Eyeing that Instant Pot? Why Stainless Steel Isn’t as Safe as You Think (and What to Use Instead)

When I learned about the dangers of aluminum cookware and non-stick coatings, I was eager to find safe alternatives that I could use without the risk of exposing my family to dangerous heavy metals or toxic chemicals.

I began researching all the options: from stainless steel to glass, copper and ceramic. I made a lot of rice, so I wanted a rice cooker (they make the best rice!) but it was very difficult to find a rice cooker that was not non-stick-coated aluminum.

I first began looking for rice cookers with stainless steel inserts, because I knew that was safe. My research, however, led me to the facts, which are not always as simple as we think.

Stainless steel is safe… sometimes.

As with everything else, manufacturers eventually will cut corners and produce inferior products that save them money in production and increase their profits. Stainless steel is no different.

Instant Pots are all the craze right now–and why not? They make cooking easy, quick and fun again! They don’t heat up the house and they create delicious meals in minutes! They’re programmable and they come in huge sizes–perfect for any family! Most importantly, they are made of stainless steel, so they are completely safe!

Not so fast. 

With every material, there is some kind of trade-off…so it’s good to be informed as to the benefits and the risks associated with each material.

I’m teaming up with Kara at Deep South Crunchy Mom and Sarah at Clean Living With Kids to bring you a series on truly safe cookware.  We want you to have all of the information: risks and benefits, so you can decide for yourself what are the best materials for your family.

See Kara’s post about cast iron here,

And Sarah’s post about glass here.

What’s Wrong With Stainless Steel?

At first glance, stainless steel seems like the perfect solution: it’s hypo-allergenic, it doesn’t rust, it isn’t breakable, and it doesn’t have any heavy metal issues.

Upon closer examination, we will see that not all stainless steel is created equally.

Cheaper grades of stainless steel are not as pure as we have been led to believe, and they can leach nickel into our food. Nickel is a heavy metal, so this is not ideal. (Read more about nickel toxicity here).

How do I know if my stainless steel is safe?

It can be very difficult to determine what grade of stainless steel you are using…. and this is where it gets confusing. There are quite a few grades and classifications of stainless steel (read about them here), and each grade is a different combination of metal alloys.

Bottom of my one stainless steel pot (I use it for popcorn)

Manufacturers don’t often disclose what grade of stainless steel they are using in the cookware that we buy at the store, but a general rule of thumb is: the more expensive it is, the higher grade it is.

In general, stainless steel cookware is either of the 300 or 400 series, and often you can see the grade stamped on the bottom of the pot. Usually these numbers look something like 18/10 (most common), which indicates it is 18% chromium and 10% nickel.

To me, 10% is a lot…especially when it can leach into my food. So I try not to use this kind of stainless steel on a regular basis. I have one stainless pan (pictured) that I use just for popcorn or for steaming things in a separate bowl inside of it.

I’d be particularly wary of cooking anything acidic (tomato sauces, anything with citrus) in low-grade stainless steel, as it would more readily leach the harmful nickel into your food, especially with high pressure or long cooking times.

Check your stainless steel pots and pans for this mark to see what grade your pots and pans are. They are likely this 304 18/10 grade, as that is the most common and most affordable. If you didn’t pay $300 to $400 for each of your pans, it’s not likely they are a high enough grade that would eliminate the nickel (18/0).

If Stainless Steel isn’t Safe, What Can I Use?

I know this is frustrating. It seems like nothing is safe any more, so why even bother? What can I even use?

I have a few things that I use that are safe:

I’m also not a fan of glazed ceramic, like is used in slow cookers and other baking dishes, because it has been found that trace amounts of lead exist in all of those glazes. Now, trace amounts might not matter too much when it’s in your drinking glass… but I don’t want my hot food stewing in something that has any lead in it for hours on end.

So in my house, I primarily use these three materials, and my favorite is clay.

Unglazed clay is great for a lot of reasons, and my favorite way to cook with it is VitaClay.

  • Pure Zisha clay has no lead or heavy metals (3rd party lab verified)
  • No glaze means no added lead
  • Clay has excellent thermal heat retention properties
  • Clay has excellent nutrient retention properties
  • Clay preserves texture and flavor better than any other material
  • Clay employs infrared heat to cook the food faster and more safely than other methods

VitaClay is my favorite because it is a multi-cooker, and it makes cooking easy, quick, safe, and non-toxic! Plus it doesn’t heat up the house or run up the utility bills.

VitaClay is a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, broth maker, steamer, and reheater in one. It can do almost all of my cooking tasks quickly and more easily than with other methods.

The food in VitaClay comes out tasting better than cooking with any other material I’ve used, including stainless steel, non-stick, glass and cast iron. For some reason, food just tastes better when cooked in clay.

VitaClay is the best of all worlds–delivering safe, delicious food, home-cooked without the hassles, the stress or the mess. Most meals can be put together in less than 10 minutes, then VitaClay takes over, and dinner is ready when I am. It even has a preset feature that allows me to have steel-cut oats ready when I wake up in the morning!

And if you’re still thinking that Instant Pot will cook your food faster and more easily, think again! We tested several dozen recipes in both VitaClay and Instant Pot, and in most cases, the meals were cooked faster (not to mention with better results) in VitaClay! Why? Because that “15 minute” recipe quickly becomes 55 minutes when you take into account the 20 minutes it takes to pressurize and the additional 20 minutes it takes to de-pressurize. VitaClay, not being a pressure cooker, has none of that extra time added on and still cooks 50-75% faster than other slow cookers and multi-cookers.

VitaClay is truly my favorite kitchen appliance: it has replaced my slow cooker, my rice cooker, my yogurt maker, my microwave, and my stock pot… just to name a few. And the results are always better in clay.

Right now you can get 10% off any VitaClay cooker on the website with code NOURISH10 at checkout. So start saving today! If you’d rather order from Amazon, check it out here.

 

And please, if you do decide to use the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, always follow these safety tips to avoid explosions, burns or serious injury.

Resources:
Here is more information about Stainless Steel Cookware and the different grades that can be found.

Here is the 3rd party lab testing that has been done to ensure the unglazed clay used in VitaClay pots is free of lead and other heavy metals.

Check out Kara’s post at Deep South Crunchy Mom about the benefits of cast iron and why you should replace your non-stick pans STAT.

Check out the post from Sarah at Clean Living with Kids on glass bakeware and why glass is a great cookware option opposed to glazed ceramic, aluminum or other non-stick options.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

How to Purchase MONAT for the Best Price Possible

I’ve been using MONAT exclusively for the past 20 months… and my hair has been literally transformed.

My hair before was thin, flat, frizzy, dull, lifeless, weak and wouldn’t grow past my shoulders. I had to was it every day.

My hair now is full of volume, shine, manageability (just run a brush through it and go out the door!), thickness, and strength! I regularly go a week without washing my hair, and it’s grown halfway down my back!

Before MONAT I had terrible shedding: handfuls in the shower, and then I was shedding all day long, every day.

Now: I shed just a few hairs in the shower when washing, and rarely does a hair fall out during the day. Because of this fact alone, my hair has grown out at least twice as thick. I have thicker hair now than I ever thought possible!

Photos on the left: before MONAT. Photo on the right: about 11 months of exclusive MONAT use.Needless to say, I never want to use anything else…and I think everyone should try it too.

If you’ve been watching awhile you may be curious. You may want to try it but be hesitant.

At first glance, I thought this stuff was too expensive. I wasn’t going to try it. But then my friend who was using it talked about how concentrated it was, and how she was spending less money with MONAT than the other brands she had been using. She broke down the cost to about $12 per month. That didn’t sound bad, so I tried it. And as you can see, I am so glad I did.

Guys… my first bottle lasted me almost a year! I was shocked. I was amazed. I was sold for life.

I don’t care how cheap your current shampoo is… it is probably more expensive than MONAT when you factor in how long it lasts. The average bottle life is 4-6 months, for people who wash almost every day.

And most people find themselves washing less frequently with MONAT too: it just feels and looks clean longer (which also contributes to a longer life of each bottle).

Since MONAT offers a 30 day money back guarantee (even if your bottles are empty), there is no reason not to try it: you’ll save money, and you’ll love it: GUARANTEED, or your money back!

Is a Guarantee Important?

Personally, I always look for money-back guarantees in the products I buy for a few reasons:

  1. I want to know if I don’t like it I can get my money back. I like to buy quality products and that sometimes means they are pricey. If they are worth it, I will know that when I try them.
  2. Most things I buy these days are online. There is no real way to know for sure if something is as good as its claims until I try it. There has to be a guarantee.
  3. I want to purchase from a business that stands behind its products. If they are asking me to take all of the risk (buy with no guarantee), do I really trust this company?
  4. It tells me that this product will for sure be good. How can a company stay in business if they have a money back guarantee and their products aren’t great? They’d go out of business! You are literally guaranteed to love it.

3 Ways to Buy

Now that you know that you can save money with MONAT and that it’s guaranteed you will love it, let’s do it!

You will save money with MONAT over what you are doing, even if you buy retail. The prices are comparable with salon brands, but last much much longer (and what salon brand do you know that is money-back guaranteed??).

But who wants to pay retail?

Fortunately, there are a few great ways to get discounts:

  • Sales 
    MONAT has great sales, usually at least twice a month.  This summer sales have been ongoing–often overlapping! Sometimes concurrent sales can be combined for the best discounts I’ve ever seen!Reach out to me: Text “SALES” to  802-227-7051 and I’ll update you on the current offers!
  • Be a VIP Customer
    MONAT has the best customer loyalty program I have ever seen. Here are the benefits:

15% discount on all products — for life!
Access to all of our flash sales (2-3 every month) — save even more!
Free shipping with flash sale and flexship orders
No requirement to buy monthly — push your flexship out every 2 months — indefinitely
Free Only-for-You product with every flexship order ($25 value)
$25 in product credits every year on your birthday
Earn $20 in product credits for every referral

😍 How to Sign Up as a VIP Customer

Text “VIP” to  802-227-7051 and I will give you a link that will get you $20 off your second order too! I’d also love to chat with you to help you choose the best products for you at the best price possible. 

  • Get it Wholesale: Be a Market PartnerI think being a Market Partner (also called wholesale customer) is the best value overall and gives you the most flexibility with no commitment at all.

Here are the benefits:

✅ Wholesale prices — 30% off all products, all the time
✅ Access to all of our flash sales (2-3 every month) — save even more!
✅ Free shipping with flash sale and flexship orders 
✅ No sign up fee
✅ No minimum orders, ever
✅ No minimum sales, ever
✅ No automatic shipments
Tax deductions on your side hustle business (you can potentially save thousands of dollars on taxes)
✅ Earn commissions for every referral 
✅ Opportunities to earn cash bonuses every month
✅ Earn free products
Earn free vacations

And if you don’t want to earn money with it, you don’t have to! (But if you do want to, it’s a great business to be in. And what do you have to lose? You have to buy shampoo anyway so why not get it wholesale and get paid to tell your friends about it!) You can just be a wholesale customer with no requirements, minimums or expectations.

Just wholesale discounts. And whenever there is a sale, you get the sale discount on top of your wholesale discount–so you are saving money twice!

To become a Market Partner there are no fees or requirements: just buy a wholesale product pack and you are in!

There are 4 options. Check them out here!

To discuss which option is best for you and which products you should start with for your hair needs, text “MP” to 802-227-7051 and I’ll be happy to discuss any questions you have!

To review, there are 3 ways to order: 

One thing is for sure: you should try MONAT.

You won’t regret it.

And if you don’t like it, there is always a 30 day empty-bottle money-back guarantee! 

Text me today to find out how you can have the best hair of your life, and maybe even earn a living doing it!

 

More Resources:

Get Residual Income in 5 Easy Steps

Why Everyone Needs a Side Hustle (Hint: Save money on taxes and get a bigger refund!) 

What’s So Great About MONAT? 

Link to order MONAT as a Retail or Wholesale Customer

Referral Link to Order as a New VIP Customer (to get $20 off your 2nd order)

See What Sales Are going on Now (click “Start Now”)

Heard Rumors About MONAT? Find the Truth Here

Resesarch on the Safety and Effectiveness of MONAT’s ingredients

Spreadsheet listing MONAT shampoo ingredients and SkinDeep Ratings

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

This Common Kitchen Spice Could Cure Cancer!

There is a common (and easily obtainable) kitchen spice that has proven effective against disease, comparable with at least 14 popular pharmaceutical drugs.

It has…

  • No side effects.
  • Anti-oxidant properties
  • Great flavor
  • A bright color that can be used as a natural food color (dye Easter Eggs!)
  • Wide distribution to most supermarkets (and on Amazon!)
  • Convenient forms (powder, capsule, root)
  • Been used all over the world for thousands of years
  • Therapeutic healing properties for pain and inflammation
  • Antibacterial and skin wound healing properties

… there are even studies showing it could cure diseases like cancer!

Do you have this spice in your medicine cabinet?

What is this magical spice?

Turmeric.

Turmeric is the main ingredient in curries and gives them their bright colors and high antioxidant content. The main disease-fighting active ingredient is curcumin.

I constantly see studies popping up showing turmeric effective against cancer, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, inflammation, on and on and on.

And today I read an article that said turmeric has been confirmed to be as effective as 14 different pharmaceutical drugs (named in the article) against various health issues, ranging from diabetes to depression!

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Whenever I discuss the magical healing powers of one food or another, I am inevitably met with the question: “where are the scientific studies proving it?”

Well, in most cases, there is no motivation for a corporation to fund such a study, because their findings wouldn’t make them any money (and would probably work against them, since people would start popping cinnamon instead of blood sugar meds. Not much money in cinnamon these days).

But in the case of turmeric, there have been literally thousands of scientific studies conducted, proving its efficacy against hundreds of problems.

The best thing about turmeric is that it’s a delicious spice. I add it to everything:

  • Sprinkle it into soups, over stir fries and into smoothies
  • Add it to the liquid when making rice, quinoa or any other grain
  • sprinkle a bit into the batter of baked goods
  • sprinkle over eggs in the morning with fresh black pepper
  • Make a yummy turmeric drink from scratch or try this golden milk mix with heated coconut milk or other milk substitute as a nightcap

It can be added to almost anything. If you add too much, it is bitter–but a little here and a little there, and before you know it, you’re getting a good, healthy amount.

I like to buy the organic version, because like with everything else, its effectiveness is increased and there aren’t as many contaminants. If you are particularly adventurous, you can even buy the raw turmeric root, which can be added to dishes similarly to ginger (and it looks like an orange version of ginger root!).

I like to try to get a little bit of turmeric in every day, so i can experience constant benefits of the anti-inflammatory power of curcumin.

I always keep a bag of bulk turmeric on hand, and the most common way I use it is in my eggs for breakfast: I heat my cast iron skillet with a bit of oil, then I sprinkle turmeric and freshly ground black pepper into the oil before adding my eggs.

Studies have shown that the best way to unlock the healing potential of curcumin from turmeric is to add three things:

  • oil
  • heat
  • black pepper

Adding oil, heat and black pepper to turmeric whenever possible will boost the benefit and make it much more easily absorbed than just taking turmeric on its own.

So grab a jar of turmeric and see how easy it is to heal your body!


New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!


Gorgeous Hair Naturally: Regain Confidence and Save Money!

If you are anything like me, you do everything you can to keep yourself and your family healthy.

  • You eat organic
  • You exercise
  • You avoid fast food and processed junk food
  • You take vitamins
  • You limit your exposure to chemicals and toxins

You probably know by now that we are exposed to toxins from every side: from pollution in the air to the chemicals in our cleaning supplies to the food we eat and the body care products we use.

It has been found that over 70% of the things that touch our skin are absorbed into our bloodstream within about 26 seconds.

That’s a sobering thought, because in a typical day we touch a lot of things. 

You may be aware that the products we put on our skin, from lotions and perfumes to face washes and serums, are absorbed quickly and can affect our skin’s health and vitality.

But did you know that the skin on our scalps are just as sensitive as the skin on our faces?

The products we use on our hair matter: because we are absorbing those ingredients into our bloodstream and they are affecting the health of our scalps, our hair, and our bodies.

Knowing this, I looked for a long time for hair products that were natural: I needed something that didn’t damage my health but that cleaned my hair and made it look and feel healthy.

I also wanted to grow my hair longer, which had always been a struggle.

I tried everything I could find: from expensive salon products to health store brands and infomercial products. I was disappointed because the products either didn’t work in my hair (made it look or feel gross) or still had ingredients I didn’t feel good about.

My good friend and long-time blogger Ann Marie Michaels (of Cheeseslave.com) introduced me to a new hair care brand that she was crazy about.

It had:

  • no parabens
  • no sulfates
  • no harsh salt
  • no phthalates
  • no petroleum-based ingredients
  • no harmful colors
  • no harmful fragrances

It was naturally, botanically-based, and she was getting great results with her hair. And it’s vegan, cruelty-free and leaping-bunny approved!

Plus it was concentrated: so she was spending less than she ever had on her hair care products!

 

Salon quality results from a naturally based product and it’s going to save me money?

I wanted to try it.

She also told me it had a 30 day money back guarantee, even if I used the whole bottle.

I was ready to try it: what did I have to lose?

After the first wash, I knew I had found my shampoo. My hair was different. It felt stronger. Healthier. It looked better. Smoother. Softer. More manageable.

I loved it.

So I decided to join her team and tell people about this product that I had been searching for.

If you have been looking for a naturally-based hair care line without any of the harmful ingredients found in most brands, and you want your hair to grow stronger, longer, healthier and faster–you’ve found your brand.

Here are the benefits I’ve seen, beginning from the first wash:

  • Less frizz
  • Less damage, even using heat
  • Looks better, with or without styling
  • Dries 2-3 times faster after washing
  • More manageable
  • Softer
  • Smoother
  • Shinier
  • Stronger
  • Growing faster
  • More volume
  • Less shedding
  • No breakage or brittle hair

My hair is noticeably healthier from every aspect. 

And it has only gotten better the longer I’ve used it!

I was tired of compromising when it came to my hair–now I don’t have to!

I look like I just stepped out of a salon every time I step out of the shower– without compromising on ingredients or damaging my hair over time!

It always bothered me that hair commercials said, “Have healthier-looking hair.”

“Healthier-looking” hair?

Can’t I get hair that is actually healthy?

Now I actually have healthier hair: I can see it and I can feel it. And I have confidence because my hair always looks great, I can wash it less often, and it’s growing faster and stronger than ever before.

The smaller pictures on the right are before I started using these products. The bigger picture on the left is using them and air drying my hair by letting hit hang loose, which I’ve never been able to do before:

My hair is smoother, stronger, longer and healthier without any effort on my part.

Simply wash and go!

Here are my hair growth results from February to April (excuse the funny faces–they are screen shots from live videos documenting my #longhairchallenge):

My hair has consistently been growing almost two inches every month since I started using this shampoo! Since average hair growth is 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month, that is 4-8 TIMES the average growth rate of hair. And it’s growing longer than I could ever get it to grow before–no matter how hard I tried!

Now you’re probably thinking, “Sounds great, but it’s really expensive, right?”

Actually, I’m saving money over what I was using before.

Whether you are using salon-quality products or getting your shampoo at Target, there are several reasons to consider switching:

The shampoo you are using is mostly water.

Whether you use a drugstore brand or buy your shampoo from the salon, the product is 80% water, giving you only 20% of actual ingredients. No matter how good those ingredients are, that’s not a good value!

These products are 60% product, giving you three times more per bottle: which means an 8 oz bottle of this is like buying a liter bottle of anything else. Monat shampoo is literally a shampoo concentrate

Most shampoos and conditioners contain silicones and waxes

(even if they are free of sulfates and parabens)

The purpose of silicones, gums and waxes is to protect against heat; the problem is that these substances coat your hair and build up over time, causing all kinds of problems: dryness, brittleness, split ends and even hair loss.

So your hair is less manageable, takes longer to dry, and has to be cut more often because it’s unhealthy. 

More trips to the salon does not equal a lower cost.

If you want to check the ingredients of your bottle, anything ending in “-cone” is a silicone, and acts like plastic on your hair when you use heat, damaging it to the core.

Contrast: none of that in this brand.

I use a dime-sized portion for each wash: the first wash grabs build up and the second wash flushes it away, for a sqeaky-clean feel that lets you know the build-up is gone.

The brand is MONAT: the first anti-aging hair care line ever.

With all of these benefits and no additional cost, why wouldn’t you try Monat today?

30 Day Empty Bottle Money Back Guarantee

We are so sure you are going to fall in love with these products, you try any product for 30 days and receive a full refund if you are unhappy for any reason–even if you’ve used the whole bottle? 

Have you ever purchased a shampoo that offered that?

Wanna know a secret, though? There is a less than 1% return rate.

Now that’s a guarantee.

VIP customers get a free product with every flex-ship order. This month you can choose which one you want:

What are you waiting for? Get the best hair of your life, or your money back. Check out these amazing before & after pictures, posted by users:

Heal Damage

Get Back Manageability and Health

Create an Ideal Environment to REGROW HAIR!!

Bring Life, Shine, Bounce and Vibrancy to Color-Treated Hair! 

.

Tame Those Tangles and Bring back the Soft, Shiny Curls! 

Hydrate and Nourish: Perfect for Any Hair Type or Ethnicity!

What is Your Confidence Worth? 

As mentioned above, these products are so concentrated, they will last you for months–so you actually save money while getting the hair of your dreams!

Imagine what it will be like to turn heads because you have shiny, beautiful, healthy hair.

Imagine having hair that you can’t stop touching and that makes you look great in every picture.

Imagine frizz is a thing of the past, and having great hair, even when it’s air dried.

Imagine healthier, more vibrant hair with every wash.

Imagine how you’ll feel when you see people looking twice, three times when you walk by.

Imagine spending less time getting ready, and looking even better than before.

Imagine going longer between haircuts–growing your hair longer, faster without damage

Imagine what MONAT can do for you. 

To see this month’s offers, click here. Go to “Start Now” and click on your country. You will see the offers and prices available to you today.

There are three options if you are ready to buy, and discounts are available!

How could having the best hair of your life change everything for you? There are samples available if you need to try it first–but there is always an EMPTY BOTTLE Money-Back guarantee–try it risk free for 30 days and see what Monat can do for you!

Get the best hair of your life, or your MONEY BACK! 

(Scroll down for more details on each product and what it does for you.) 

If you have any questions about any of the products, my experience, or how to order, feel free to contact me by email, text (802-227-7051) or on messenger.

Here are some details on some of MONAT’s botanical, revolutionary products:

  • Rejuvenique Oil Intensive                                                                                           Abyssinian oil was the first ingredient selected for its remarkable rejuvenating properties. Next, a blend of 13+ unique ingredients, including antioxidants, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids was developed. Thus REJUVENIQE Oil Intensive was born. Think of it like replenishing your hair and scalp with much needed nourishment that tends to be removed through washing. Because REJUVENIQE is compatible with the skin, it is easily absorbed without leaving greasiness.This flagship product balances the scalp, resolving both dryness and oiliness and nourishing the hair and scalp. Use the Rejuveniqe Oil as an overnight treatment once or twice per week, then wash the next morning. You may find yourself washing your hair less often–which is better for your hair, your scalp, and your wallet!

Rejuveniqe Oil is also a luxurious anti-aging facial moisturizer and can even be used to help resolve skin issues such as psoriasis and other rashes. It’s very concentrated, so a few drops will do–and there are over 600 drops in each bottle. With over 101 uses, this is one versatile oil! (Message me and ask for the 101 uses and I’ll send it to you!)

  • Restore Leave-In Conditioner                                                                                        I love this lightweight leave-in conditioner because it weighs down my wispy, wavy hair just enough it make it look great: it’s great in combination with the air dry cream.
  • Revive Shampoo                                                                                                                                    Get volume and smooth, shiny style. This is the shampoo I use most often for my fine, thin, limp hair.
  • Revitalize Conditioner                                                                                                                 The other half of the Volume System, this is the most popular conditioner: strengthen and smooth your hair while nourishing it and cleansing out the build-up. It smells like heaven!
  • Tousled Texturizing Mist                                                                                                                    This fun styling product gives your hair the sexy, messy look like you’ve just come back from the beach.

Guys. This technology is pretty great: tiny (natural) beads penetrate your hair shaft and actually mend split ends! Makes hair smoother and mends damage so you can go longer between hair cuts and grow your hair long, strong and smooth!

This cream has been a game changer for me: now I can air dry my hair without using curlers or tying it up all day. My hair looks great air drying it loose, and it dries so much faster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love the idea of dry shampoo but have never found one you love, this is for you. Dry shampoos normally contain talc (carcinogen) and leave a white powder residue in your hair (not great for brunettes–which is why I’ve never used it).

This one doesn’t have talc and doesn’t leave a white residue. It lets you delay washing for another day and your hair still looks great–and nourishes your hair while doing it! Use it after going to the gym too for an effortless style.

PLUS it’s CFC-free, recyclable and doesn’t affect the ozone layer–and it’s not flammable (no butane or propane)!

This is the best hairspray I’ve ever used. The cleanest ingredients in a hairspray I’ve ever seen and doesn’t create the build up on your scalp that other hairsprays do. I also love the scent (and don’t worry — all the fragrances in MONAT products are safe).

PLUS it’s CFC-free, recyclable and doesn’t affect the ozone layer–and it’s not flammable (no butane or propane)!

In addition, when you sign up as a VIP customer now you will receive an additional free product at check-out and free shipping on your order!

*VIP benefits are below. This first order counts as your first flex ship.

More Resources:

More about MONAT: the company, the brand, the products

How to Buy genuine MONAT products and save the most money. 

How Non-toxic is it? See the Ingredients and Skin Deep Scores

Search this Group to Find Your Issue and See Which Products They Used (Everyone posts their own results here) 

A Review of WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner

Still have questions? Text me at 802-227-7051

or email me at leah@freedomandcoffee.com

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosure: many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

What is a Side Hustle? (And Why Everybody Needs One)

Have you ever looked at your paycheck and been frustrated with how much of it is taken out for taxes?

Have you ever thought what you could do with all of that extra money if you could actually keep more of what you are earning?

Have you ever wondered why you still have to pay more taxes in April, or why you’re not getting nearly enough money back on your tax returns?

You should get a side hustle.

A side hustle is any work you do “on the side.” Some examples are: cutting hair, mowing lawns, tutoring, or selling products. Side hustles are done on your own time for extra money.

You may already be involved in a side hustle and not even realize it.

But there’s more benefit to a side hustle than just earning a little extra cash.

Money you spend to fund your side hustle is tax deductible–AND some of your current expenses could also be tax deductible!

Did you know that you can also deduct expenses that you may not have thought of?

Some examples:

  • A portion of your rent or mortgage if you do any business or preparation for business at home
  • Mileage on your car if you ever use it to drive to and from places you do business or try to get new customers
  • Utilities
  • Internet bill
  • Cell phone bill

These kinds of expenses really add up. If you are paying these expenses anyway, and you can use a portion of them to deduct money from your taxable income, your tax bill not only shrinks, but you may bump yourself into a lower tax bracket.

We’re talking potentially thousands of dollars in tax refund money.

You might say:

“I don’t have time to do anything else.”

When you think about the tax savings, you can really see the potential: what if you were doing something that only took a few hours a week but saved you thousands of dollars on your taxes, PLUS the money you make doing what you’re doing?

Do you have time NOT to get a side hustle?

You might say:

“I don’t have money to invest in a new business.”

What if you could invest a couple hundred dollars and save a few thousand dollars on taxes, and make money on top of that? Do you have the money NOT to invest in that kind of side hustle? That’s a pretty great guaranteed return, no matter what business you are in.

Here is a simplified example of the kind of tax savings possible with a side hustle:

Say you make $65,000 per year. According to your tax bracket, you’d pay 25%, or $16,250 in taxes over the course of one year.

If you had a side hustle, let’s say you could write off $15,000 in expenses per year (car mileage, part of your rent or mortgage, a portion of your cell phone bill, purchases and supplies for your business, start-up costs. If you take a trip for your business, the tax-write off numbers could easily be higher).

It is acceptable to take a “loss” in a new business for up to the first 3 years of the business. If you don’t make any money on your business the first year, here is your new taxable income:

$65,000 – 15,000 =  $50,000 taxable income. 

Now you’ve bumped yourself into a lower tax bracket, which only taxes 12% of your income. Now you’re paying only 12% taxes on a total income of $50,000

$50,000 x 0.12 = $6000 taxes.

Originally you would have paid $16,250 and now you’re paying $6000. 

You just made $10,250!

And that’s without doing anything other than starting the business– and not including any money you make for your business.

These are all estimates and would vary based on your specific circumstances, but you can see how this works. 

How would an extra $10,250 per year change your life? 

Maybe you could pay off that credit card bill. 

Make several mortgage payments. 

Take a family vacation… or four. 

Get your Side Hustle On!

 If you don’t already have a side hustle, you should definitely get one. But what kind?

For anyone in search of the perfect side hustle for you, this is an excellent webinar that discusses all of the considerations to make when choosing your side hustle.

There are lots of things you can do, from tutoring to babysitting to mystery shopping. The way to really make money, however, is to sell things. And you need to find something to sell that people really want. If you sell something you love, you can even deduct some of the products you use on your taxes as well! After all, if you are selling something to people, you need to try it out so you can tell them how great it is!

The great thing about a side hustle is that it’s flexible, and it’s based on effort.

If you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t need to make a lot of money: perfect! Do a little here or there and make some extra cash while saving tons of money on your taxes.

If you dream of quitting your job and finally being financially free: PERFECT. You can totally do that.

A Slave to the J.O.B.

I love to talk about ways to save money, and even make a little money or bonuses doing things you already do–like shopping online.

Today I want to talk about something more powerful, though: residual income.

You know how….

you go to work and you get paid for the time you spend doing things they tell you to do?

 you can have a great job with lots of money and amazing benefits, but if you don’t show up to work, you don’t get paid (or lose your job)?

 your boss (or your company) can make you do things you don’t want to do because they have the power to take away your livelihood?

 rumors in the company about layoffs keep you up at night, worried what you would do if you lost your job?

The big corporations we work for have us at the end of a rope, and there isn’t much we can do about it. We need the money they are paying so we will do whatever it takes to earn it.

  • Hour-long commute in rush hour traffic.
  • Long days in a boring office sitting at a computer.
  • Eye, back, neck strain from sitting at a desk all day.
  • Doing the same thing every day.
  • Longing for that next vacation.

What choice do we have? We have to earn a living. We have bills to pay, kids to feed, Christmas presents to buy!

Where does all the money go?

Enter: Side Hustle

What if you could reduce your tax burden while increasing your income?

Most of us have jobs. A side hustle is an income “on the side.” Working for yourself! There are so many advantages to working for yourself: flexible schedule, tax deductions and extra income!

You can make your own hours–you can work as much as you want to, and you don’t have to quit your current job (unless you want to…).

There are so many benefits to getting a side hustle, you may be wondering why you don’t have one yet.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding on a side hustle:

  • If you could do something you love and get paid for it, what would that be?
  • How much money would you want to make to reach your goals?
  • What is your biggest motivation for finding a side hustle?
  • How could your family’s life change if you made an extra $1000 a month? An extra $5,000? $10,000?
  • What personal goals could be pursued or attained if you had financial freedom?

 The answers to these questions may bring you closer to the side hustle that’s perfect for you.

Of course, I have a couple of favorites, for very good reasons. I’d love to discuss with you why I chose them and why they are working for me!

Learn a little bit more about the ones I’m involved with here:

(Try it for yourself: get FREE samples!)

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! 

I love this webinar that goes through all of the things to consider when deciding on your perfect side hustle. Watch it here:

 What do you think? What kind of side hustle would suit you best?

 If you want some suggestions or tips on finding a side hustle, email me at leah@freedomandcoffee.com or message me on Facebook and we’ll discuss your goals and how you can achieve them!

Contact me by email (leah at freedomandcoffee dot com) or message me on Facebook to learn more about the side hustles I’m involved in and the side hustle that is perfect for you.

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosures:

Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

I am not an accountant, so please talk with your accountant or tax preparer for more details on the tax deductions for which you qualify. 

Bacteria Boom: What are Probiotics and Why are They So Popular?

Over the past couple of years, I noticed that the pastor at my church has had some health issues which made him him sometimes miss meetings, stay home sick from church on Sundays every once in awhile, and generally just not feel very well.

Thinking back, I remembered about two years ago he had a big infection and was hospitalized for several weeks. During that time, he was put on an aggressive course of antibiotics (as most sick people are, whether or not they have a bacterial infection).

I don’t know the details of this original illness, but I do know that he’s been suffering from digestive issues ever since, which have increasingly tormented him and prevented sleep at night, interfering with his work and ministry at church.

One day after hearing he was again missing meetings, I emailed him and told him my suspicion: the course of antibiotics resulting from his illness two years ago had wrecked his gut and had precipitated most (if not all all) of his current issues.

I recommended he try taking some high-quality probiotics.

I shared some articles and research, then gave some recommendations of how to choose a few good ones.

I told him to start slow (because there can be an adjustment period as “bad bacteria” die off and “good bacteria” begin to populate the gut–but nothing worse than the symptoms he was already experiencing).

Two weeks later my pastor approached me and said, “Leah, I’m a new man! I feel so much better! I’m sleeping better and I have energy and I don’t feel sick any more!”

Word began to spread at church, and now I have people approaching me with questions about their health all the time. I’m happy to pass along any knowledge and resources I have, because the information is all out there!

What are Probiotics? 

Probiotics are “beneficial” bacteria. In modern society, we’ve been conditioned to see all bacteria bad, foreign things that will make us sick, but this is simply not true. There are millions of bacteria that live with humans and animals in a symbiotic relationship: they benefit us, and we benefit them.

Why do We Need Them?

We don’t know the full scope of the symbiotic role that beneficial bacteria play, but we are beginning to understand how vital they are to our existence.

  • It is estimated that human bodies are made up of approximately 90% bacteria by volume. These microbes are everywhere: on our skin, in our sinuses, ears, mouths, in our guts… literally everywhere. These microbes do a good job of helping to regulate our bodies and keep them functioning properly, and in return, we feed them with the food that we eat or byproducts from our bodies, like skin cells and sweat.
  • A huge variety of our bacteria live in our digestive systems, or our “guts,” and researchers are discovering that at least 70-80% of our immune system is in our gut. Our guts have a huge influence on our overall health: both physical and mental.
  • Bacteria do a lot of work in our bodies, including helping to regulate hormones that control fat stores, skin issues, auto-immune response, fertility, available energy, and overall well-being.
  • Balance is key. We refer to bacteria as “good” and “bad” but really we just need a balance of the bacteria in our guts. The fact is, we all have “bad” bacteria such as E. Coli in our bodies, but if these bacteria don’t overrun our systems or multiply too quickly, they are not a threat. Even “good” bacteria can cause problems if there’s too much of it. Our bodies generally do a good job of regulating the population of bacteria, as long as we ensure we have a good variety of bacteria for our bodies to work with. As long as we have enough “good bacteria,” or probiotics, in our guts, they will fight off the “baddies” and keep our bodies balanced and healthy.

How Can I Get Them?

You may have noticed an array of probiotic supplements in your local health food store (and how expensive they are).

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a lot of expensive supplements to get a good balance of bacteria in your body. In fact, different fermented foods carry a large population of beneficial bacteria, and they are really easy to make, and to eat.

Yogurt is the most popular and widely-known source of probiotics, but not all yogurts are created equal.

Many of the yogurts on the store shelves are full of sugar (which feeds bad bacteria) and a lot of them even have harmful additives like carageenan (which has been found to cause cancer) to keep them refrigerator shelf-stable for weeks at a time.

Store bought yogurts can be a source of probiotics, but you need to know what to look for, and they shouldn’t constitute your only source of probiotics.

  • Look for “live and active cultures” on the container, and check the ingredients for which specific cultures are contained.
  • Find out if the yogurt has been pasteurized. Most yogurt is made with pasteurized milk, but even after it’s been turned into yogurt is then pasteurized again. Pasteurization will kill the beneficial bacteria that were necessary to make the yogurt, so they won’t benefit you.
  • Get organic. Yogurt is made from milk, and if the milk is not organic it will contain antibiotics and hormones that were given to the cows. These substances are detrimental and even toxic to our bodies, and can cause hormonal imbalances and antibiotic resistance in the long run.
  • Get plain and unflavored yogurt. You may not like the taste of plain yogurt, but you can add fresh fruit and honey for flavoring, instead of consuming a lot of extra added sugars.
  • Get whole milk yogurt. Studies have shown that low-fat dairy products do not contribute to weight loss and may actually cause weight gain. The full-fat options allow your body to more efficiently process the beneficial fat-soluble vitamins in the yogurt, and the fat will make you feel full longer, so you’ll eat less overall.
  • Check the ingredients. In addition to checking for live and active cultures, make sure your yogurt doesn’t have any additives like carageenan, sugar, color, or anything else. Ideally, it should just be milk and a culture.

Did you know? 

Yogurt is so easy to make. Yogurt makers are inexpensive and make it easier, but you don’t even need one to make yogurt. My favorite yogurt is clay-batch yogurt, which I make in VitaClay.

VitaClay has a built-in yogurt maker in most models.

VitaClay Personal Yogurt Maker and Slow Cooker

All you have to do is load in milk and a yogurt culture and press “yogurt” and a few hours later you’ll have the best yogurt you’ve ever tasted, and a starter batch to make more!

Kefir is a milk-based probiotic beverage that is also known as “drinkable yogurt.” Kefir often contains different bacteria than yogurt, and sometimes at greater quantities per serving. If you’re buying kefir from the store, apply the same checks as listed above for yogurt. Add kefir to smoothies or drink it plain–it tastes like buttermilk.

Incidentally, my father suffered from terrible seasonal allergies for over 60 years. My mother read about kefir and started making it at home, and he hasn’t had a problem with allergies since!

Homemade Sauerkraut: cheap, easy to make, and loaded with probiotics!

Other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, natto and miso contain other probiotics that are beneficial, and they are delicious additions to your diet. Sauerkraut is super easy to make, and two ounces of homemade sauerkraut contains exponentially more beneficial bacteria than a whole bottle of store-bought probiotics, for pennies on the dollar!

Chop up the ingredients for salsa, then just add a little whey and let it sit on the counter for a couple of days–you won’t believe the healthy zing!

Additionally, lots of things can be fermented: I’ve fermented homemade salsa, which was super easy and so delicious! I’ve also seen recipes for fermented carrots, onions, cucumbers (pickles!), and even guacamole! The possibilities are endless! (Wild Fermentation link)

If you don’t want to make these fermented foods at home and would rather buy them, follow the rules listed under yogurt, and make sure they have live and active cultures (which is, after all, the whole point). Also watch for additives such as MSG and citric acid, in addition to those listed for yogurt.

Probiotic Supplements

Overall, I think that many probiotic supplements are a waste of money. As discussed above, the probiotics in just one serving of homemade sauerkraut can contain more good bacteria than an entire bottle of store-bought bacteria! This generally applies to lacto-based bacteria, however, which are the type contained in yogurt and most fermented foods. These bacteria are good, and you should definitely get them. If you absolutely don’t want to ferment anything at home, go ahead and buy them.

A few great brands to consider are: 

I recommend going to a health food store with high-quality probiotics rather than trusting a drugstore brand.

AND! Check out this really great database that can help you determine which probiotic strains may help you the most based on your current symptoms and struggles!

Look for a bottle that lists the type of bacteria included and a guaranteed number of live bacteria per serving (usually listed in the billions CFU). The higher the number, the more bacteria it will contain (and very high numbers will require a slower breaking in period, which you can discuss with the worker at the health food store). These higher-quality probiotics will cost more, but this is a classic case of getting what you pay for, and what we want here is results.

Probioitics I buy

My one exception to the “store-bought probiotics are a waste of money” rule is in the category of soil-based probiotics. Here’s why: the lacto-based probiotics like those found in yogurt, sauerkraut and other ferments are so easy to make and so delicious to eat that there’s no reason to pay expensive store prices for a shelf-stable inferior product.

Soil-based probiotics, however, are different strains that have a different effect in our bodies: they go deeper into the gut and contribute differently to immunity. So we need both, but soil-based are found in soil, as the name implies.

In antiquity, people got a good amount of soil in their diets from digging up veggies and eating them.

These days, I don’t trust the soil as far as I can throw it. It’s been compromised with pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical drugs, and all manner of other toxins from our waste water and runoff. Even if I were inclined to eat soil (I’m not), it would probably do much more harm than good.

So when it comes to soil-based probiotics, I will purchase them from a reputable company that can guarantee their purity, quality, and effectiveness–even if they are expensive. I’ve listed below a few soil-based probiotics on which I have done research. I trust them to deliver a safe, effective, quality product.

What About Prebioitics?

Prebiotics are the “food” for beneficial gut bacteria that already live in our guts. And since not all gut bacteria can be supplemented with probiotics, it’s a great idea to get some good prebiotics in your diet as well.

As a matter of fact, you probably already do get some prebiotics, as they are often soluble fiber found in fruit.

There are also symbiotic prebiotic-probiotic supplements that you may find beneficial, especially if you have recently taken antibiotics or had some digestive problems. Here’s one I like because it includes a prebiotic in drink form, a probiotic with several different types of strains, and a real food multi supplement. 

One Last Thing

Since probiotics by their nature will multiply in our guts, it is unnecessary to take the same one every day of your life (though it is a great practice to ensure you are always getting plenty of prebiotics so your gut population can flourish). In fact, it’s better to switch them up, comparing the ingredients to ensure you get different bacteria with each different supplement.

Once a bacteria colony is established in your gut, it will likely be there awhile, so after you’ve taken one for a month or two, you can move on to a different one with different strains. You may want to double back to one you like in a few months or in a year to make sure that colony is still thriving, but overall, your body will maintain those bacteria once they are established (until they are killed off by antibiotics or toxins in the diet).

Read this article about how different strains may help different health issues.

Resources:

Humans: 10% Human and 90% Bacterial
Our Bodies, Our Health, Our Gut Bacteria  (Cornell)
5 Quick Tips For Healthy Guts And A Healthier Immune System
The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet (Johns Hopkins)
Gut microbes closely linked to proper immune function, other health issues
How to Repair Your Gut After Antibiotics
Why Antibiotics Today Could Threaten Your Life Tomorrow
Antibiotic overuse: Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria
Is Carrageenan Safe?

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosure: Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks! 

Ginger Tea: Your New Best Friend in the Winter (Plus a Hot Toddy Recipe!)

My step-daughter Lexi recently had an issue with her foot: it was swollen, painful and difficult for her to walk. Being in college, that is a big problem. She was forced to use crutches for several weeks, she was in constant pain, and she was at the mercy of whatever her doctors told her.

My husband and step-daughter on a daddy-daughter date in San Francisco.

It was clear her doctors didn’t know what was causing it: she was getting contradictory opinions and diagnoses, and all they could really do was prescribe pain meds.

My husband works out several times a week at the gym, as well as playing softball games twice a week, visiting the batting cages, playing flag football, and coaching sports teams. Needless to say, he often has sore, tight, or stiff muscles.

I’m usually cold. I have to carry a jacket everywhere, and when it starts to get cold in the fall I end up catching a chill and eventually getting a head cold or sinus infection as a result.

What if I told you there is a cheap, easy, and delicious way to relieve all three of the above issues, and many more?

GINGER

Ginger is a rock star in the world of natural healing and “food as medicine.”

  • Ginger is an anti-inflammatory: inflammation causes most of the pain and disease we experience
  • Ginger boosts the immune system: fend off that cold & flu virus going around
  • Ginger warms up the body: ward off chills and stay toasty in the winter!
  • Ginger breaks down toxic build-up in the body
  • Ginger improves cardiovascular health
  • Ginger relieves nausea and improves digestion: even nausea from motion sickness!
  • Ginger lowers cholesterol
  • Ginger works with fiber from your diet to cleanse your digestive tract
  • Ginger balances blood sugar
  • Ginger is a pain reliever: studies have found it even more effective than over-the-counter pain meds when taken every day!
  • Ginger can reduce the risk of cancer
  • Ginger is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal: it helps your body fight infections
  • Ginger can ease nasal discomfort: and serve as an alternative to decongestants and allergy meds
  • Ginger may rev up body fat loss: it ramps up your metabolism by raising your body temperature, encouraging your body to burn fat
Ginger does so many things!

So how can you get it in you? You can cook with it–I love the subtly sweet-hot flavor it adds to dishes. There are ginger candies you can eat as well–they’re a little spicy but pretty good! Or you can drink it as a tea!

Ginger tea is not actually tea, it’s an infusion of ginger in water. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients for Ginger Tea

  • Fresh ginger root
  • 4-5 cups Pure filtered water

Directions for Ginger Tea

  1. Cut the fresh ginger into slices, using about one inch total
  2. Add the ginger and water to a saucepan and boil for 10-15 minutes
  3. Strain out the ginger and use the “ginger tea” that results

You can also buy ginger tea bags, or other ginger-infused products such as these ginger-honey crystals.

Ginger tea can be enjoyed hot or cold: you can even make a big batch in the summer and refrigerate it for a refreshing beverage with health benefits, or use it to make ginger lemonade!

It’s great sweetened with honey and with lemon, or you can use the “ginger water” in other things: like if you make herbal tea (I love this one) at night, use the ginger water instead of regular water to add ginger’s health benefits without the flavor–you’ll just taste the tea!

You can also use ginger water as the base for soups, stews, or other beverages. It can be used in place of water in a lot of recipes, and be swapped out for water when making rice, quinoa, or oatmeal. You can even use it when you make hot cocoa!

Some people (and kids) don’t love the strong taste of ginger. My friend Jennifer over at Home on the Meyerstead came up with this really great honey-based throat elixir that is great for kids–it’s sweet and sour with a great flavor, but also has the benefits of ginger, along with lemon and honey! It’s delicious–so much better than cough medicine but works just as well–and it’s a great tasting and nutritious ready-made add-in for tea!

When I feel a chill or get a tickle in the back of my throat, I make this delicious hot toddy and it warms me right up:

Ingredients for Healing Hot Toddy

  • 2-3 cups hot ginger water
  • 2 T lemon juice (if using a fresh lemon, throw in the whole lemon slice to get some of the benefits of the rind and zest)
  • 1-2 T raw organic honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • A splash of whiskey (about 1 oz)
  • 1-2 oz Elderberry tincture or a spoonful of Elderberry syrup
  • 2 T Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of real salt (for electrolytes and flavor)

Directions for Healing Hot Toddy

  1. Add all ingredients to hot ginger water
  2. Stir and add to two mugs

I love this hot toddy because it warms my whole body up right away–

perfect if I’ve caught a chill.

It also tastes great! it’s like hot apple cider, thanks to the apple cider vinegar.

It’s the perfect immune-boosting nightcap!

It’s even better to pair up this hot drink with a detox bath at night before you go to bed or when you feel sick.

My step-daugter Lexi said the ginger tea helped relieve pain in her foot as it was healing, too!

Ginger is an age-old remedy that really works as a warming, soothing, anti-inflammatory food, and it’s very inexpensive and easy to use! Grab some ginger next time you’re at the store and get to healing!

 

Read more about how to boost immunity and stay well during the winter:

Caught a chill? Take a Detox Bath! 

Make Your Own Elderberry Tincture: Stay Healthy and Ward off Cold & Flu Season! 

Plus: Watch “5 Top Ingredients to Add to Your Detox Bath

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosure: Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks! 

Healthy Saturday Morning Breakfast Sausage!

Most Saturday mornings my husband and I like to go to breakfast. It’s a lazy, indulgent thing we do that allows us to carve out time at least once a week–we connect and just relax a bit after the hectic week.

My second favorite thing to do is to make a big breakfast for the family and a few friends on Saturday morning. This usually only happens on holidays, but it’s such a warm, fun time I wonder why we don’t take time to do it more often.

The smell of coffee, bacon, pancakes, eggs, sausage….

Mmm… coffee.

Coffee Break! Okay, I’m back.

There’s something about breakfast sausage: a unique flavor, juicy and delicious–sometimes I like it even more than bacon!

Breakfast sausage is one of those things I almost never eat, however. Why? Though it’s everywhere: in the meat section, in the freezer section, on every breakfast diner menu… pork is a meat that can be contaminated with a lot of toxins. Because toxins build up in fatty tissue, and pork is full of fat, I tend to stay away from it.

Don’t get me wrong: I love fat. But only if it’s from a clean source. Strangely, as ubiquitous as pork is, it’s pretty difficult to find pork from a clean source. Even organic bacon is not easy to find, and the stores that do carry it are out of stock half the time.

I’ve been wanting to make breakfast sausage for a long time, but I had some difficulty sourcing organic ground pork. Finally I found some at my health food store, so I stocked up and went on the search for the best breakfast sausage recipe.

With a little tweak here and there (I can’t ever just leave a recipe alone) I think I’ve finally got the perfect breakfast sausage. I’d like to share it with you, just in time for Saturday morning brunch!

 

Ingredients for Saturday Morning Breakfast Sausage

Ready to freeze

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients (you might want to use your hands to get all the spices incorporated)
  2. Pan fry patties ( I love using my cast iron skillet!) and serve along other breakfast food
  3. Form patties on parchment and freeze, then bag if not using all of it

Cook it up in cast iron!

Most sausage recipes don’t call for soy sauce, but I love to add a splash (tamari and shoyu types are great because they are traditionally made, have excellent flavor, and they’re usually gluten free)–that umami flavor just adds an extra punch. It also adds a little bit of moisture to the meat.

These little sausage patties freeze well or will keep in the fridge up to a week.

I’d love to see pictures of your homemade sausage!

Pin them, post them on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram!

What’s your favorite breakfast tradition?

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosure: Many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks! 

To Drink or Not to Drink: A Coffee (Mate) Story

For a beverage, coffee is very controversial in the health community.

A few years ago as we were carpooling to a retreat, a friend of mine said, “Guess what?! I quit coffee!”

Knowing that I am in the field of natural health, she thought this would impress me.

She explained that she’d been getting terrible, migraine-level headaches and she quit coffee to see if that could be the culprit. The headaches stopped, and she was proud of herself for finding the answer.

I dug a bit further.

What kind of coffee do you drink? Do you make it at home? What do you put in it?

She told me she makes it at home and uses regular coffee from the store. She loves to put a flavored non-dairy creamer in it every day, because it “tastes so good!”

Ah ha! Yes, there it is.

I told her I thought it was great that she’d cured her headaches, but from my research coffee isn’t a terrible thing: there have even been studies that show protective benefits against cancer and other diseases.

The problem is probably the coffee creamer–look at those ingredients! No milk whatsoever: a laundry list of unpronounceable additives, colors, thickeners and flavors. I’d be willing to bet that’s your issue right there.

Try drinking coffee with just milk or cream and see if you still get a headache.

My friend has happily been enjoying coffee ever since, headache-free.

So, is Coffee Bad or What?

Coffee: people either love it or hate it. Most of my friends who don’t drink coffee are rather proud of themselves that they don’t need “that crutch” every morning. The Weston A. Price Foundation, who I respect for nutritional information, doesn’t recommend coffee at all (don’t even try to talk about coffee on one of their many forums: you’ll get a stern talking-to).

Some people do have an issue with the caffeine. My cousin loves coffee, but always drinks decaf because she can’t handle the caffeine. Personally, I have always loved the taste of coffee but didn’t drink it regularly until after my son was born. After that I began to crave the taste of it.

Some nights I want to go to sleep early so I can wake up and drink coffee. I just love it: the taste, the warmth, the feeling.

Like other foods that people have been enjoying for thousands of years, coffee is a traditional food. As such, I have no problem with it. In recent years headlines have gone to both extremes:

coffee is an addictive toxin–stay away! 
Coffee may prevent colon cancer!
 Coffee will kill us all–it’s a drug!

It’s fun to watch the media go back and forth on these issues, but I prefer to do my own research and see how a food affects me personally before I make a decision to give up something I really enjoy.

About a year ago I started to get anxious for no reason. My chest felt tight and I just felt stressed out, even though nothing was really going on. My neck was starting to hurt and my heart would sometimes beat irregularly.

I thought it was the coffee. I’d have to give it up.

So I stopped drinking it for awhile, and I felt better. But what do I drink in the morning? I’d sometimes drink a matcha latte or a cup of broth, but it just wasn’t the same. So I went to decaf, finding an organic water-processed one that I liked.

Did you know coffee is decaffeinated using a chemical cocktail that leaves a residue on the coffee beans? That’s why I always look for water-processed when I buy decaf.

In the end, I found a chiropractor that took some X-rays and showed me that I could benefit from spinal adjustment, and those symptoms of anxiety, tightness and irregular heartbeats have subsided, even while drinking my regular coffee.

Yay! Coffee wins again!

Now I am free to enjoy my morning cup without fear or guilt.

And if you like coffee and don’t suffer any ill effects, I think you should, too.

There are a some things to keep in mind with coffee, however. Here are a few:

Conventional coffee is loaded with pesticides.

Buy organic so you don’t get a nice swig of toxins with your morning Joe. There are so many options these days–you can find organic coffee in virtually every coffee option there is: ground or whole bean, dark or light roast, flavored or unflavored, caf or decaf.

 

For decaf: get water-processed.

The de-caffeination process typically involves harsh chemicals and solvents. If you want to avoid those chemicals, look for “water-processed” decaf–many of the organic versions are already water processed.

It’s also best to get single-origin coffee

Because coffee is such big business, most coffee is sold in “blends” and the coffee beans may have come from all over the world. So if any one of those batches of coffee was contaminated with a mold or other coffee crop blight, your whole coffee blend is affected. Getting single-origin coffee reduces the risk of that happening.

Buy whole beans and a grinder.

Freshly ground beans taste so much fresher than pre-ground; I can really taste the difference! Try it and I think you’ll agree it’s worth the extra few seconds to grind your beans every morning.

Grinders are inexpensive and easy to use. Lately I’ve been having fun grinding my own beans in this manual burr grinder.

Use real ingredients.

I love to add a lot of healthy things to my coffee: like whole raw milk, gelatin powder, coconut oil, butter, Ceylon cinnamon and Real Salt. Sometimes I even add a pastured raw egg. It’s a regular real-food smoothie by the time I’m finished–so much better than any coffee shop!

Get an immersion blender

Especially if you’re adding a bunch of ingredients to nutrition-out your coffee like I do–you’ll be so glad you have this super handy tool. It’s also great for mixing up soups, pancake mix, and other recipes–and very easy to clean.

 

Don’t drink it black or on an empty stomach.

The absorption of caffeine in coffee can be slowed by eating something and by adding some fat to your coffee, in the form of milk, cream, coconut oil, butter, gelatin, etc. So mix it up!

Here’s how I make my bullet-proof(ish) coffee every morning:

Tell me:

How do you like your coffee?

Or what do you drink instead?

 

New to Freedom & Coffee? Start here.

Disclosure: many of the product links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from any purchase. I only recommend products that I love and this is at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our mission with your clicks!

Who I am

When I was 32 years old

I lost a baby. I remember laying on the stretcher on December 22, getting wheeled to the ambulance in the freezing cold at 3:00 am thinking, “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.”

Losing that baby at 23 weeks gestation was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me.

 After that happened, though, I finally felt like a “real” adult for the first time in my life. As traumatic as it was, I rose out of that experience finally feeling like I had grown up. I was an adult. I was no longer afraid. I wasn’t intimidated by other people, no matter how “powerful” they are. It gave me a perspective on life that I value. It was a leveling field.

Every person has value,

and not only that: every person has the same value. Every person is strong, and every person is weak. Every person has influence, and every person uses it for good and uses it for bad. This maturing process happens at different times in life for everyone, and for some it never comes, but when it does, I suppose it is usually called wisdom.

Fear used to strangle me.

I was afraid of everything: afraid of risk, afraid of danger, afraid of other people. Fear ran my life. Since that pivotal moment in my life, fear no longer controls me. I’ve learned that fear is nothing: it’s just a perception, and it is all in my mind. It’s not real.

If I can go through the death of my child and come out strong, I can do anything. There is no longer anything in this world to fear. Even the most powerful person is just another person. What can they do to me?

”Don‘t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.

In America we’re all about freedom.

So why do we feel stuck in our lives, unable to change anything? Maybe you feel stuck in your job, your income level, your lifestyle. Maybe you were diagnosed with cancer or diabetes and you think it’s a death sentence. Maybe you feel cornered in a marriage that isn’t what you thought it would be. Maybe you feel trapped by your body and want to break free of your weight, or your fatigue, or your pain.

Come with me and break free.

Freedom: where you don’t have to be afraid! Cancer is not a death sentence and you take back control of your health and your destiny. Where you don’t care what anyone thinks; you can work for yourself and make MORE money. Where you are not afraid of anything and . Where you don’t depend on any person, any thing or any company to give you what you need.

Let’s find Freedom.

Health Freedom. Financial Freedom. Coffee Freedom. Freedom Freedom.