Restore Your Gut – Restore Your Life

Restore_lignites_for_leaky_gut

What is Restore?

Restore is a revolutionary new approach to healing, which utilizes years of scientific research by medical doctors. They recognize that the underlying issue with so many modern illnesses is a lack of cell membrane integrity in the gut. In order to heal illness, the gut needs to be repaired. Restore prevents and heals the disintegration of the cell membranes and tightens cell junctions in the gut. It is a mineral and amino acid supplement made from carbon rich soil. An alkaline liquid, Restore delivers organic and essential trace amino acids and minerals extracted from lignite. Restore is not a probiotic or a prebiotic, however it provides a balanced dose of bacterial metabolites that restore the healthy tight junctions in the gut and the blood brain barrier. It enables the body to heal and create a strengthened immune system and gut biome. Simply put, Restore is formulated to repair the damage from eating toxins like pesticides and GMO’s.

Feeling Sick?

Are you doing everything right to be healthy but still feeling sick?  Do you have symptoms such as:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autistic spectrum
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Profound Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Poor Digestion
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Gluten Intolerance

Why is everyone so sick?

Our foods are now grown in depleted soil without the nutrients needed to infuse them with vital energy, leaving the plants weakened. This necessitates the use of pesticides, antibiotics, and genetically modified types of plants (GMO’s) capable of withstanding all the toxins needed to grow them. All of this ends up in the food we eat. This denatured food causes cell membranes in the gut to break down, allowing the toxins to enter the blood stream. Our immune systems are overloaded leading to inflammation and disease. Disease can take many forms, but the common denominator is inflammation from a compromised gut lining. Restore rebuilds the gut barrier when it’s been degraded by toxins and restores an optimal environment for the entire digestive tract. Just as an unhealthy gut can lead to inflammation and disease, a healthy gut may lead to improved immunity and healing of many health issues.

The Facts: Restore is:

  • Based in medical science
  • Tested with “gold standard” protocols for non-toxicity
  • Produced in the USA
  • Packaged in recyclable bottles
  • Made from organic soil

The Simple Way to Heal

The good news is that healing from chronic illness and inflammation can be as straight forward as restoring our gut integrity. When the membranes in our guts fall apart, the gut no longer recognizes foreign substances. It doesn’t know self from non-self. This confusion may affect the whole being, causing stress to body and mind. Fortunately Restore has been developed. Restore offers the key to healing and feeling good again. Support your immune system, enhance your mental clarity and mood, and enable your digestive system to function the way Mother Nature intended. Restore harmony to your gut and to your life with Restore.

 

 

Emu Oil: Sacred Healing Food Revealed

 

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The Australian Aborigines are one of the most ancient and still living primitive societies on the planet. For eons they have utilized traditional health practices and retained their robust health. The Aborigines prized emu fat as one of their “sacred foods” for health and healing and have long incorporated it into their mythical “dreamtime” spirituality. Because the emu shares the inhospitable Australian Outback environment with the Aborigines and manages to survive well on only its fat reserves, the fat was revered as a precious food and medicine by the traditional culture. Weston A. Price, the famous dentist and nutritionist of the 20th century who studied the Australian Aborigines as well as other indigenous groups, proclaimed their diets to be rich in fat soluble vitamins and activators which accounted for their low incidence of chronic health problems as compared with people in the developed world. Perhaps the time has come to bring a little “sacred” healing oil into our own lives?

Walkabout Emu Oil

Emus are large birds, native to Australia and similar looking to Ostriches. They cannot fly, but they can do something perhaps even more amazing!  They can go without food, essentially fasting, for months at a time usually while sitting on their nest. In order to endure this long period of nutritional deprivation, emus have an ability to store nutrient dense fat in a special fat pocket on their back. Until recently, Emus living in the wild had higher quality oil than those raised commercially. Now Walkabout has been able to replicate this potent wild emu oil by raising emus on Australian farms using their natural habitats and food sources. Raised as genetically distinct groups with no crossbreeding, Walkabout emus are specific genotypes ensuring the highest quality oil. Walkbout Emu Oil is guaranteed to meet strict standards for purity and quality. It is registered with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which oversees the production of natural supplements. Walkabout imports the Aborigine’s life-sustaining emu oil from Australia to treat your myriad of health and beauty needs.

Ancient and Modern Uses

Emu Oil can be taken orallyas  liquid or in capsules or applied topically and allowed to penetrate the skin with it’s healing qualities.

  • Emu oil is best known for reducing local and systemic inflammation often with fairly dramatic results.
  • It has been shown to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints and to improve muscle strain, tendonitis, or bruising. Dr. Oz has recommended emu oil for relief of joint pain and sore muscles.
  • Since it is bacteriostatic, no bacteria can grow in it making it a sterile treatment for all sorts of skin ailments from eczema and psoriasis to reducing nail fungus and rashes.
  • Emu oil is remarkable in its capacity to thicken and strengthen skin so that it retains water thus healing chronic dry skin and treating sun damage and wrinkles.
  • A natural moisturizer, it conditions hair and even cures itchy scalp. Dr. Mercola recommends this as a great alternative moisturizer for the whole body.
  • The high bioavailability of nutrients in emu oil may assist in cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, gum disease, high blood pressure, carpel tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, intestinal disorders, and even in decreasing allergic sensitivity among other things.
  • Loaded with vitamins K2 and D3, emu oil helps to repair and prevent tooth decay.

Emu Essentials

Emu oil is a whole food, not a manufactured vitamin compound. As such the miraculous benefits come from the synergy of nutrients found in precious combination in the oil. Nevertheless, it is possible to test for and quantify some of the components in order to better understand the harmony of vital healing agents. Walkabout Emu Oil has consistently shown to be higher in nutrients compared to other brands due to their free-range farming and feeding practices.

  • Omegas 3, 6, and 9: essential fatty acids necessary for growth, life energy, and skin regeneration.
  • Vitamin K2: the “Activator X” vitamin identified by Dr. Weston A. Price as potentiating many other nutrients. Recently, Sally Fallon of the Westin A Price Foundation tested many popular whole food oil supplements and Walkabout Emu Oil came out on top for having more vitamin K2 than the rest, sometimes 10 times as much!
  • Vitamin D3: critical vitamin for immunity, maintaining healthy bones, cognitive ability, and preventing multiple diseases.
  • Vitamin E: antioxidant for immunity, healthy skin and eyes, and physical performance
  • Vitamin A: antioxidant that repairs skin and provides antiseptic abilities.
  • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): decreases muscle and joint pain as well as assisting in fat metabolism and healthy weight maintenance.
  • Sapogens: skin softening agents

The Walkabout Way

Walkabout Emu Oil is refined by combining the best of traditional practices with modern day science. The unadulterated oil assures the best absorption and assimilation possible. Walkabout Emu oil is always Non-GMO, and is farmed on virgin soils with no pesticides, or chemicals. No artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, or vaccinations are given and there is virtually no waste in processing the animals as their meat, skin, feathers, and egg shells are all utilized commercially.

“Sacred Food”

The Australian Aborigines have practiced the spiritual healing journey known as a “walkabout” for thousands of years. During this solo rite of passage in nature that could last for weeks, male Aborigine youth tapped their inner resources to emerge stronger in body and mind. Emu oil is a traditional, nutrient dense, life sustaining food carried with them on this quest. Its pure and unadulterated power is now available to help transform your life as well. Discover the pristine whole food medicine of the traditional Australian Bushmen and find your own balance with nature.

When Organic Isn’t Good Enough: Food Labels, Beyond Organic

Helpful tips to decode your "natural" food and supplement labels

It’s a problem more and more of us are beginning to face: You walk into your local natural food store, and find yourself disappointed with the selection. Frustrated with offerings nearby, I started driving a bit further to a very expensive natural food chain. I was so excited walking in, imagining my grocery cart piled with new and exciting organic foods. The problem is, most of their selection was not even organic! In fact, a large portion of it wasn’t even truly natural, especially in the personal care and supplements section. I noticed additives I have long since banned in my house — polysorbate 80, PEG, carrageenan, etc.

You want to know what I found a lot of, though? Organic junk food. Chips, crackers, cakes, candies, chocolates… the organic selection in these categories was endless! But as we well know, just slapping the word “organic” on something doesn’t make it healthy. What I really wanted was a wide selection of beautiful, local, organic produce. I wanted to find grass-fed meat, free-range chickens that actually spent time outdoors, sustainable seafood. And, of course, I wanted it all to be affordable. Keep dreaming!

Why not settle for whatever the natural grocery store offered? Because it’s not good enough. I don’t want to feed my family food that met some kind of minimal standard. I want to buy food that supports the local economy and local farmers. I want to eat whole foods that aren’t processed and stripped of all their nutrients and cofactors. I want supplements made from whole foods, not something chemically isolated in a lab. So I thought I’d spend some time examining some of the labels we find on foods and supplements, to create a quick guide to food labels that goes a bit beyond just “Organic.”

Food Labels and What They Really Mean

What the label says: Organic

What it means: “Certified Organic” means that the product met some basic standards: no chemical fertilizers and pesticides, no antibiotics and growth hormones, no GMOs. “Organic” is great, but it’s not synonymous with “healthy.” It doesn’t mean that the animals were treated humanely, or that they fed on verdant pastures, or that the farm workers were paid a fair wage. USDA Certified animal products, however, must be from animals that at least had access to the outdoors.

What the label says: Non-GMO

What it means: If a product is labeled GMO-Free or Non-GMO, it cannot contain any genetically modified ingredients. This is especially important when it comes to foods that are frequently genetically modified, such as corn, soy, and sugar. Some foods have not yet been genetically modified — wheat, for example, as well as the majority of produce — so the Non-GMO label on these foods would be insignificant. For more information on GMOs, check out the Non-GMO Project.

What the label says: Fair Trade Certified

What it means: The “Fair Trade” label means that workers were paid a fair wage for their work, and that working conditions were safe. To become Fair Trade Certified, a farm may not use child labor. They must also abide by international environmental standards.

What the label says: Cage Free

What it means: This just means that the animals (usually chickens) were not kept in cages. It does not mean that they were treated well, or that they had access to the outdoors.

What the label says: Free Range

What it means: The label “free range” generally means that the animals had access to the outdoors for at least half their lives. This could mean that they spent hours outdoors every day, or simply that there was a small door leading to the outdoors that the animals never dared to pass through. Free range doesn’t mean that the animals actually spent time outside, and just 5 minutes of outdoor time is considered sufficient according to USDA standards.

What the label says: Pasture-Raised

What it means: Pasture raised meat or dairy products are derived from animals that are free to roam and feed on pastures. However, they may be fed grain in the winter. Pasture-raised products are considered more humane. This is not a regulated label, so do your research before trusting the company.

What the label says: Grass Fed

What it means: The Grass Fed label might seem similar to Pastured, but there is a subtle yet important difference. Products labeled “100% Grass Fed” are from animals that only ate grass or dry hay; no grain was used to supplement their diet. Just “Grass Fed” (without the “100%” on the label) often means that the animal was grain-finished — fed grain on a feedlot for the last few months of its life. Technically, a grass-fed cow could spend its entire life indoors and be fed only hay, but most products labeled “Grass Fed” are likely also “Pastured.” The label generally implies that the animal spent lots of time outdoors. Note: You wouldn’t see “grass fed chicken” or “grass fed pork,” as these animals require some grain in their diet for good health.

What the label says: Certified Humane

What it means: Certified Humane foods must adhere to strict standards for how the animals can be kept and raised. They need to be fed well, treated kindly without unnecessary stress, and given opportunities to enjoy life. Certified Humane animals cannot be given hormones or antibiotics (unless the animal is ill and requires antibiotics).

What the label says: Whole Food

What it means: Whole Food means exactly what it sounds like — that the product was made from whole food ingredients, nothing isolated, processed, stripped of nutrients, or synthetic. Foods and supplements that are not made from whole foods are often missing the naturally-occurring cofactors needed for nutrient absorption and other critical components for complete nutrition. Whole foods are the foods nature provides, in the form our bodies recognize: the foods we are meant to be eating. Whole food supplements are generally made up of actual real foods that have been gently dried and powdered to create an easy-to-take capsule or smoothie powder; all the delicate nutrients and cofactors are preserved. You can read more about whole food vs. synthetic vitamins in Decoding Your Multivitamin.

What the label says: Natural

What it means: These days, the label “natural” means virtually nothing. The label is not regulated, so anyone can use it. This also goes for other catchy terms or packaging tricks. Products labeled “Simply,” “Green,” etc. or packaged in natural shades of green and brown are being marketed to us as something healthy, organic, or natural, but in reality they aren’t necessarily any different than their counterparts. This is why it’s so important to read the ingredients label.

What the label says: rBGH Free or rBST Free

What it means: These are labels often found on dairy products; rBGH is recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST refers to the scientific name, recombinant Bovine Somatotropin). This is a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to force them to produce more milk. Products labeled rBGH/rBST-Free are from cows that were not given rBGH, but this does not necessarily mean they are free of all hormones or antibiotics.

What the label says: Hormone Free

What it means: Foods or supplements labeled “Hormone Free” are from animals who were never given any hormones during their lifespan. However, there is no organization that oversees this label, so you’ll have to take the manufacturer at their word. You’ll probably want to research the manufacturer rather than blindly trusting them. Certain products, such as chicken, are not allowed to use hormones anyway, so the Hormone Free label in this case would be pretty meaningless.

Want to know more about food labels? This Eco-Labels database breaks it all down in detail.

What I look for in a healthy food or supplement:

  • Whole foods or supplements made from whole foods
  • Organic certified
  • For animal products, meat, and dairy: Grass-fed/pastured, preferably local
  • For produce: Local if possible
  • For premade products: Only the ingredients I’d find in my own kitchen: no additives, preservatives, added sugar, unhealthy oils, etc.
  • For imported foods (chocolate, coffee, etc.): Fair Trade

Are you disappointed in your natural food store’s offerings? What are your most important criteria when buying foods and supplements?

 

By Ali Wetherbee

Sign the Petition: Stop Genetically Engineered Wheat!

Take Action Today: Join Green America in fighting against the introduction of genetically engineered wheat.

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The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking comments regarding proposed changes to regulations of GE wheat field trials. Peaceful Planet is urging friends, followers, and customers to speak up to protect wheat crops. Why should this concern you?

  • Genetically modified foods have not been proven to be safe for consumption. There have been no long-term studies proving their safety in humans.
  • Wheat is one of the few major crops thus far unaffected by genetic engineering. Soy and corn are already genetically modified. Wheat is a primary food source for more than 1/3 of the world population, so genetic modification of wheat will affect billions of people.
  • Genetic modification will increase the use of chemical pesticides which are toxic to health and to the environment. Because wheat is grown on so much land throughout the world, this will have widespread effects for not only wheat consumers but also the large percentage of the world’s population who live near wheat fields and watershed areas.
  • When GE wheat is field tested, the wheat crops of nearby farmers are contaminated. This has already affected fields in Oregon and Montana. Tighter regulations would allow non-GMO and organic farmers to maintain the integrity of their wheat crops.
  • For the past couple of years, both Europe and Japan have refused to accept wheat imports from the US because of contamination by experimental GMO wheat. This has a serious financial impact on farmers growing wheat in the Great Plains.

Urgent: Stand Up to Monsanto Before It’s Too Late!

There is only one week left to make your voice heard and put a stop to genetically engineered wheat. Green America has created a Stop GE Wheat letter to make it super easy to comment — just fill in your name & email and a letter will automatically be sent to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack.

You can also write your own comment here or mail a letter to:

Docket No. APHIS-2015-0070, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

Make sure your comment is received before 10/26/15 to be considered.

Act Now to Stop GMO Wheat

You can sign here to have Green America forward a letter to the USDA on your behalf:

Stop Genetically Engineered Wheat

Please sign before 10/26/15.

View the Federal Register notice for more details.

I signed, did you?

By Ali Wetherbee

The 20 Fruits and Vegetables You Should Always Buy Organic

Produce_to_Buy_Organic

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” to guide shoppers in reducing their pesticide exposure. At Peaceful Planet, we believe that organic foods are nearly always superior to those grown with conventional methods (the exception would be food grown by farmers who use organic practices but cannot afford organic certification). However, not everyone can afford to buy a grocery cart full of 100% organic produce. That’s where the 2015 EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists come in handy. The Dirty Dozen list can help guide your grocery purchases so that you can feed your family food with minimal chemical and pesticide residues, all while sticking to your budget. Organic foods by definition cannot be grown with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, nor can they be genetically modified. We’ve adapted the Dirty Dozen list to not only avoid pesticides, but to also ensure that your produce is non-GMO.

Why Should We Avoid Pesticides? Can’t I Just Wash My Produce Well?

Pesticides are created to kill bugs and pests that may feed on and damage produce. The word to focus on here is “kill.” It would be hard to believe that a chemical created to kill creatures could possibly be healthy for humans to consume, particularly in the large amounts we are exposed to every day. High exposure to pesticides may lead to brain and nervous system problems, toxic colon, hormone and endocrine disruption, birth defects, irritation of skin, eyes, and lungs, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and cancer. While creating their Dirty Dozen list, EWG found that 64% of the produce they tested contained residue from at least one pesticide, with 12% having residues from five or more different pesticides. It is important to note that all the foods tested were washed before testing, and those that are normally eaten peeled (i.e. bananas) were also peeled prior to testing for pesticides. The foods that made the Dirty Dozen are the commonly purchased types of produce that tested highest for pesticide residues.

Why Are GMOs Bad?

One problem with GMOs is that they are specifically created for the purpose of withstanding herbicides, and therefore they are often sprayed with these toxic chemicals much more heavily than non-GMO crops. But genetically modified foods in and of themselves may also have serious health repercussions. Risks of eating GMO produce include gastrointestinal problems, allergies, gluten intolerance, disorders of the immune system, damage to organs, DNA transfer, infertility, birth defects, autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, tumor growth, premature aging, and chronic illnesses.

What Produce Should I Buy Organic?

Fruits and vegetables on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, which has now expanded to 14 items instead of a dozen, have the highest pesticide load. We have also included produce that may be genetically modified on this list in addition to the Dirty Dozen. You should choose organic for these types of produce:

  • Alfalfa
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Snap Peas
  • Soy/Edamame
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Yellow Summer Squash (Crookneck Squash)
  • Zucchini

I Can’t Afford All Organic. What Produce Can I Buy Non Organic?

The items on the EWG’s Clean Fifteen list tend to carry a lower pesticide load than those on the Dirty Dozen. For these types of produce, non organic (conventionally grown) is a reasonable option if you are unable to buy organic:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas, if frozen
  • Sweet Potatoes

You may notice that there are only 13 items on this list. Although papayas and sweet corn also made the EWG Clean Fifteen list, these are both often genetically modified foods. Therefore, we recommend you choose organic papayas and organic corn to avoid consuming GMOs, and we have included these on our “Buy Organic” list above.

Produce_to_Buy_Organic_smTake These Lists Shopping

It’s hard to remember the Dirty Dozen, especially since the list changes a bit from year to year. Throw in GMO produce and you have a long list of fruits and veggies that may be dangerous to your health! Print out this wallet-sized copy of these lists to keep in your purse or wallet, or save this page to your phone so you can refer back to it easily.

By Ali Wetherbee

Seven Ways to Host a Healthy & Sustainable Thanksgiving Gathering

sustainable_thanksgiving_tipsBy Ali Wetherbee

1. Who’s the star of the show?

Turkey does not have to be front and center on your Thanksgiving menu! Although serving turkey has become a holiday tradition for many, others choose ham, chicken, lamb, or wild game. In fact, it is possible that even the very first Thanksgiving celebration did not include turkey. There was definitely venison, and perhaps goose, duck, or passenger pigeons. The Wampanoag and the colonists probably also served lobster, mussels, and clams as well. Whichever meat you decide to serve this year, choose pasture-raised or organic if at all possible. If you can’t find sustainably-raised turkey, consider serving an alternate meat or fish, as conventionally-raised turkeys are loaded up with antibiotics and 77% are contaminated with resistant bacterial strains. If you must buy a conventional bird, avoid ones labeled pre-marinated, self-basting, deep basted, or enhanced, because these are usually injected with fillers and chemicals. 

2. Hold the cranberry sauce, please!

Canned cranberry sauce may be one of the most toxic items on the menu. Most cans are lined with BPA, a carcinogenic endocrine-disrupting chemical that leaches into the food contained within — especially acidic foods like cranberry sauce. Most cranberry sauces are also loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, likely from genetically-modified corn. What’s worse, studies on conventionally-grown cranberries have found them to contain up to 12 different pesticide residues, including several organophosphates, which are highly toxic even in small amounts. To avoid toxic pesticides, GMO-laden HFCS, and any additives or artificial colors, make your own cranberry sauce from scratch using organic cranberries. It’s easier than you think, requiring only water, cranberries, and the natural sweetener of your choice.  

3. Cook in cast iron or stainless steel

Nonstick cookware contains a coating made of polytetrafluoroetheylene (“Teflon”), which breaks apart when heated to emit toxic fumes. These fumes can cause flu-like symptoms and are toxic enough to kill pet birds. It only takes between 2-5 minutes on a stovetop for your pot or pan to become hot enough to emit fumes. The Environmental Working Group recommends using cast iron or stainless steel instead. If you don’t have time to buy a new set of cookware, at least make sure to keep the oven temperature below 500°F, avoid preheating empty pans, and turn on the exhaust fan over your stove. 

4. Skip disposable paper products

Sure, it’s nice to have fewer dishes to do at the end of the day, but most guests will be happy to help with the clean-up. Nice plates and glasses, your best silverware, and cloth napkins will make the table look more inviting anyway. Serve bite-size appetizers that don’t require a plate to avoid the need to wash dishes while you’re still preparing dinner. If you use disposable aluminum pans, consider cleaning them out to reuse a few times. If you must use disposable plates and forks, choose ones that are compostable, and make sure they don’t wind up in with your regular trash. Ask your guests to bring their own containers to take home leftovers. 

5. Read the labels

While it’s healthiest to cook everything from scratch, a few packaged foods may make the feast preparation a bit easier on you. Avoid anything containing MSG — which may be listed as monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed or textured proteins, calcium and sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast or yeast extract. Some people have serious reactions to MSG, including headaches, rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties. Be on the lookout for GMOs, often hidden in corn, soy, or sugar ingredients. Nix high fructose corn syrup, which can appear even in savory prepared and packaged foods. Check the label for artificial colors, flavors, and additives. A good rule of thumb: If an ingredient is unfamiliar or hard to pronounce, you probably shouldn’t eat it. 

6. Buy local

Local produce is usually fresher and healthier. Buying animal products from a local farm allows you to see the conditions under which the animals are raised. Shopping local saves fossil fuels, since the foods do not need to be transported far to reach you. Small local farms are more likely to embrace environmentally-friendly practices. Plus, buying from local co-ops, farmers, markets, and grocery stands keeps money in your local community, and out of factory farms.

7. Focus on the friends and family

It seems like Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves completely around food — but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t spend hours preparing the meal if you don’t enjoy cooking. Ask your guests to bring a dish to share, or stick with a simple meal. Thanksgiving was meant to be a time to be grateful for what we have, not for what we could have. Take some time to just enjoy your family’s presence. Turn off the TV and sit around the table together. Tell stories and play games. Work together on some kind of expression of gratitude. Studies have shown that being thankful is good not only for our spirits, but also for our overall health and wellness. Each year when we sit down for our Thanksgiving dinner, we go around the table and one by one, share something we are thankful for. We also started a special tradition with my son a few years ago. Every Thanksgiving morning, we go for a hike in the woods. Along the way we collect sticks and leaves and we stop in the middle of the woods to build our “Thanksgiving Tree” — a large stick pushed into the dirt, with fallen leaves stuck onto the small branches. As we add each leaf, we say something we are grateful for. Then we sing a song or say a prayer of thanks before heading back to our car. It has become one of our favorite and most meaningful traditions.

Trick or Treat? What to Do With All That Candy!

What_to_do_with_Halloween_candyBy Ali Wetherbee

You work hard to ensure your kids eat healthy foods. You try to buy organic, GMO-free produce and all-natural supplements… and then they come home on Halloween night with a huge bag of sugar-laden, genetically-modified candy made with artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. What to do? You don’t want to take all the fun out of Halloween, but you also don’t want your kids gorging on junk. You might be okay with a little bit, but not the mounds of candy that trickle in for an entire month leading up to Halloween. Or perhaps you don’t want them having any candy at all, but still enjoy seeing them run from house to house with all the other kids.

In my home, we don’t ban the candy all together. I fear it would become “forbidden fruit” and thus even more tempting. Instead, my son is allowed to keep a few pieces, but the rest must go. Interestingly, he has always willingly gone along with this plan, choosing just how many pieces he’d like to keep and what he’d like to do with the rest. But even more resistant kids will love some of these alternatives!

Send it to soldiers

Operation Shoebox, as well as many other organizations, accept candy donations to send to soldiers serving overseas. Kids are motivated to help others, and it’s a great cause. You can ship your candy to the address on their website, or find a local collection point. Often dentists, boy/girl scout troops, or other organizations will serve as collection points, or you can team up with friends and ship it all together.

Leave it for the Halloween Fairy

The Halloween Fairy, the Switch Witch, or the Halloween Ghost comes on Halloween night. She takes the bag of leftover candy, and in its place leaves healthy treats or a small, non-food present. There is even a Switch Witch doll and storybook, available here.

Buy it from your kids

Set your price — 10 cents a piece, or $1 a pound, whatever amount works for your family and motivates your kids to let go of their sweets! You can also have them bring it to a dentist listed on Halloween Candy Buy Back to trade it in for cash or prizes.

Gift it to those who help others

The nurses at your hospital, the firemen at your local station, teachers, librarians, and mail carriers all might appreciate little bags of carefully-selected treats along with handwritten thank you notes.

Donate it to the nursing home

Sweets can bring back great memories! Perhaps your kids would even be willing to dress up in costume to hand-deliver their bag of goodies for the elderly.

Add it to a food basket

Whether you are preparing baskets of food for families in need or making Blessing Bags for the homeless, throw in a few yummy treats for the kids.

Try some crafts or science experiments

Candy Experiments has some interesting science projects that the kids will both enjoy and learn from. Candies can also be used for crafts, toothpick structures, or gingerbread houses.

Send it to work

Mom or Dad’s coworkers will love finding a basket of candies in the break room, especially if they don’t have their own kids to bring Trick-or-Treating!

Save it

Candy can last a very long time, especially if you freeze it. Save it for special occasions throughout the year, so that at least they are not eating it all at once.