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Eating With the Seasons

By Sara Chana, IBCLC, RH (AHG)

Editor’s note: brrr it’s cold out there! Here on the East Coast we are experiencing a winter storm now, we may have up to 10 inches of snow by tonight! Eat healthy and stay warm 🙂 

Enjoy your winter vegetables and spices: Eating with the seasons is a good way to stay healthy and a great custom to pass onto your kids. Changing your diet as the seasons change is how human beings have survived and thrived for thousands of years. These days, most peoples’ food choices usually remain the same, even as the weather changes. However, that may not be the best way to nourish ourselves and our families. Although our commerce has evolved, our bodies have not. Our bodies still have to endure the heat of the summer and the oppressing cold of the winter. So while our food choices can remain the same with each season, they should not. Eating dense foods with lots of nutrients can help us maintain our strength and our warmth in the winter.

As the blistery weather approaches, root vegetables are especially important. Root vegetables are able to continue growing as the weather becomes cooler in the fall, and when harvested before the winter, they can maintain their vitamins as they are stored throughout the season. Root vegetables have been the main source of nutrients for centuries when most other vegetables were hard or impossible to find. Our root plants are categorized by: tubers, rhizomes, and bulbs. As these vegetables grow, they anchor themselves into the ground, where they absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil. Our typical winter vegetables are: onions, yucca, potatoes, carrots, radishes, turnips, beets, ginger, taro, turmeric, yams, garlic, and leeks.

Root vegetables are warming, which is of course beneficial for those of us who have trouble keeping warm in the winter. In addition, root vegetables are very filling and are more nutritious than filling up on starches that are from breads and pastas. For people who have to diet, root vegetables are low in calories and rich in complex carbohydrates; which the body metabolizes slowly, providing good long lasting energy.  

Root vegetables have lots of important nutrients. For instance, beets and parsnips are great sources of folate, a B vitamin that protects our DNA and lowers our cancer risk. Rutabagas and turnips provide a compound that stimulates enzymes that deactivate carcinogens (poisons) in our bodies.

Another issue people have in the winter months is that they tend to be less active. When we don’t move around enough, the blood can thicken causing health risks; so an increase in your intake of onions and garlic can help prevent blood from clotting.

Although spices are not root vegetables they are vital for the winter. Warming herbs like peppercorns, mustard seeds, cayenne, chili pepper and thyme help circulate the blood keeping us warmer. Try my yummy roasted vegetables recipe to help stay warm!


Sara Chana is a Classical Homeopath, Registered Herbalist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and has worked with over 10 thousand moms over the past 20 years. Her new app called Breastfeeding For Boobs has 103 original videos, 350 articles and hundreds of pictures. The app is not free, but is worth every penny! It is an encyclopedia on breastfeeding and has a special section on alternative medicine.  

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Get Your Weight Back on Track, and WIN Cash! (Round#4)

WeightLossCompetition#4By request, Balaboostas is featuring their 4th Weight Loss Competition this year!

If you want to work off those extra pounds that seem to pile up during Chagim, or in the winter months, then this might be perfect for you! Come join the Balaboostas Weight Loss Competition, where other women like you, compete for a CASH prize and shed those pounds at the same time (with the support of a trainer). Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! The last Winner won a total of $280 USD and lost 20.6lbs! The competition starts on November 1st and will run until January 15th. The closing date to join is November 15th, so if you would like to join, hurry up and apply!

Read here for the terms.

Shout out to past competitors: please share your success stories! 🙂 Good luck to all the contestants!

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Natural First Aid Kit for the Summer

By Sara Chana Silverstein

Hey you, working so hard to pack for your summer family trip—I see you’re forgetting something! Oh, and you, over there, struggling to pack up your teenage boy for sleepover camp! You both are leaving out the most important part of your preparations: your “Natural First Aid Kit For the Summer!” Besides rubbing alcohol, band-aids and a thermometer, you should bring a little box filled with treasures for your natural first aid kit. I will quickly introduce you to a few wonderful items to help you treat bug bites, cuts and bruises. These natural products are safe and easy to use and most of them are available at your local health food store. If not, ask them to order them for you. You can easily teach your children going away to summer camp or traveling on their own, how to use these items.

  1. Green Clay — This has to be one of my most favorite healing tools. French green clay is pure clay from the earth. Green clay is fabulous for bug bites. Mix one teaspoon of green clay in a cup with just a few drops of water to form a paste. Paint over the bug bite with the paste and let the paste dry. If the bite is very sore you can paint over the existing green clay 2-4 times (letting the clay dry in between) or every hour until the healing begins. The bug bite should stop itching and will heal quickly. Green clay paste is also wonderful for kitchen burns: apply as above and you will be amazed at the way it cools and heals burnt skin (not for use on sunburns). Also, you can use the powder directly (not mixed with water) on diaper rashes and heat rashes.
  2. Arnica 30c — This is a homeopathic remedy that is placed under the tongue for falls and bumps. When you use any homeopathic remedy put a few pellets under the tongue and let it dissolve slowly. (It is best if you refrain from eating 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the remedy, but this is not necessary in an emergency.) Ordinarily this remedy is given every 3 hours as needed for pain in about 3 doses, but if it is a true emergency the remedy can be given every 15 minutes until you seek out medical attention.
  3. St. John’s Wort Oil — I just love this oil; it is wonderful and soothing. The oil is great for sunburns, muscle aches and stiff necks. You can liberally apply this oil after a nasty sunburn (but do not go out in the sun directly after you put on the oil; let it soak into the skin first). You can also add two drops of pure lavender oil to the St. John’s Wort oil to help soothe the burn. This can also be used with aloe vera gel. The oil can also be massaged into sore and bruised muscles. It is also very helpful if you wake up with a stiff neck. The best quality oil is from Woodland Essences at (315) 845-1515.
  4. Yunnan Paiyado powder — Wow, great name! This is a superb Chinese powder mix. It will almost instantly stop a cut from bleeding. Two summers ago, I was in the country and a neighbor sliced her finger while opening a tuna fish can. She had been trying for almost one hour to stop her bleeding finger. She was on her way to the doctor but stopped at my place first. I put some of this powder over the cut as she was on the phone deciding who was going to take care of her children while she was at the doctor, and by the end of the phone call her finger had stopped bleeding. It works like magic. It also helps promote healing of the wound. If you suspect a wound needs stitches do not apply this powder unless under the guidance of a professional. If stitches are needed I would take Arnica homeopathic remedy under my tongue on the way to getting those stitches! You can order this powder from New York’s Chinatown by calling (212) 962-0447.
  5. Rosemary, Lavender, Citronella Essential Oils — These oils are great as a bug repellent! You can purchase a small water spritz bottle. Fill the bottle up with water and add 20 drops each of all three of these oils. You can then spray on you or your children’s clothes all day long as needed. You can also burn these oils in a diffuser (You can find most essential oils and diffusers at your health food store.).

There is so much more to learn but my time has run out. Start with these items this summer and you will be amazed at how much you can help yourself, your kids, and your neighbors heal. Have a safe and productive summer, and happy healing!

Sara Chana, IBCLC, RH (AHG) is a lactation consultant, classical homeopath, registered herbalist, doula and mother of seven children. She has worked with over 10,000 new moms and babies.  You can like her Facebook page ‘Sara Chana’ and/or follow her on twitter @sarachanas. On August 1st, she will be launching her Breastfeeding App with 102 original videos at! 

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Living with the Seasons

Our bodies are designed to be in tune with the natural changes that occur in each season of the year. When we regulate ourselves to the natural rhythm of the changing seasons, we can find more physical, spiritual and emotional balance, resulting in better health and less frequent illness. In the fall, we are transitioning from long, hot, active summer days into cooler weather and shortened daylight hours; hence we need to focus on warming foods that will give us the nourishment we need. This is a season when we are particularly susceptible to illness, and by following a few basic and simple steps, we can safeguard our health during this time of transition.


1) Avoid or limit consumption of ice-cold foods and beverages. Ice-cold foods and beverages can chill our bodies and significantly weaken digestion, leaving us more prone to illness. This season, focus on warm cooked foods such as soups and baked dishes, while seasoning your meals with ginger root and black pepper for added warmth.

2) Eat seasonal foods to help boost immunity. One great way to allow our bodies to be more in tune with the changing seasons is to shop for fresh, locally grown and seasonal foods that offer us optimal nutrition in every season and support us as we adapt to the changing weather. Some great seasonal foods for the fall include:

  • Squash varieties: butternut, acorn and delacata.
  • Root veggies: carrots, beets, and potatoes.
  • Dark green leafy veggies: kale, collards, broccoli, and cabbages.
  • Seasonal fruits: apples, pears, and grapes.

Onions, leeks and garlic are also great seasonal foods that can help boost your immunity in the fall months. Farmer’s markets are a great place to find the most fresh and seasonal foods available in your area.

3) Stay well hydrated to avoid chapped lips, and chaffed skin. In addition to drinking enough water, warm herbal teas are a great addition to your fall diet, especially those that include ginger and cinnamon for extra warmth. Be sure to use extra moisturizer on your hands and lips to avoid dryness from the cold weather.

4) Dress for the weather by making sure you layer up on cold mornings and chilly evenings. It is especially important to keep your neck, ears, and feet warm, so wear a scarf and warm leggings, break out your fall boots, and be sure to keep your kiddos covered up and cozy on cold days to help prevent illnesses.

5) Be sure to wash your hands and your children’s hands before eating! Never underestimate how much this simple step can protect you from unwanted germs and pathogens floating around this fall.

6) Allow time for creative introspection. As we shift from the long, hot, active days of summer into the colder and shorter days of fall, now is the time to release what is old or unneeded, and accept new changes in our lives. Finding meditative and creative outlets like writing, drawing, stretching, walking, or even reorganizing your pantry can help offer us creative ways to process, release, and adapt to the changes and challenges in our lives.

Look out for a nutritious, and warming recipe, coming soon!

Wishing you all a healthy Fall!

Photograph by Rivka Bauman Photography