INTERVIEW WITH TAESHA BUTLER - THE NATURAL NURTURER

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Here at Pleni Naturals we are always thinking about fruits and vegetables, in our products and on the table here at home! One of my favorite healthy living bloggers is Taesha Butler who is "The Natural Nurturer". When she was open to letting me interview her for a blog post I was thrilled! Her recipes are above all else, incredibly family friendly, which is so important when you have little ones at home who can be tricky about their fruits and vegetables. I hope you enjoy the interview below and the insider view into Taesha's easy, approachable and delicious family friendly meals!
Tell us a little bit about your blog and why you started it.
My blog, the Natural Nurturer, is my little chunk of the internet geared towards empowering parents and caregivers to feed and raise their families as healthfully as possible….in the real world. I started it about 3 years ago when I was a young busy working mom. People would often tell me that I made healthy living look easy and I would say that anyone could do it with a little creativity and a few good tricks up their sleeve. Soon I saw that there was a real need for easy quick recipes that were nourishing and family friendly. And The Natural Nurturer was born! As the years went by, my passion for teaching and raising children in a natural way has started to poke its way into the blog and my blog has started to evolve into a natural parenting resource.    

When did you discover your love of cooking?     

I have always loved to cook. I was my mom’s right-hand man in the kitchen all growing up and I am so lucky she passed the knowledge of cooking onto me. It has not only allowed me to provide nourishing home cooked meals for my family, but has also become my creative outlet. I invite my own daughter into the kitchen whenever she wants to pass on the skill and love.

I personally love all of your recipes and have so many saved to Pinterest! What is the inspiration for your recipes?     

Honestly, life. Most of what I share is exactly what I find myself cooking my family on any given day. My daughter has hit a “picky phase” of eating, which inspired me to start developing more recipes that have veggies worked into them…so even those picky eaters are getting their veggies in.  I also love making over classic, not-so healthy recipes into to something easy and nourishing! Whenever I create a new recipe, I aim to have it be something easy to make and healthy for the body…and delicious, of course!        

Do you have a favorite recipe you have created? Can you share it with us?    

Oh that is hard to pick! I have lots of different favorite ones! But the one I make time and time again is my Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken. I make it at least a couple of times a month and it’s my go-to recipe to feed a crowd! I love how cost efficient is it to cook a whole chicken over just breast or thigh meat and you can use the bones to make your own homemade bone broth! You get my bang for your real food buck.    

What are your top 3 kitchen items/gadgets you cannot live without (and why?)        

My blender for sure. You will notice a lot of my baking recipes are mixed entirely in my blender. Real food cooking can create A LOT of dishes, so I cut corners where I can to save how much time I have to hang out in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up. So I started mixing batters in my blender to save time and mess.
Next would be cast iron skillets. They live on top of my stove…I don’t even both putting them away because they are used at every meal! They are the most traditional and oldest kitchen “gadget” and I love how they cook my food. Plus, the non-toxic chemicals to worry about in coatings and such…like some other cookware out on the market.
And lastly, my slow cooker. Dinner wouldn’t happen some nights without my slow cooker! I have a lot of slow cooker recipe on my blog because I have found it to be my secret weapon in the kitchen. I am a full-time teacher, so some days I come home late or extra tired. Its nice to have dinner already cooked and ready to go on those days.     

What are some favorite veggies in your home and how do you prepare them for your family?        
I always always have spinach and kale in the house. So much goodness in greens that I want to get into my family! I throw those in everything from smoothies to pasta sauce and even in meatloaf and muffins! Broccoli and brussels sprouts are also always on hand. They are my daughter’s favorite veggies and our family’s favorite way to enjoy both is roasted! Roasting veggies maintains many of the nutrients but also cuts the bitterness of veggies!
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CONVERSATION with MADE SAFE

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Allyson Owens - Founder of Pleni Naturals - recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Cassidy Randall, Director of Marketing and Business Development for MADE SAFE. Watch below!

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Bath Time With Pleni Naturals - Chapter 4

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Erin Turner from the clean living blog The Grass Skirt recently featured Pleni Naturals! We love what Erin has to say about all three children's products but reading this on her blog made us extra happy:
"When you have three kids ages 4 & under, bath time is like an assembly line.  Even with natural body washes and shampoos, suds seem to get into and sting their eyes as I am rushing down the line.  I kid you not, Pleni Naturals is the first and only brand that I’ve used on my children that did not result in tears due to burning eyes.  It is just that gentle."
Click here to read more and to find out which product is Erin's equivalent to Windex (insert My Big Fat Greek Wedding reference here :).
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Interview with Amy Ziff - Founder of MADE SAFE

Posted by Allyson Owens on

Creating a non-toxic home has been so important to me; especially since having kids. My eyes are now wide open to the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. It's completely overwhelming to learn/spend hours researching if a product is truly safe from harmful chemicals. I am so grateful for the amazing Amy Ziff, founder of the non-profit MADE SAFE for making it easy for consumers to know if a product is well, made safe and without nasty toxins!  MADE SAFE is the first non-toxic seal that screens products we use on a daily basis in our homes from personal care to baby products to household items and beyond! Amy's goal with MADE SAFE is to change the way products we use everyday are made for the better so we can all lead healthier lives! A little bit more about Amy:

Tell us a little about your story and why you started MADE SAFE?

I started Made Safe because I'm the Mom of twins who, when they were born, were allergic to seemingly everything! Even things I didn't know you could be allergic to, from creams to diapers to baby wash the hospital sent me home with, even a breast feeding pillow I used! At first I started trying to figure out what they were allergic to and stop their reactions, but what I ultimately learned was that the things we surround ourselves with on a daily basis can be filled with a multitude of harmful chemicals that impact our health and well-being. I also learned that the more you avoided these toxins, the more likely you were to increase your health and well-being. It seemed kind of obvious that a person would want to avoid carcinogenic ingredients as well as other ingredients linked to decreased neurological performance, fertility issues later in life, even obesity and diabetes ­– especially where kids are concerned. While I thought there must be someone guarding store shelves from toxic products, I learned that - in fact -  there is no single entity or agency responsible for doing that. I thought it was high time that changed, so I decided to do something about it. And that's when Made Safe was born. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with the MADE SAFE seal? 

There have been so many! We are very proud to be working with so many incredible brands, offering healthy solutions to concerned parents, and fostering change for the way products are being made in this country and around the world. 

What has been your biggest challenge? 

Our biggest challenge is to get the word out about our work when we have virtually no marketing budget. (Hint, spread the word to those you love so they can buy healthy products.) 

Tell us about your TEDx Talk!

I was invited to give a TEDx talk this year and it was one of the most intimidating things I've ever been asked to do! But the opportunity was awesome, and it was incredibly rewarding to share the MADE SAFE vision for a safe and sustainable future. [Watch for yourself and learn how you can help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX_cF3gSERY]

What would be the first, most important baby product to switch, for a family new to transitioning to a nontoxic lifestyle?

I would say the most important thing to do is to make your next purchase nontoxic – that means whatever you have on your shopping list, see if you can find a nontoxic version. Since you're reading this we know you're already using some great bath and body products from Pleni – check out www.madesafe.org for another purchase.  

What does the future hold for MADE SAFE?

The future is bright! There's a lot going on behind the scenes that I can't talk about yet… But what I can say is we expect this to be a very exciting year! Stay tuned for more products, education and opportunities to help you create a healthy world for your family. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well, and subscribe to our email newsletter to hear all the news first! 

What are some favorite veggies in your home and how do you prepare them for your family?

We’re a veggie household. My kids have been eating them since they were babies and they still love them. I'm a firm believer that liking veggies is all about preparation. No one wants canned, mushy green beans! I roast almost every vegetable – from radishes to turnips to cauliflower – with olive oil and coarse salt at 350 degrees. 
 But here's my pro tip: We make pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin oatmeal, and even pumpkin chili! It's a way to get added veggies into our diets. Just follow recipe directions and add a cup of plain pumpkin purée while cooking - adjust seasonings as necessary. (For chili we use more pumpkin, but start small – the taste is a little “different" and picky palates may need to adjust!) 

 

 


 

 

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5 Tips for Treating Dry Winter Skin

Posted by Allyson Owens on

 

I know it isn’t winter yet (official date is December 21st) but it sure feels like winter, even here in Northern California! And wearing proper outerwear isn’t enough to protect your little people’s skin from the harsh weather. I find that it is best to be proactive during the winter months and once the temperature starts to drop, try these tips to keep your child’s skin safe from chafing, cracking or uncomfortable general dryness:

1. Regular, tepid, 20 minute bath soaks.  

This has been a serious game changer in our house, especially since the colder climate exacerbates my daughter’s already eczema-prone skin. I highly recommend these 20 minute bath soaks a few times a week with ONLY water (save the bubble baths for warmer weather or limit to 1-2 times per week) and then wash your little one ONLY right before you get him/her out of the water. The skin will be incredibly hydrated right after a bath soak and if the proper products are applied post bath, the added moisture will be sealed into the skin and will feel amazingly soft and smooth.

2. Humidifier in child’s bedroom.

Not only will a humidifier help with colds and nose bleeds, it can also help keep your child’s skin hydrated! At this time of year, families turn on the heat in their homes which takes moisture out of the air. A humidifier will put the much-needed moisture back in your child’s bedroom. We like this humidifier if you are in the market for a new one.

3. Use skin care products with Essential Fatty Acids.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are fats our body doesn’t make on its own so we need to add this type of fat to our bodies; internally and externally! Topically, omega 3 and omega 6 EFA’s provide deep moisture to the skin but they are also anti-inflammatory (especially omega 3’s) and help protect and repair the skin’s natural lipid barrier (also called acid mantle or outer protective layer of the skin) from becoming weakened from environmental assault (caused by indoor heat, outdoor cold air, wind, etc.).  When looking at product labels, check for these powerhouse EFA’s: red raspberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, chia seed oil, flaxseed oil and blackcurrant seed oil. Lotions, balms and oils containing these EFA’s are going to keep your child’s skin soothed, healthy and resilient.

4. Apply a rich, protective barrier to skin before leaving home.

Before heading out into the cold weather, make it part of your daily routine to apply a protective barrier balm to your child’s skin (and make sure it has those EFA's mentioned above. Our balm is a good choice). Apply the balm to your child’s lips, cheeks, hands and any other vulnerable area of the skin to provide an extra layer of protection from the elements. It will make a huge difference!

5. Use pH balanced skin care products.

I talk about pH balanced skin care in this blog post. To recap, pH balanced skin care products keep your child’s protective lipid barrier intact, which is especially important because young children’s lipid barrier is not as fully formed as an adult's, and this lipid barrier is already vulnerable to dryness, irritation and other skin issues. Stick to pH balanced skin care products to help keep the protective lipid layer optimal so it is up to the task of staying balanced, healthy and hydrated in extreme weather or dry heat.

These recommendations go for all members of the family who suffer from dry winter skin! In addition to my children, I apply a protective barrier balm to my lips and hands before I leave the house every day during the winter months (and every day, in general, to my lips!). I am sure some of these tips are common sense but as busy parents, we could all use reminders now and then. Give these tips a try and let me know what you think!

 

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