Tag Archives: Iron

Wildflower Botanicals Storybook Selection Pack

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Who would like to be sent a Storybook Selection Pack from Wildflower Botanicals as part of our Vegan & Eco-Friendly Giveaway?

Organic Tea

“Wildflower Botanicals is a boutique herbal business specialising in organic, fairtrade, and earth-friendly products.”

Wildflower Botanicals stocks a huge range of amazing teas down in Kaikoura. Even if you are not a huge tea drinker, I am sure that you will find something you might like. The blends are organic, and you can choose to drink them hot or cold whether you feel like a black tea, green tea, white tea, red tea, oolong, pu-erh, botanical, elemental chai, herbal, storybook, pregnancy, or seasonal blend. I can definitely say that I have been to the website many times to order, but simply could not narrow down what I wanted. They all sound so yummy.

As part of our giveaway, Meg has kindly offered a storybook selection pack to one of our readers. I love the idea of a tea being made for children of all ages. Yes, even you young-at-heart adults.

“Our storybook blends are made using organic botanical ingredients – fruits, flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, and roots – so they are naturally tannin and caffeine-free.” ~Wildflower Botanicals

Wildflower Botanicals
Which blend would you choose?

I was really curious to see what Zaedyn might think of the teas. He mostly drinks water, almond milk or breastmilk, smoothies, and coconut water so I knew that this would be something quite different for him. I loved watching his facial expressions as he tried the tea and turned into a Rock Star.

Wildflower Botanicals
vegan chocolateI am pretty sure that he thought it was quite exciting to be having a real tea party. If you have been following along on Facebook, we had also received a lovely order of raw vegan chocolates from David’s family. Zaedyn really does have a very good memory and knew that it would not be a complete tea party without some chocolate. We love lovingearth products which you can purchase from Wildflower Botanicals as well. They are so yummy and well worth it. I love dark chocolate, and I have always enjoyed the combination of chocolate and mint. I was a bit hesitant about the orange & gubinge, but I have to say that I really like it. It isn’t a flavour that I would choose, but I am so glad that I have now. Apparently it is quite hard to keep stocked!

vegan chocolate
I cannot tell you which blend I like the best. I thought that it would be great to try each and see what we thought, but I can honestly say that they are all amazing. I love the different flavour combinations of each. It really is a lot of fun drinking a tea and thinking about an enchanted garden, Snow White, sweet dreams, rock star, Red Riding Hood, Gingerbread cottage, and Little Boy Blue. Many children seem to love tea parties, and this is an awesome way to have some fun and use your imagination alongside them as well as on your own. I know that I will be drinking them even when Zaedyn isn’t!

Lastly, just wanted to let you know about the Fe Blend (pregnancy) we ordered to help increase my iron storage and absorption of iron. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, just make sure to mention so that certain herbs can be left out. 1 tsp of Fe Blend per cup four times a day should be effective. As all the other teas, it is lovely. If you are interested in trying it out, enter the code AROHANUI at checkout for a 15% discount.
pregnancy tea

We love reading In the Tea Garden blog with even more health information and inspiration.

Enter our giveaway for your chance to win a Storybook Selection Pack from Wildflower Botanicals.

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Natural Alternatives to Boost Iron

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Vegan or not, the ability to absorb and maintain iron levels can be difficult for individuals. Although people can often be quick to blame low iron on being vegan, this is not necessarily true. I know many people who have been very low on iron and are not vegan, but being low in folic acid or B12 can also play a role.

I was low in iron when tested during my pregnancy with Zaedyn, had a PPH which led to very low iron from such a huge blood loss, managed to bring it up, but I do not know whether or not I ever rose above the “normal” iron levels. As much as I try to eat iron rich foods, I seem to be low again when recently tested. Having breastfed for almost 2 years now, looking after a very busy toddler who has not long been sleeping through the night, and being 14 weeks pregnant, I can understand why I am low as well. I suppose I do not eat a lot of processed fortified foods, and I have been making a better effort to combine vitamin C with iron. I do not usually drink juice, but I have been eating citrus fruits and drinking an organic orange juice to help.

In the past, I have talked about nettle being good for iron, but I haven’t kept up drinking nettle tea on a regular basis. I had big intentions to make sure my iron was high before conceiving, but it is a lot easier said than done. When talking with my homeopath, she had suggested Ferrum Phos 3x a day to help with iron absorption. I have found it hard to tell what works simply because the timing was also perfect with Zaedyn starting to sleep through the night, and even when my iron is low, I feel full of energy. If I was never tested, I possibly wouldn’t even know that I was low. However, the thought of being low in iron is not good when even at a normal level it can drop considerably late in pregnancy. Since I am avoiding wanting to take iron pills, unless anyone has a suggestion of a good vegan brand, I am trying to include more iron rich foods and find natural alternatives. My intentions were great, although it isn’t always easy when you go through phases of not wanting certain foods or making something quickly because I am starving.

Knowing that I would need to be tested again, I started contemplating whether there was something else I could be doing. Floradix was suggested, but when I saw that it contained wheat germ and honey, I kept looking. Then I found Floravital. This is also a liquid iron tonic, but it is yeast and gluten free, and of course vegan! There seems to be so much debate about levels or iron and some of these alternatives not being high enough compared to some pills, but then there is also debate about too high of iron and easier ability to digest and absorb liquid iron over pills. Sometimes I find it all a bit confusing and overwhelming.

Anyways, when I went to see my midwife on Tuesday, she instantly told me about a possible new way to solve my low iron: Moxa, or mugwort. I knew that she had started studying acupuncture and had mentioned the possibility of looking into it for iron, but I was excited that this did not involve needles. Moxibustion is used for all sorts, but another popular use during pregnancy is to turn breech babies.

moxibustion

The points to help with iron absorption, using moxa, are located below my knee and toward the outside of my shin (where the blue dot is). I also pinned an article about Pregnancy and Labour through Japanese Acupuncture and Moxibustion where you can click on the guidelines for using moxa and pictures of the location points under Anemia. The moxa sticks that I have are not as smoky as they used to be. After lighting the end of this black cigar like stick, the end begins to turn gray. For 10 days, I will be holding the moxa stick close to these points for 5 minutes on each side, helping to balance the Yin and Yang. You can feel the heat, but it is not painful. This is an indirect method where the moxa stick never actually touches the skin. Occasionally tap the ash off and continue until 5 minutes has passed. Then place in a jar with lid to deprive the moxa stick from oxygen, keeping it from continuing to burn.

I am no expert at all this, but I have heard about moxa previously from an Eastern Concepts class, and I am always curious and open to natural alternatives. I also need to make my way to the Herbal Clinic in Hamilton to hopefully talk with the qualified Medical Herbalists and registered natural medicine practitioners to possibly find an iron tonic or something to suit me. I get my nettle and raspberry leaf tea from there, and I suppose I might as well stock up on the raspberry leaf tea to begin at 29 weeks.

I would love to hear your thoughts on increasing or maintaining iron levels and any experiences you might like to share. I believe that there is not one right solution for everyone along with so many other factors that contribute to each individual, but I am open to ideas and am also sharing mine in case they work for you. Also, what vegan iron rich foods do you enjoy? I recently posted a new recipe for lentil dhal that we tried and am happy for you to leave links of your recipes or ones that you enjoy that are rich in iron. Hopefully I manage to increase my iron naturally 🙂

Tahini, a Nutritional Powerhouse

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organic

Tahini is a nutritional powerhouse that is being eaten by many, but often unknowingly. If you have ever made hummus, you will know that tahini is one of the main ingredients. So if you have eaten hummus and thought that you had never tried tahini, you probably have!

I have often been asked what tahini is, and well, it is actually just ground sesame seeds that becomes a spreadable paste, or seed butter. There is a bit of confusion when it comes to whether or not to buy hulled or unhulled sesame seeds, but it seems as if the unhulled provides additional nutrients. Makes sense to me. Being vegan you often get asked, “Well, where do you get your calcium?” Tahini is an excellent source of calcium.

Why not buy some raw sesame seeds and try making your own tahini? Besides making hummus, you can use it in dips like my Edamame Dip Sprinkled with Chia Seeds, spread it on Mountain Bread or gluten-free bread, fruit, add to smoothies, use it to make dressings, make tahini milks, or spread on falafel. What is your favourite way to eat tahini?

Raspberry Leaf Tea as a Uterine Tonic

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pregnancy

With an interest in tea lately, I was thinking back to raspberry leaf tea. Not everyone is open to the idea, purpose, or taste, but I loved it! Anything to possibly help reduce labour time and complications, I was all for it. Thanks to my amazing midwife for the information listed above about raspberry leaf tea that was included in my folder. I used to make it up by the litre or so and drink it over ice. Yum! Let’s just say, drinking up to three cups a day by 37 weeks was not exactly hard for me.

I have heard arguments both for and against raspberry leaf tea, and it comes down to what you decide. It is important to mention that boxed raspberry leaf tea from most grocery stores will be very different to the actual raspberry leaf tea recommended. I bought mine as loose leaf from a herbal shop. Also, everyone is very different and the amount you drink and other variables will not be the same for every individual.

In my own personal experience, my labour time was definitely reduced, but I did not benefit from the prevention of bleeding after birth as I had a postpartum hemorrhage. Do I still believe in raspberry leaf tea & recommend it to others? Of course. Just look at the vitamins and minerals it contains. That alone is a good enough reason to drink the tea. Raspberry leaf tea is one aspect of preparing your body for birth, and I would not say that the tea does not work just because it didn’t prevent bleeding for me. The shortened labour and reduction of pain was relevant in my labour. I spent the majority of labour at home, starting late at night and thinking that it was going to be a long time and well into the following day before we drove to the birthing centre. Everyone seems to tell you that labour with your first baby is very long time, but Zaedyn Tai was born that following morning at 3:58. Everything happened so fast. I thought that the pressure was either baby’s head or that something was wrong. We rung our midwife, and not able to have a home birth as back up was away, we took the ambulance up only to get there and have Zaedyn born into this world not long after. The ambulance drivers said that I was the most calm woman in labour that they had ever seen. How did I get through the pain of labour? Squeezing a comb in my hand during contractions to hit acupressure points and a hot shower. That’s it! Oh, and 1 dose of homeopathic remedy supporting birth.

As I mentioned before, everyone is different and the tea may or may not work the way that you expect or hope. I cannot promise you any outcomes, but I just wanted to share this information with you so that you know the possibilities from drinking raspberry leaf tea. Seems like an easy way to promote natural childbirth in my opinion, and you and your baby will benefit from the goodness of the tea as well. Lastly, you can continue to drink your leftover raspberry leaf tea after you have had your baby. I planned on bringing some with me to the birthing centre, but we were in a bit of a rush!

If you are considering drinking raspberry leaf tea, remember not to start too early or drink too many cups early on and consult with your midwife or care.

Nutritional Discovery

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Organic Raw Spirulina Powder ~

Considered the greatest and most important nutritional discovery in history because…

~It has 26 times the calcium of milk

~Contains essential vitamin B12 and folic acid

~Excellent protein source

~Slimming

~Stress/PMT Relief as it is the richest source of antioxidants and GLA (the active ingredient in Evening Primrose Oil)

~Traditionally used for fatigue and to build the body up after illness as it is rich in vitamin E and biochelated iron (for enriched blood/cellular oxygenation)

~Used as a sports energy booster especially when endurance is required

~High chlorophyll source makes this an excellent breath freshener

~Safely used in pregnancy

~Blue green algae traditionally used in China for a multitude of health issues

~Cholesterol reduction

~Antibiotic, Anti-Fungal Effects

~Wound healing in creams, ointments, and taken orally

~Widely recommended nutrient in cancer support programs as well as HIV/AIDS

+ it makes smoothies a lovely green colour (unless you add lots of berries) and is super yummy! Scroll to the bottom of my Fresh Raw Almond Milk post to see what it looks like.

Need any more reasons? …

Thanks for the information from my favourite day spa natural detox centre using their own Kiwikitz products and my favourite health site Pure Wellbeing where the spirulina above can be purchased. Click on the Pure Wellbeing link to view a table of the full analysis of spirulina.

Zaedyn enjoying his Mango, Passionfruit, Coconut Butter, & Spirulina Smoothie at 11 months.

Urtica Dioica: Nettle

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2 Handfuls of Nettle

Cover with boiling water and infuse overnight or at least 4 hours. Strain & drink 1-3 cups per day.

Urtica Dioica: Nettle

Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Silica, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, B3, B6, B complex, Vitamins C, D, & K

Also known as stinging nettle, this is a powerful herb rich in iron as well as so many vitamins and minerals for a variety of medicinal benefits and as a general health tonic. Considered a nuisance weed to some, others would be happy to find nettle growing as it can be picked from the wild with caution and then infused. I avoided the risk of getting stung and chose to buy mine from the Herbal Shop and Clinic. In all fairness, I only started drinking the tea within a couple days from giving birth to Zaedyn so I did not exactly have the time or energy to be out searching for nettle.

Why is stinging nettle so powerful for me?

     Sitting in the birthing centre with our newborn baby Zaedyn Tai and family all around, I received the phone call that I had been waiting for and was left with mixed emotions and confusion. Why? Well, after what seemed like a perfect natural childbirth with Zaedyn, things began to change quickly afterward. My placenta would not come away, and I began to fear being sent up to the one place that I wished to avoid: the hospital. I was filled with relief once Zaedyn was born into this world naturally, and never had I thought that I could possibly have a C-section or be put under just to get my placenta out. Anyways, we tried everything, but the contractions were just not there. Too much time had passed, homeopathy didn’t work at this point, and I was left to be injected as a final option before going up to the hospital. My midwife pulled on my placenta and was convinced that it was pretty stuck and wouldn’t come away. Having given it a good go, she asked for the ambulance to be rung while meanwhile I sat there concentrating and visualizing on what needed to happen. My placenta finally came away naturally, ambulance was called off, and my fear was gone only to come back again shortly. PPH, Postpartum hemorrhage. 1 Liter of blood lost, and off we went to the hospital leaving my husband, son, and family behind.

     I won’t go into detail now about my trip to the hospital as I have nothing positive to say except the fact that after a lot of convincing they finally let me transfer to the birthing centre on one condition: I needed a blood test by my midwife the following day as my iron levels were low through pregnancy and became extremely low having lost a lot of blood for a low BMI. When I received the phone call about my results, I was faced with a challenge. My hemoglobin was low, and the hospital was wanting me to have a blood transfusion. Besides not wanting to return to the hospital, I was not impressed about the idea of having a blood transfusion. In tears and surrounded by a mix of thoughts from others and myself and wanting to make sure that I could still manage breastfeeding and being a Mum, I further discussed my options with my midwife resulting in my decision not to have the transfusion. This is how I became to love nettle because I managed to get through this obstacle naturally with this powerful herb and high iron foods. I have my family to thank for being so supportive and helping me get through as well. Making me yummy wraps full of spinach and lentil sprouts & helping in every way possible. Now at 16 months, Zaedyn is still breastfed and keeping me very busy.

So why would I be infusing nettle tonight?

     Nettle is a great health tonic to help boost my iron as well as provide multiple essential vitamins and minerals for every day life. This is a herb that most people should have either growing, as a dried herb, or even in individual tea bags. Tea bags are an easy alternative if you forget to make more, or you just don’t have the time. I have a box of Claridges Botanicals Certified Organic Unbleached Nettle that can be found at Huckleberry Farms and possibly at many other health shops. Off to bed now with my tea still infusing in the kitchen, and I will be back in the morning to strain and transfer some in my cup and the rest in the fridge.