your next batch.
  • To remove the grains you can try with a plastic fork, simply stir around and see if you find the firm kefir grains. This works if the grains are near the top. Other times it is more difficult to find and you need to work the kefir through a plastic Place a large funnel into a clean glass jar then put the plastic colander on top. Pour in the kefir in batches and use a spatula to push it through the holes. You will know when you find the grains because they will not go through the holes!
  • If you don’t have time to strain, but the kefir is firm, place the jar ‘as is’ into the refrigerator. It will be fine for many days like that, until you have a chance to strain it.
  • If you know you are going to be away from home for a week or more, or you just want a bit of a break from making kefir, you want to keep your kefir grains alive. Place the kefir grains in a jar, pour milk just to cover, put on a top and keep it in the refrigerator. It will hibernate. When you are ready to make your next batch of kefir, pour out the milk, rinse the grains in spring/filtered water or fresh milk, then place in a glass jar and start at the top. Never expose your kefir to tap water than contains fluoride.
  • When kefir grains have multiplied they will work faster in producing the thick kefir. You can divide the grains, share some of your grains with a friend, add them to smoothies, freeze some in milk, or dry them. To share fresh kefir grains simply put them in a jar of milk, or pure water if they won’t be there for too long. The milk provides food to the living organisms.
  • To dry them, after straining rinse with pure water or fresh milk, place them on a piece of parchment paper. It will dry in a few days. Dried kefir grains can safely be mailed in an envelope so you can share with family or friends far away!

Historically, kefir grains originate in the Caucasus Mountains between Russian and Georgia where the local people have consumed kefir and experienced remarkable health throughout history. “The census of 1970, revealed that 5,000 centenarians then lived in the Caucasus.”[1] Because of the beneficial probiotics in kefir, regular “consumption reinforces the intestinal flora, helps with digestion, restores the digestive system and strongly stimulates the immune system.” [2]

Kefir grains were considered part of the family’s wealth and the tribe’s wealth and they were passed on from generation to generation. For centuries the people of the northern Caucasus enjoyed this food without sharing it with anyone else. Other peoples occasionally heard strange tales of this unusual beverage, which was said to have magical properties. Marco Polo mentioned kefir in the chronicles of his travels in the East.[1]

The BIG Bonus!

From my reading, it would seem that homemade kefir made using raw cow’s milk provides a good source of GCMAF, which has been used to treat and heal autism and other serious brain disorders. GCMAF is a harmless and naturally occurring glycoprotein with a profound potential to heal. It is produced in human breast milk and plays a significant role in innate immunity. All higher order animals have this glycoprotein which functions to transport Vitamin D to all the cells in our body, including our immune cells. Lack of this protein causes immune suppression.

Becky Hastings, a wife, mom, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus, health promoter, breastfeeding counsellor helping moms for 22+ years, and someone who seeks to research, understand and share truth so people can make wise choices in our crazy mixed up, deceived world! Sometimes I share recipes and homespun teaching videos.

[1] Sharla. Kefir – The Mystical Side. Web. 11 Aug. 2017. .

[2] Sekkal-Taleb, Nezha. “Chemical and microbiological composition of Kefir and its natural benefits.” Mediterranean Journal of Biosciences1.4 (2016): 174-83. Web. 11 Aug. 2017. .

Straining Milk Kefir Video

I just made a homespun video to show you how easy it is to strain out your milk kefir grains. This must be done after every batch of kefir so that you can make another batch! The kefir grains will multiply over time so that you will be able to share the joys of kefir making with your friends.

I’ve posted other information on kefir, including some of my favorite recipes:

I prefer to use local jersey raw milk because there are many benefits. Recently I have learned that one of the benefits is that it contains GCMAF. Do some research on the benefits!

Many people who have been diagnosed with CDif or other serious intestinal infections are looking for kefir. You can become a source of kefir grains as you spread the wonder of kefir!

Let me know if you have questions about kefir!

Becky Hastings, a wife, mom, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus, health promoter, breastfeeding counsellor helping moms for 22+ years, and someone who seeks to research, understand and share truth so people can make wise choices in our crazy mixed up, deceived world! Sometimes I share recipes and homespun teaching videos.

 

 

Granola – How to Make Your Own

Standing in the cereal aisle of any major food store can be an overwhelming perplexing experience, especially for those of us who aim to choose healthy non-chemical laden food for our families. There are many ‘natural’ cereals to choose from, so we begin reading the labels. What do we find?

soy, canola oil, other unhealthy oils, non-pronounceable ingredients, lots of sugar, preservatives.

Finding healthy granola seems easy – until you start reading the labels. What is the answer? Is there a brand I can trust?  If you finally find a mostly natural granola with a short list of mostly acceptable ingredients, when you look at the price, and work out how many servings it will give your family, you find another long pause as you consider the economics and your budget. Such is the stress of grocery shopping with health and economy in mind.

Making your own ‘fast foods’ for breakfast can be extremely easy, very satisfying, and by far your healthiest option. If you have children, you are BUSY, but one of your best time-saving resources will one day be your children! Teach your children to make this recipe for the whole family.

I’ve written the following recipe in three versions: small, medium and large to make it easy to double or triple the recipe depending on your need.

Some notes about the ingredients:

  • In order to ensure that we are not consuming large amounts of glyphosate (from Roundup) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND choosing organic options for all ingredients. Buying organic also sends a message to retailers, suppliers, growers, etc. that we want healthy food without harmful chemicals. Eventually, if enough people vote with their wallets, price reductions and increased availability will follow.
  • Local, raw honey is the healthiest sweetener, but if you have a large family and a small budget, you may opt to choose organic sugar. Honey is generally considered to be sweeter, so you may need slightly more sugar to reach your desired sweetness.
  • The addition of water (of course non-fluoridated, pure water is the ONLY option you would ingest, how to find it is the topic of another blog) to the liquid ingredients stretches the recipe to make it go further, but you can reduce the amount of water and increase the healthy oils and sweetener for a more indulgent granola.
GRANOLA from the Hastings Family Kitchen
SMALL MEDIUM LARGE
½ – ¾ cup 1 – 1 ½ cup 1 ½ – 2 ¼ cup Honey (or slightly more organic brown sugar)
2/3 cup 1 1/3 cup 2 cups Coconut oil, butter or a combination
2/3 cup 1 1/3 cup 2 cups Water
1 Tablespoon 1 ½ T 2 T Molasses
½ teaspoon 1 tsp 1 ½ tsp Vanilla
Combine these ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves fully. Remove from heat. Add 1 tsp vanilla.
In a huge bowl combine:
1 box (500 g) 2 boxes (1 kg) 3 boxes (1.5 kg) Oats
1 tsp 1 ½ tsp 2 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch Pinch + Pinch ++ Salt
½ cup 1 cup 1 ½ cup Unsweetened Coconut such as Bob’s Red Mill
Optional:

Seeds: hemp hearts, sunflower, pumpkin, and/or sesame. You can also add dried fruit like raisins, and/or any nuts you like. You can add them either before or after cooking, but raisins are usually nicer to add after. I don’t add any raisins or nuts because of different individual preferences (ie some family members complain!). Add nuts and raisins to individual servings, as desired.

METHOD:

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients well. Pour the liquid mixture over and stir thoroughly. Distribute into deep baking trays – 1, 2 or 3 depending on the recipe size you have used. Bake at 350 F for 20 – 30 minutes, but stir thoroughly every 10 minutes and check for even browning. After approximately 30 minutes, stir and turn the oven off, but leave the pans in the oven to cool and for the granola to dry (as long as it looks like it is not burning).

Once the granola is cool and thoroughly dry, break apart and store in airtight containers.   If you make more than you can use in a couple of weeks, store part of it in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Let me know about your experiments in making your own granola! I have written about other breakfast ideas such as Chia Breakfast and Waffles.

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate seeker of Jesus, truth and health. Most of my writing is aimed at helping young families find health and joy through making wise choices. Sometimes I share recipes!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Gooey Treats

There are so many wonderful things about making and eating your own raw chocolate creations. NO GUILT about eating your creations might top the list. Because the ingredients are good – and good for you, there is no need to feel guilty! You can also tailor any recipe to exactly the taste you love.

Feel free to modify the recipe I created after seeing something similar.

The ingredients.

I use local raw honey because it is good in so many ways and makes the top 10 Superfood list by David Wolfe. You can adjust the amount if you prefer it more or less sweet. I avoid sugar as much as possible and I don’t like to substitute with sugar substitutes, even the ‘natural’ ones.

I use fresh ground ‘peanut only’ peanut butter, avoiding the processed brands which add other ingredients like sugar or oils.

Salt always means Himalayan salt because it comes with other minerals.

I soak the walnuts (when I remember) for a few minutes – up to 24 hours – because it gives them a nice texture, and reduces phytates making them even more beneficial. Walnuts provide nutrients to improve brain function and are a good choice to add to your snacks.

Toasting your raw coconut is easy and adds a boost to the taste. I make sure my coconut has no added sugar. I enjoy buying Bob’s Red Mill coconut flakes because Bob’s is employee owned and I want them to succeed! To toast your coconut, simply place it in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it gets a beautiful golden brown color. Be sure to transfer it to a new bowl immediately since it can scorch quickly!

I use raw milk (the creamy top layer is best!) because that is what I have, but any milk will work.

Coconut oil (extra virgin organic) is also excellent for your brain and most of us need to eat more good fats. Contrary to the popular philosophy that dominated US culture for years, fats make you feel satisfied and you end up eating less.

Raw cacao powder has so many benefits with the mineral content and off the charts ORAC scores. Do some research – eating raw chocolate is a good daily habit! Making your own ensures you know exactly what you are eating.

Here’s what you do, prepare a coconut mixture, which will go on the bottom and the top. Prepare the chocolate mixture for the center.

Coconut layer

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups toasted coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (soak in water first – if you remember!)
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Melt butter and coconut oil gently, add honey, molasses and salt, stir until well combined. Add coconut and walnut and stir thoroughly. Put 2/3 of the mixture into a pan (line with parchment paper). Place in the refrigerator to harden.

Chocolate layer

  • ½ Cup coconut oil
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • ½ Cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ Cup milk (almond, coconut, or dairy)

Melt coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey just enough to combine thoroughly. Add salt and milk and stir well. Pour over hardened coconut mixture and spread around gently. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 coconut mixture on the top. Put in the refrigerator to harden.

It doesn’t take too long to harden, then you can cut into squares and arrange on a tray or place into an air tight container and store in the refrigerator. The bars will melt if left out for too long, and they might be a little bit crumbly so be sure to eat with a plate or napkin underneath.

Enjoy – guilt free! Satisfying, delicious, nutritious!

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!

 

Simply Delicious Raw Chocolate

There is no ‘wrong’ way to make raw chocolate. I encourage people to modify the ingredients and personalise this basic raw chocolate recipe according to your preferences. Here are the approximate quantities of a great batch of raw chocolate I made recently as part of a healthy snack demonstration for a group of ladies. It disappeared quickly and received many positive comments.

  • 1 cup organic raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup cold pressed virgin coconut oil at room temp, or warm.
  • 8 dates (soaked overnight and chopped, include water)
  • 1/2 cup brazil nuts & walnuts (soaked overnight and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • ±2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. If your coconut oil is hard, stand the container in hot water until it softens. Never microwave your ingredients! When thoroughly mixed, pour into a glass dish or a pan lined with parchment paper, spread around. Place in the refrigerator to harden – or the freezer if you are in  a hurry to eat some delicious raw chocolate!

Remove the parchment paper and cut on a chopping board. When the chocolate is too cold it may crumble. Be careful when serving because it may crumble. Store in the refrigerator.

In my raw chocolate demonstrations I like to discuss health, making more healthy food choices, adding more delicious and ‘good for us’ foods to our plates, and ORAC values. Most people are aware that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate has specific health benefits. However, consuming raw cacao powder delivers a phenomenal array of mineral content and unique properties.

According to David Wolfe, Cacao is the best natural food source of antioxidants, Magnesium, Iron, Chromium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin C. Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Phenylethylamine (PEA) (Cacao is one of the great weight-loss foods because the minerals and the PEA molecule help shut off the appetite).The ORAC value of raw cacao powder is off the charts when compared to fruits we have come to think of as high in antioxidants. The ORAC Value for blueberries is 32, wild blueberries 61, compared to raw cacao powder with a value of 955. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity assay is a standard measure of antioxidant concentration.[1]

I really liked the result of soaking the dates and the nuts overnight. There are benefits to soaking nuts (reduction of phytates) but they also enhance the delivery. Soaking also made the dates moist and mixable. I use walnuts because they are excellent for brain health and brazil nuts because they delivery selenium.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the actual raw chocolate – it was so good and appreciated by so many, that it was eaten up fast! I need to make another batch and try to remember to take a picture! [Edit: I did it! Note the picture at the top. It was also delicious!]

Author: Becky Hastings is a wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!

[1] David Wolfe, Superfoods, The Food and Medicine of the Future, 2009.

Make Your Own Easy Milk Kefir

I just made a quick video to show how easy it is to make your own milk kefir! I’ve been making my own milk kefir for around 3 years. When I started it was a bit of a daunting procedure, but I’ve figured out how to make it easy and delicious. In this under 3 minute video I share some great tips and insight I’ve discovered. This is the real me. Not too much make-up, and just a normal kitchen. My daughter helped me by recording, but we only had one take!

Adding probiotics to our diet has a lot of immune boosting benefits. Here are some of my recipes that contain kefir:

Chia Breakfast Salad
GF Waffles
The Best Curry You Ever Made
GF Banana Bread

If you’d like some dried kefir grains, I have a limited supply, but am happy to send them to you for the cost of postage.

Thanksgiving 2015

Author: Becky Hastings is a wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!