2014 Schedule – GAPS Connections & Healing Foods

Make your New Years Health Resolutions happen!

 Join us in 2014 for GAPS Connections & Healing Foods classes.  Learn about whole food nutrition and a healing protocol to restore your natural immunity – GAPS™.  GAPS™ stands for Gut & Psychology Syndrome which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system, the immune system, and the brain.  Downloadable Schedule  GAPS 2014 flyer

Register today and save!   Classes will be canceled if less than 5 individuals are preregistered.

All classes held at 1020 West Devon Ave  Elk Grove Village IL 60007

Each GAPS™ Connections session will last about 2 hours and will include:

  • a GAPS™ lesson – simple lessons to help you implement a healing protocol
  • food samples or live cooking demo.
  • opportunity to share news about local suppliers of food, supplements or kitchen equipment
  • tips from experienced GAPS participants
  • a question and answer session
  • an opportunity to purchase GAPS books, DVDs, and GAPS Workbooks.

 View full schedule   Special Note – all those who have participated in the full series before are welcome at no cost – just bring a friend! 

 Healing FoodsLearn the how’s and why’s of making your own delicious healing foods – hands on.

We will explore and create a variety of simple, nourishing, and family friendly foods.

These basic cooking skills will

  • save you time
  • save you money
  • and could save your family’s health! 

Learn more about why these traditional foods are so essential to our health and how to get your families to enjoy them.  Hands on preparation and tasting make this class not only practical but fun and delicious!  View Dates & Times

Renee Renz is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®, and  a Certified GAPS™ Practitioner. Renee firmly believes in the phrase “You are what you eat,” adding “and also what you eat eats”. She is a staunch advocate for local farmers and natural food co-ops, an active Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter leader and KYF Chicago Board member. Renee is co-founder of GAPS™ Connections support and education group, and provides individualized consultations to anyone seeking to restore their health and vitality through natural, nutritional healing.

Edie Brennan is a Master Certified Healing Foods Specialist and Certified GAPS Practitioner.  She is passionate about helping individuals and families achieve abundant health and wellness As a busy mom of three little lacto-fermented- pickle- eating cuties, she has learned to take a no frills, practical approach to making delicious and nourishing foods that families will love.

Breast Health & Essential Oils

breast cancer riskOctober is breast cancer awareness month.  I was privileged to hear a presentation last month by Dr. Christine Salter titled Breast Health and Essential Oils.  Dr. Salter has been sharing essential oils with her clients since 2009 and has witnessed how essential oils can be used effectively not only for affecting one’s state of mind, but also directly affected health issues such as cancer.

Dr. Salter stressed that the mind and the body are in separable and that 70-90% of visits to health care providers are related to stress disorders.  She referenced the following study showing the link between stress and breast cancer:  Stressful Life Events and Risk of Breast Cancer in 10,808 Women: A Cohort Study  The findings suggest a role for life events in breast cancer etiology through hormonal or other mechanisms.

Thus one’s health and well-being must include stress management techniques.  While we may not be able to remove the stressors from our environment, we can affect our reaction to them and one proven method is through aromatherapy as shown in the below study:

In conclusion, our investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils. This synergistic blend provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans[1] .

sacred frankincenseNot only do essential oils have the power to effect our state of mind, but they may also have a direct affect upon our cells.  The following studies report how the essential oil of Boswellia sacra have been effective against human breast cancer cells as well as bladder cancer.

In fact, the following video with Dr. Suhail  address the powerful healing effects of Boswellia sacra and plans for further studies.  Boswellia sacra is only found in Young Living’s Sacred Frankincense.

Essential oils also have another cancer fighter in the line up  – those containing d-limonene.  Limonene is a natural plant phytochemical that has been proven in humans and in animals to have chemopreventative and chemotherapeutic benefits. Limonene is found in the citrus oils and more.


  • Orange – Contains up to 96% limonene
  • Grapefruit – Contains 89-95% limonene
  • Tangerine – 85 – 93% limonene
  • Mandarin – up to 75% limonene
  • Elemi – up to 70% limonene
  • Lemon – 59-73% limonene
  • Lime – Up to 65% limonene
  • Bergamot – 30-45% limonene

Breast massage

 As part of her action plan for breast health along with Breast Healthy Nutrition & Lifestyle and Breast Healthy Personal Care Products, Dr. Salter recommends Therapeutic Self Breast Awareness- using Sacred Oil Of Frankincense as well as Citrus Fresh.

Citrus FreshCitrus fresh as this is a blend of orange, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon and spearmint.  Note, citrus oils are not only high in limonene but aromatically are known as a mood elevator and may therefore help with reducing the effects of stress as well.

Incorporate essential oils in your daily practice to help promote your greatest health.  I know I do.   Order Young Living Products hereyl_logo_new smaller

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21922934

Great message.


Illinois Raw Milk Regulations – an update

The following is an update to Illinois Food Rights Threatened.

dairy foods

Since the May 1st meeting of the Dairy Work Group of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in Bloomington where 125 people came to show support for our freedom of choice many good things have occurred.

The Dairy working group has met several more times and now includes 7 raw milk farmers, 5 raw milk consumers, and 2 Prairie Farms employees as well as the IDPH employees, Farm Bureau reps, including Molly Lamb and Steve Divicenzo.  IDPH has been given the directive that they MUST develop raw milk rules.  All involved have agreed to create a two tier system for Illinois Raw Milk Farmers.

The first tier would allow off farm sales only but would not require regular inspection or testing, the second tier would be voluntary for the farmer and would require regular inspection with much higher standards such as those being promoted through the Raw Milk Institute founded by Mark McAfee.

So is a time to make a choice – stand by and let whatever will be or help to promote our freedom of choice through education.  On August 7th there will be an educational event focused on raw milk.  rawmilk aug 7The intention of the program is to provide an understanding on the topic.  
The presenter, Kimberly Hartke is a nationally recognized expert on the subject based in Washington DC.

Some key points that will be presented are:

  • differences in raw and pasteurized milkraw milk special
  • safety concerns
  • health benefits
  • scientific data
  • consumer interest
  • Q&A with raw milk producers

Please attend and share this event with any interested parties.  More importantly please contact the members of the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and ask them to attend.  JCAR will be reviewing the proposed regulatory changes being created by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) As it stands the current proposal will not only meet the needs of the IL DPH but also our producers as well as us, the consumers.

We want to keep this momentum going.  Providing education to the key decision makers is a significant part of this. Attached it the list of the JCAR members and their contacts.   Please at least reach out to any members located near you.


You may view many of the attendees comments from the May 1st meeting in this video.

Unplugged –


Ah, Summertime!  A warm and active time, it seems to me to be a good time to unplug from the madness of the world and connect with the earth.  It is a time to be outside, whether you are simply sitting in the sun or enjoying the cool shade, gardening, hiking, biking, swimming.  A time to be out in touch with nature.  Barefoot and feeling the grass beneath your toes.  I have a favorite mossy spot under the birch trees by the lake up north where I like to stand and feel the soft cool cushion of the earth.


Actually, where we go in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an anomaly in the fact that there is no cellular service at the cabin.  Now if we go down the road toward town for about 15 minutes things connect, but at the lake – no service.  No cell tower, no wifi (there is satellite)– a definite reduction in the energetic noise to which we are exposed regularly.  Every trip to the lake is always relaxing and refreshing.  I know the change in environment is key as well as the fresh woodsy air, the energy by the water, and all the other beautiful things, but the lack of man-made energetic frequencies are a factor.

cell tower

Personally I have a love/hate relationship with this energetic noise.  I love the internet and how we can use our friends Google and YouTube to find anything at anytime; email is such a great way to keep up on the latest info as well as share what is happening; Skype, MeetUp, Facebook you name it– we can connect in countless ways, often instantly.  That said, there truly is no replacement for time spent face to face, or with a good book or a hobby, and away from the glow and the buzz of electronics.  The hate part for me comes in with the energetic effects of the constant buzz, the flicker and glow which when suffering a migraine makes one want to just stab oneself in the eye and/or crawl in a dark hole.  The constant contact and influx of information, the overwhelming amount of things that can fill our time–this all adds yet another factor of life in which to find a healthy balance.

This documentary, Resonance – Beings of Frequency, shares  the biological effects of man-made electromagnetic energy in our environment.   

While migraines  used to be a regular occurrence and I could count the days I didn’t have one on one hand – that has now reversed to counting the days I do have a migraine on one hand.  This is due to my efforts in managing my health and environment.  Diet and lifestyle choices are critical factors in maintaining your greatest health and are something under your direct, conscious control.  The environmental factors like the man-made energetic frequencies are not as controllable.  The epidemic rise in health issues, with the latest generation named generation Rx,  demonstrates the effects of the assault of he man-made processes and frequencies on well-being.  To take back your health, it pays to manage those factors you can control.  If you have made positive changes and still have not experienced healing perhaps you need to look into ways of reducing the EMF factors in your environment.summer

Gluten – Celiac – Sensitivity Oh my!

Gluten-FreeWhat is your awareness of celiac or for that matter gluten?  The Gluten free/Allergy free expo was recently held in Schaumburg (did you see me at the Norwex booth?).   At the expo did they share that gluten is found in all grains, not just wheat, rye, barley and oats.

Following are the types of issues one may have with gluten

  • allergy – acute or delayed reaction creating some sort of inflammation which leads to  → tissue damage → and subsequent disease
  • intolerance  – this is where gluten is not digested well and a protein called Zonulin is created which enters the bloodstream and creates an immune response with the following cascade of events:
    • gut dysbiosis → leaky gut → acquired allergy (could be to any food) → tissue damage → disease
  • sensitivity - not a disease, but a state of genetics which  if continually triggered builds cumulative inflammation over a lifetime eventually converting into an autoimmune process.  Gluten sensitivity can manifest in hundreds of ways with symptoms such as migraine headache, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, psychological disorders, bone loss, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, cancers  etc.
  • Celiac  -  a rare manifestation of gluten sensitivity which affects 1 in every 133 healthy individuals[1].  In Celiac’s, gluten consumption causes an immune response that damages the small intestine and reduces nutrient absorption. As damage progresses, a variety of multi-systemic symptoms may develop such as other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.   

Learn more about the types of gluten issues in this 37 minute video.

A gluten-free diet is essential to treatment for any of the above gluten issues. Unfortunately gluten can be hidden in a variety of unexpected sources, including salad dressing, supplements, and envelope glue.

Personally, I can attest to the differences in living gluten-free versus grain free.  While eating so-called gluten-free foods removed many of the irritants reducing symptoms, many are still highly processed foods which break down into sugars and feed the pathogens within.  Thus symptoms may be reduced, but are not resolved.   By following the GAPS™ protocol  removing all grains and many starches from the diet allows the body to fully heal whether you are dealing with an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to gluten or any other form of gut dysbiosis.  Once healed one may then explore slowly  adding these foods properly prepared back into the diet if one is truly able to process  and uptake healthfully.


If you missed the 21 day Mantra  Meditation Journey with Deva Primal and Miten you may go here and view all the mantras with their meanings.

To enjoy the full 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey (including the daily Mantras) please click hereom

To download the complete “Into the Heart of Mantra” program please click here

This experience was truly enlightening.  Personally I enjoy the feel of mantras and don’t always know the meanings behind them.  As Sanskrit is an energetic language it is the energy of the sounds which is so powerful – the meaning comes from the feeling.  I admit it did help to hold a definition in mind along with the feeling.  Knowing the meanings also explained why I am drawn to different mantras at different times.

instrument tuningDeva Primal stated that the use of mantra is like tuning and instrument.  You are the instrument.  Are you in tune?  Take time each day to tune in.  A mere 15 minutes is what this journey entailed.  You may also take 2 minutes when transitioning from one focus to another to sit and internalize a mantra.

“Mantra is a word that is thousands of years old. It means projection (tra) of the mind (man). Mantra is the way we project our mind to Divinity.”  Snatam Kaur  

Keeping mantra on our mind – we keep on the path to reaching our Divinity.  It is the simple things done with discipline which make the biggest impact in the end.

As Snatam Kaur states:

Mantra, well, sorry folks, mantra is kind of boring. It is that kind of boring, boring, boring, boring a hole into your heart so that your light can finally shine through you. It takes time, it takes patience, it takes consistency, it takes prioritization.

Can you find a few minutes each day to tune in and align with your inner light and let your truth and Divinity shine?

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit – Give mantra a try for 21 days.

Sat Nam (the truth within you)

21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey with Deva Premal & Miten” on YouTube

I have shared with many of my friends the peace, power and joy I receive from mantra.
Sanskrit is vibrational language. Just like the frequency of essential oils can change you physically, emotionally and spiritually – the same is true with mantra.
Join this experience and see for yourself.

Please share about your experience.
Happy Earth day.
Enjoy the journey,

Illinois Food Rights Threatened

Did you know that Food rights in Illinois are currently being threatened?

Raw milk always seems to be a hot point with many governmental bodies.

Whether you choose to consume this product or not, should the government take away your freedoms?

In our broke state of Illinois the Department of Public Health (IDPH) is revamping their regulations to add more regulations which you the tax payer will have to fund.  While there exists no health reasons for these changes IDPH is proposing new regulations on raw milk which would greatly increase costs for farmer, putting many out of business; and limit the access to this food in the state, denying consumers their freedoms.


Below are steps you can take to help protect food freedoms in Illinois.   

Tell IDPH to Leave the Raw Milk Law the Way It IsStop the Illinois Department of Public Health from issuing any raw milk regulations!
Under current Illinois law, farmers can sell an unlimited amount of raw milk on the farm without a permit. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is in the process of drafting a regulation to change that — a regulation that would severely restrict consumer access and deny raw milk producers the ability to make a living.The proposed regulation would prohibit producers from selling more than 100 gallons a month; in addition, it would require raw dairy farmers to comply with Grade A standards, costing farmers thousands of dollars to upgrade their dairy facility. Further, the regulation would ban herdshare agreements, even though Illinois law recognizes dairy livestock boarding contracts as being legal.IDPH is proposing to change the law even though there have been no cases of foodborne illnesses attributed to raw milk produced in Illinois going as far back as at least 1999.
TAKE ACTION – #1Email the IDPH Division Chief and Your Illinois Legislators Email Molly Lamb, the Division Chief of IDPH’s Division of Food, Drugs and Dairies; tell her that IDPH should leave the law the way it is and not issue a regulation on raw milk. Ms. Lamb’s email address is molly.lamb@illinois.govInclude represenatives on the administrative Rules committee http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/member.pdfPlease copy your State Representative and State Senator on the email to Ms. Lamb.Need help finding your state legislators?  Click hereSome state legislators do not have an email address. If that is the case, please either fax or call their office to let them know about your opposition to the proposed regulation.
TAKE ACTION – #2 Attend the May 1 meeting of the Raw Milk Steering Committee in Bloomington    The committee will finish drafting the proposed regulation; the meeting is open to the public. Please make plans to attend.When:     9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday – May 1, 2013  Where:

  Illinois Corn Growers Association Building

            14129 Carole Drive

            Bloomington, Illinois 61705

Why:        Oppose any regulation that limits access to raw milk and hinders raw milk producers

TALKING POINTS1. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The current laws are working. There have been no cases of foodborne illness attributed to any Illinois raw milk producers going at least as far back as 1999.2. The regulation would have a devastating economic impact on Illinois raw milk producers with the 100-gallon limit. Consumers will no longer contribute to the state economy, instead spending their money with out-of-state raw milk producers.3. The new regulations will cost money to enforce. Why is a state that’s in terrible financial condition spending money on something that isn’t a problem? State resources can be better spent elsewhere.4. IDPH is exceeding its lawful powers; there is nothing in the law to allow it to limit the amount of raw milk producers can sell. The department is trying to ban herdshares with the proposed regulation despite Illinois statute recognizing dairy livestock boarding contracts as legal.5. The proposed regulation will take away options on food choices from educated consumers. Many potential raw milk sources will not be able to stay in business with the 100-gallon limit.

IDPH has charged the Raw Milk Steering Committee (a subcommittee of the Illinois Food Safety Committee) with drafting the proposed raw milk regulation. The subcommittee is stacked with people from the conventional dairy industry and the Department of Public Health that are totally opposed to raw milk. An IDPH official admitted that the department is trying to have these proposed changes become law through rulemaking because the Illinois Legislature would never pass what IDPH wants to do. While IDPH is trying to limit how much raw milk producers can sell, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is promoting the “Illinois Product Challenge” encouraging residents to buy more of their food from Illinois producers  [see the press release at www.agr.state.il.us/newsrels/r0726121.html].The subcommittee is scheduled to finalize the rules in a May 1 meeting in Bloomington that will be open to the public. There are other steps that need to be taken before the rule is officially proposed to the general public; the time to stop it is now, before it gets any further along in the rule-making process.A googlesite, Raw Milk Threatened in Illinois, has been set up for Illinois raw milk supporters to follow current activities and updates (short link: http://goo.gl/Lr2s9) and is posted athttps://sites.google.com/site/rawmilkthreatenedinillinois

Support local family farms now.   Barrington Natural Farms

Making Ghee

A significant portion of the population has an issue with digesting dairy and specifically the lactose sugar or the proteins.  Casein is the most well-known and researched dairy protein.  One’s dairy issue may be due to an allergy, but it may also be due to issues with gut function. When improperly digested the milk protein casein results in casomorphins: a peptide with an opiate structure.   Researchers have shown that these peptides are taken up by various areas of the brain, many of which are responsible for vision, hearing and communication, therefore leading to processing issues.

When milk is properly fermented a large percentage of the proteins get pre-digested and lactose is consumed by the fermenting microbes.  Proper fermentation is 24 hours for yogurt – unfortunately most commercial yogurt is not fermented long enough.  Thus fully fermented milk products are much simpler for the human gut to properly digest.  If even this seems too much for your gut to handle, but you would like to add some dairy into your diet? A good starting point is Ghee or Clarified butter.

gheeGhee is generally well tolerated by most people as it contains simply milk fat, no milk proteins or lactose.   When purchasing commercial ghee, as with any product, read the labels and know your source as they may contain preservatives and other additives.  Ghee is fairly simple to make at home and then you know that it is pure.

Ghee has a nice nutty flavor.  Ghee may be used plain or for cooking, baking or frying as it will not burn as butter may due to a small content of whey.  As ghee is often the easiest dairy product tolerated, ghee is a great place to start when introducing or re-introducing dairy.    Start with a small amount to see how well it is tolerated.  Slowly build up your daily use.  Once this is tolerated in the diet for 6 weeks or more you may consider trying organic butter.

Making Ghee

Start with organic unsalted butter (any added salts may contain flow agents or fillers).  Organic butter is best as non-organic butter contains pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.

Ghee may be made in the oven or on the stove top.

Oven: Preheat to 140-200°F. Place butter in a metal or glass pan and leave in the oven about 30-50 minutes.

Stovetop: place butter in a pan and warm over medium heat.  Melt butter and allow it to cook uncovered in the pan for 20 – 40 minutes.

The melted butter will separate with white bits which float and sink.  It will bubble a bit as you can see and here in the below video.

Reduce the heat and allow it to gently simmer until the milk solids separate, the liquid becomes clear, the bubbling subsides and it should smell a bit caramelized.  You do not want it to become brown, this means you have cooked it too long.

Stain the golden liquid through a fine mesh strainer.  If you want to be certain to fully remove all particles you may strain several times or add a coffee filter to the strainer.

2013-03-22 10.18.39

Store in a clean glass container.  Cover once fully cooled.  Ghee may keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 months or longer refrigerated.