Sun Sun Sun!

New Englanders have been complaining about the winter forever.  Even friends of mine in far off lands have commented to me on our struggle against the fluffy white.  Attractive happy woman joying in beautiful summer day.

Not anymore folks! The sun is out in Massachusetts and we’re soaking it up. We’re out in force, filling up the parks and playgrounds, riding bikes, hiking, and playing in the ocean well before we really should. The sun makes all the difference here, and I think we do spring better than anyone- we deserve it, right?!

Yet heading out into the sun can be complicated.  On one hand, the sun is a source of much-needed vitamin D and generally makes us feel good.  On the other hand, folks can easily burn when it gets strong enough.  While burning isn’t good for anyone, some sun exposure is great for health.

In order to limit burning, I suggest getting early season sun so that your skin has a base tan during periods of low intensity.  As the sun gets stronger, limit sun exposure to the mornings and late afternoons always avoiding the sun midday.

Yet it’s hard to avoid burning at the beach and light-skinned folks can have a hard time even on a normal afternoon.  For those situations I recommend either clothing and sunscreens where your clothes don’t cover.  Please remember, not all sunscreens are made equal!  Remember that your skin is not a barrier and so anything you put on it goes directly into your body.  I suggest putting nothing on your body that you wouldn’t/couldn’t eat.

Fear not- you don’t have to make sunscreen yourself, rather there are several brands that fit the bill. The place to go is the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  They’ve done a great job vetting the hundreds of brands out there, and they’ve ranked them all.

Here is a list of the brands that meet the EWG criteria.

Here is a list of brands that you should definitely avoid.

Do you research and enjoy those great outdoors!

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She should sell this stuff

Cereal: one of the hardest things to give up when making the change to a real food way of life.  I won’t get into it now, but lets just say that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize many of the “breakfast cereals” on shelves nowadays as food, many of which really look more like toys than food.  You know who you arIMG_0764e, Lucky Charms!

My family is now used to an eggs-for-breakfast way of life, with the occasional soaked-flour-pancake-morning mixed in, and we all are happy.  Yet when we go to grandparents houses or visit other friends/family, my kids gobble down bowls of cheerios like they had never before eaten.  How is it possible, when they’ve had only a handful of interactions with such things that they’re so enchanted?  Maybe its the cold milk combined with the crunch & slurp.  Maybe its the sugar.  Whatever it is, they gobble while I turn my head and mentally vow to get some liver in them when we get home.

Then along comes my friend Liz, who casually mentions her soaked granola when we were over for dinner.  After one taste, yum!   When I tried it at home, there were 8 hands nibbling from the trays as they cooled.  This will be what saves us on sleepy mornings during the school week.  Since she’s not selling this, I bring to you Liz’s soaked granola recipe:

Note: in typical fashion, I didn’t have the right seeds/nuts on hand, so I subbed in cashews for almonds, and simply omitted the pumpkin & walnuts.  It still worked great!  My kids love to put raisins on top too- anything with toppings pleases the little ones.

Liz’s Soaked Granola

Soak 6 cups organic rolled oats in water (just enough to barely cover) and six tablespoons yogurt or whey overnight. Soak one cup sliced almonds in water with one tablespoon yogurt or whey.

The next morning, dry oats and almonds at 200.  It takes roughly 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

When oats and almonds are dry, add in:
1 c. Sprouted sunflower seeds (if you don’t have sprouted, soak overnight in the same manner as the almonds)
1 c. Sprouted pumpkin seeds  (same as above, if you don’t have sprouted)
1 c. Shredded coconut
1 c. Pecans or walnuts, crushed

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

3 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 c. Olive oil (can use just coconut oil if preferred).
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt only if nuts are unsalted, otherwise omit.
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix wet & dry ingredients together, then bake on baking sheets at 300 for 20-30 minutes.  I baked at 325 and it worked, but browned quick so you’ll need to be ready to take it out at 15-20 minutes or less- keep a close eye on it.  Mix every 10 minutes.  When out of the oven, mix in 4 tbsp of ground flax seeds.  Enjoy!