Homemade Children’s Toothpaste

I’ve been battling with myself on this for so long. You see, I make so many of my own products (surface sprays, perfumes, face serum, body cream – the list goes on) that I really wanted to draw the line at toothpaste. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t be bothered, it bothered me more that it wouldn’t be in a tube and toothpaste that isn’t in a tube just isn’t as convenient.

But then I realised, as with everything else, that it’s only more convenient because that’s my perception, because I know no different; like how I thought using a menstrual cup was weird because it wasn’t something I’d grown up knowing about (read my post on that here).

But actually using a jar is fine; you just dip your toothbrush in and you’re ready to go. And the great thing about making your own is that you can do as many different flavours as you like, so it doesn’t get boring!

So why did I want to make my own toothpaste? Well, I’ve been using fluoride free toothpaste for a long time now, ever since I learnt about the awful effects fluoride has on our health. It’s so toxic, in fact, that the FDA has ruled that poison warnings must be visible on all fluoride-containing toothpastes in the US. Oh, but it’s OK to put in our drinking water and give to our children. *sense the sarcasm*.

The health risks involved with daily use of fluoride range from bone disorders, thyroid disease, low intelligence, dementia and diabetes to arthritis. It also lowers vitamin B12 levels and prevents the body from absorbing B12 properly. So you can imagine how I felt when I found this out and stopped using it, then started taking B12 in the form of methylcobalamin (a form that my body could absorb), and all of a sudden the arthritis pain in my jaw went away. The reason for this was that the jaw pain was largely nerve-related and fluoride affects the nerve endings. Madness that it’s in all our toothpastes and drinking water and we take it and give it to our children every single day and no one ever tells us how dangerous it is.

From then on I’ve stayed away from tap water and fluoride-containing toothpastes and have only bought fluoride-free toothpastes for Braxton since his teeth started popping through. But as is always the case when you research everything you do relentlessly, I found out that the glycerin that is contained in most fluoride-free toothpastes, though not necessarily bad for health, stops the teeth remineralising, which is not a good thing.

Like I said, I was so against making my own toothpaste so I set about finding a child-friendly toothpaste that was fluoride AND glycerin free but could not find one. I have been using one by Georganics, made with charcoal and clay, which are both brilliant for the teeth, and I still use it as I love it, but Braxton will hate it, so in the end I had to give in.

It was so easy that I really don’t know why I made such a fuss for so long! I got a lot of my info from Meagan at Growing Up Herbal and you can see references for health issues through fluoride here.

Ingredients

3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground Xylitol
6-8 drops essential oils – I only use DoTerra due to their high quality and used lemon and wild orange for Brax, and lemon and peppermint for me and Daniel.

Method

Just mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and dip your toothbrush into it!

Love & health,
Lauren

 

Chocolate Truffle Hearts

There is nothing inside these chocolates that makes them ‘truffles’ necessarily, it’s just that the mixture is so decadent that when it sets thickly – as it does in the heart-shapes moulds I have because they’re so deep – it honestly tastes and feels like Belgian chocolate truffles melting into your mouth, and yet totally free of refined sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs and preservatives.

They look impressive but I’ll let you into a little secret: they are so easy to make! 4 simple ingredients and that’s it. All you need other than that is a saucepan, a spoon and a silicone heart mould. I used one similar to this.

Fancy treating your loved one? Or just want to keep something rich and decadent nearby for those days when you’re really craving chocolate? These are the ones!

Ingredients

5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference of sweetness)
2 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often.

Once it’s melted, use a teaspoon to spoon into the little hearts and put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then turn out and store in a container in the fridge.

Devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Rose Pistachio Chocolate Bark

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite out of a chunk of chocolate, and indeed nothing more satisfying at all than knowing that that chocolate is made of only pure, natural, healthy ingredients than not only are not detrimental to your health, but are in fact beneficial to your health.

I usually make my chocolate truffle hearts when I want good old plain chocolate instead of brownies or cakes or cookies, but this time I thought, You know what, just shove the entire mixture into a silicone baking tray and let it set like that instead of putting it into individual moulds.

I love the combination of rose and pistachio, I think it must be something to do with my Moroccanness! so I decided to put a touch of rose water, just enough to taste it faintly on the tongue, but not enough to take away from the exquisiteness of the chocolate, and the pistachios give it a bit of crunch and a touch of savoury to mix in with the sweetness.

As you take a bite out of it, you will honestly feel like that girl in the Magnum adverts, how she looks when she takes a sensuous bite out of the (rubbish-filled) ice cream; it’s heavenly! And so easy to make my son could probably do it…

So I invite you all to join in the raw chocolate revolution! 🙂

Ingredients

5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference of sweetness)
2 tbsp cashew butter

Optional fillings:
1/2 tsp rose water
Small handful pistachios, crushed roughly
Small handful coconut chips

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients (not the fillings) into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often. Add the rose water if desired.

Once it’s melted, pour it into a baking paper-lined silicone baking tray and sprinkle the fillings into it.

Put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then cut or break into chunks.

Devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Best Ever Vegan Lasagne

If there is one thing I miss, it’s lasagne! Just the juicy creaminess of it; it’s such a satisfying, comforting meal! I’ve had some vegetarian lasagnes but they use a lot of dairy so how happy was I when I discovered a vegan bechamel sauce on offer at Ocado! It’s from Conserve Della Nonna and available at Ocado and free of dairy, eggs and soy! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

What with that and the amazing new vegan cheese I’ve discovered from Follow Your Heart, I was able to make the (genuinely) yummiest lasagne that could possibly be.

I added lentils to this to ensure enough plant-based protein is going into my diet, something you must watch out for when not eating animal proteins. (Plant-based proteins are way more bio-available anyway.)

Make it, it’s the best!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 courgettes, sliced
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large aubergine, sliced
Fresh spinach
Half cup lentils
1 tsp bouillon
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch Himalayan salt

Marinara sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Himalayan salt and black pepper

Wholewheat or gluten free lasagne sheets
Vegan bechamel sauce
Vegan grated cheese

Method

Preheat the grill and oven, both to 180.

Boil the lentils as per the packet instructions and add the bouillon.

Place the sliced vegetables, except the spinach, on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with some salt and put under the grill. When they look slightly browned, turn them over and grill until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce by browning the onion and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, slowly, until transparent. Then add the rest of the marinara ingredients and keep on a low heat, stirring often.

Once everything is ready, layer the vegetables at the bottom of a baking dish and put some spinach over the top. Add a layer of lentils on top of this, then a layer of marinara sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets over the top and put the bechamel sauce and cheese on top of that. Repeat this whole step once more, sprinkling with as much cheese as you like on top.

Bake for 40 mins and serve with a green salad.

Love & health,
Lauren

Puffed Rice Rocky Road Brownies

I wanted to make some yummy treats for my friend who has just had a baby, because breastfeeding mamas need fuel (and chocolate!) and I decided to try and make a healthier version of Rocky Roads.

Daniel used to make the yummiest Rocky Roads whenever we had people over back in the days when we were young and child-free and still ate refined sugar. He’d melt together every chocolate bar you can imagine, with nuts and marshmallows and freeze it and it was amazing.

But this is more amazing. Really, I’m not just saying that. It’s more amazing because your body is going to thank you after eating them, not hate you. You can give them to your children and not feel bad, and the ingredients are all natural, plant-based and high in protein and nutrients.

Give them a go – you just make and freeze!

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
About 18 medjool dates
2 generous tbsp. cashew butter (or any nut butter but cashew is creamier)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
5 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Half cup puffed brown rice (I use Rude Health)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan gently over a low heat.

Put the oats and pecans into a food processor and blitz until they make a meal. Add the dates, nut butter, maple, cacao and melted cacao butter and add a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a sticky mix.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the puffed rice.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and smooth the mixture into in and smooth down with your hands or a spatula. Make sure it’s in tight.

Leave in the freezer for an hour then cut into cubes and store in the freezer or fridge in a container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Natural Parenting? You Need Like-Minded Friends…

Your vibe attracts your tribe, that is for sure. But it also means you will lose people along the way. You will lose them because they cannot cope with how different you are, how differently you do things to them, and how that makes them feel. You will lose them because even though you don’t judge anyone, they will feel you judge them just because of how militant you are with your lifestyle. You will lose them simply because they don’t ‘get’ you, because it’s hard to get you, because you are complex and intense and full of passion and constantly striving to improve yourself and not everyone can handle all that intensity in one person. You will lose them, but you will gain so much more in the process. You will gain the understanding that you never really lost them; if they can’t accept you for who you were meant to be, you never really had them in the first place. You will gain the knowledge that the ones who do get you, are the ones you should hold onto forever. And you will, if you are lucky, gain some amazing new people in your life who do things just like you and with whom you will build incredibly special friendships.

Above is a picture of me and Braxton with our friends Deepa & Arjun. Deepa and I may have come from totally different backgrounds, but there is a common thread that binds us, and that’s the great thing about growing up in a place like London.

Our beautiful boys are 2 weeks apart in age and I cannot express enough just how important it has been for me, and just how much I need – crave – to have a friend who parents in the exact same way as I do. From the food we eat, how we prepare it, where it comes from, to the births we strived for, the determination to continue breastfeeding no matter how hard it got, to healthcare, and of course, our gentle parenting methods; we are pretty much identical in our approach.

When your lifestyle is so different to the mainstream, it filters down into every single thing you do. To the point that even a play date with friends holds a little bit of stress…

When she doesn’t bat at eyelid when I whip out a mung daal for his lunch, or a homemade sweet potato brownie for snack; When it’s not weird that I only give him filtered water and she has a filter tap in her house like we do; When we don’t see each other as voodoo witches for not vaccinating; When we choose homeopathy over Calpol and she has a homeopathic kit in her house in case I need it; When either of us whip a boob out and that’s ok; When either one of the children ‘play up’ by being physical, and we are both of the view that it is simply an expression of frustration and no shouting will take place, and when it’s your child who does it and she doesn’t ask you why you’re not ‘disciplining your child’.

I love and appreciate all of my friends equally, regardless of how we decide to parent our children, because they’re all amazing mums, but it’s really nice to have made a friend along the way who just ‘gets it’. I hope Braxton and Arjun will grow up to be proper buddies just like their mummies 💜

She also makes INCREDIBLY HILARIOUS vlogs about parenting so please follow Deepa and her page GirlBoyFoodBaby here.

Your vibe attracts your tribe, so make your vibe a good one!

Love & health,
Lauren

P.s. this is what it really looks like, minus the Instagram-perfect smiles and poses!

 

Menstrual Cups – They’re A Thing!

Menstruation. Periods. Blood. There, I’ve said it. Now let’s all get over ourselves and acknowledge that the blood that is released every month from a woman’s ovaries is what enables her to have children; it is what has kept our species alive. So why are we all so grossed out by periods?

Perhaps it is to do with times gone by when women were not to talk of such things, when women were supposed to be seen not heard, all in an attempt by men to control women; the same reason that birth started being portrayed as a punishment and thereby inflicting upon women the notion and belief that their bodies couldn’t do what they were intended for – because it was easier for men to control women if they were scared and thought they were disgusting.

Some Christian denominations advise women not to receive communion during their menstrual period. The traditional Islamic interpretation of the Qur’an forbids intercourse, but not physical intimacy, during a woman’s menstrual period. Judaism likewise forbids intercourse, but also forbids physical intimacy.

But before the Abrahamic religions, menstruating women were seen as goddesses. ‘Menstruation’ is etymologically related to ‘moon’. The fact that in humans, the menstrual cycle quite closely approximates the moon’s 29.5-day synodic cycle, suggested to ancient cultures that women were more deeply connected to the cosmos, making them higher beings. Greek mythology suggests that on the day of the new moon, the women of Olympia walked together to the river Eleutherion – the Water of Freedom. They bathed and then gathered branches from the lygos bushes, which they laid in a circle. With the blessing of the Goddess Hera, the lygos encouraged the flow of their menstrual blood that would complete the cleansing. As evening approached, they called upon the Goddess in Her appearance as the Moon. Or as Carl Kerényi has called Her “the spellbinding moonlight of Greece”, the “origin of all things”. Gradually Hera drew forth the blood of purification and renewed fertility.

In some historic cultures, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful, with increased psychic abilities, and strong enough to heal the sick. According to the Cherokee, menstrual blood was a source of feminine strength and had the power to destroy enemies. In Ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder wrote that a menstruating woman who uncovers her body can scare away hailstorms, whirlwinds and lightning. If she strips naked and walks around the field, caterpillars, worms and beetles fall off the ears of corn. Menstrual blood is viewed as especially dangerous to men’s power. Which seems to be where it all went wrong…

And here we are in 2017, mostly ashamed of our periods and mostly trying to hide it and grossed out by anything relating to the blood that flows from our bodies every month. Which is exactly why I want to talk about menstrual cups.

Before coming round to a more holistic way of life, I was on the contraceptive pill for 12 years, mainly because no doctor ever thought to mention that it was a pretty stupid idea and that actually, it is not safe to take for so long. It controlled my periods; I could skip one if I went on holiday (or if I just didn’t fancy having a period that month), and it made my periods lighter and easier to time.

When I started learning more about the body and about natural health, I was dismayed at how bad the contraceptive pill actually is for us, and I came off it straight away. Of course my periods got heavier. I used Tampons and thick pads and just tried to wish away that week as fast as possible.

Eventually I started realising that if I was changing my face creams, my shower gels, my kitchen surface sprays, to natural products, surely I should look into whether the Tampons I was using were toxic. Guess what? THEY ARE.

Aside from the fact that all non-organic cotton contains glyphosate – which the World Health Organisation recently ruled as “probably carcinogenic” – non-organic feminine products also contain plastic chemicals BPA and BPS which disrupt embryonic development, and Dioxin which is a by-product of the chlorine bleaching process which pads and tampons go through to get them looking white. Dioxin is listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency as THE most toxic of ALL cancer causing chemicals and is a known carcinogen. It has possible links to:

  • breast cancer 
  • ovarian cancer
  • uterine cancer
  • Immune system suppression 
  • reproductive and developmental problems
  • organ failure
  • Endometriosis 
  • Infertility 

The vagina is a highly permeable space: anything we put inside can easily be absorbed through the mucus membrane and then into our bloodstream where it presents a toxic burden to the body. Chronic exposure increases our risk of cancer, causes oxidative stress and metabolic changes, and disrupts our endocrine system. This can contribute to adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immunological effects. Conditions such as infertility, endometriosis, and thyroid disorders are all on the rise, for example, and are affected by exposures to chemicals and toxins in our environment. When we wonder why so many of us have fertility issues these days, this is just one of the many problems contributing.

So to get to the point… after much research I discovered the menstrual cup. And yes, I thought it was weird at the beginning. Only because we only think that things we are used to are ‘normal’, everything else is weird. But once I got over my fear of my own blood, the menstrual cup honestly, genuinely changed my life.

I watched some YouTube videos by an amazing girl called Bryony of Precious Stars Pads who teaches people all about reusable menstrual products and how to use them. It took about 3 months to fully get used to it but I couldn’t imagine my life without my cup now. Most of them are made from healthy, high quality and sustainable Medical Grade Silicone that can be re-used for up to 10 years. They also have a large capacity which means you don’t have to get up in the night to change (the bane of my life during period week). When I went away and I was on my period (worst thing ever), I was actually able to sit by the pool in a bikini which I never would have done with tampons, because you just don’t leak through the cup and it keeps everything in AND it’s so comfortable and snug you don’t even know it’s there. Once it’s in, you genuinely don’t feel it AT ALL.

Aside from all the benefits using a menstrual cup over tampons has for my body, I am also very happy to be doing my small bit for the environment by not contributing to the 20 billion plastic-containing pads that are put into landfill every year and are unable to be broken down.

I still use a small pad on my heavy days. The pads I use are from a company called Natracare (they also do tampons) and I get them on my Ocado shop (easy peasy). The menstrual cups I read about and bought from Precious Stars. If you go on her website she will explain which one you need (different sizes and shapes for different women).

I really hope this post helps you change your stance on toxic feminine products and that you switch to the cup; for yourself, for the environment and for your poor, sweet little vagina who is dying for a break from all the toxins!

Sorry it was a long one, hopefully worth it!

Love & health,
Lauren