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Angie Needels / Director / 510-325-4785



Berkeley, CA


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Nourishment and Support for Growing Families

My 2015 Dietary Guidelines Comments

Angie Needels

Is this Our Future? 

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A few weeks back I sent out a "Call to Action" so you too would have a say in what's published for this year's updated USDA Dietary Guidelines. These recommendations affect folks far and wide, especially our children's school lunch programs. Kids need us to stand up for what's right for them and make decisions that will allow them to live happy, healthy and vibrant lives. 

Check out the new documentary FED UP (available on Netflix) to see a closer look as to why recommendations like the Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid are just not working currently.

And... Here are my comments and personal story...

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My name is Angie Needels and I appreciate you taking my comments into consideration as you edit and publish this years new Dietary Guidelines.

In the mid-90's I was a teenager and was starting to understand what it meant to have my own identity. Quickly I felt a sense of shame in the shape of my body, given the pervasive advertisements on TV, in magazines, on billboards and the like. I was not 5'10", tall and thin, but however a normal 5'2" girl. This shame drove me to seek out how I might improve how my body looked, thinking there was a way to obtain that myth. I actually did it with the great intention of taking charge of my health, while wanting to look and feel better in the process. 

The tool that I turned to was the USDA Dietary Guidelines. I had learned about them in health class and I thought then, "Who better to look up to for advice than the government? they have loads of science and research backing their recommendations and they have ALL American citizens' individual interests (and health) in mind when creating them, yes? Of course they want me to thrive and be healthy. This is GREAT!"

I jumped on board immediately and followed the Dietary Guidelines thoroughly, increasing my carbohydrates intake and reducing fats, dairy and meats. Exercising regularly with cardio workouts and strength training. I counted servings and calories, took notes and journaled my progress every step of the way. 

Quickly I became frustrated and saddened by the lack of change in the ways I had hoped. Instead of feeling better in my mind and emotions, instead of looking better in the mirror, the opposite things were happening. My body actually increased in weight and how it was distributed on my body, and because of that I became more depressed. The depression fed into the drive to take out more calories and continue increasing my time exercising.


Before I knew it, I had spiraled into a full-blown eating disorder and didn't even see it coming. After a year and a half I had reduced my daily eating intake to 10 fat-free saltine crackers and an apple a day. I ran 5 miles each morning before school and went to the gym for 3 hours afterward. There was nothing left to burn off, but I didn't know what else I could do differently. If I did eat anything I would force myself to vomit it out or I would drink laxatives so it wouldn't be absorbed. My digestive system was thrashed because of this. My menstrual cycle went "bye bye" for over a year. My hair started falling out and my skin and nails were peeling off in layers. I weighed maybe all of 90 pounds. I felt like I was going to die. And the saddest part of it all... is that I really wanted to. 

After dragging myself from the depths of this depressive cycle, eating foods (processed foods mainly), gaining 50 pounds in a matter of months, not being able to fit into any of my clothes... I was still depressed, but at least was eating. 

I moved to the SF Bay Area to find a plethora of fresh ingredients. I had loved cooking, but cooking meant putting several other processed ingredients together to make a dish that was chock-full of processed foods.

I decided to go to a culinary school so I'd know how to work with these foods. I found a school that offered nutritional components in their cooking. FINALLY... "Aha" moments and results. 

Now, in my practice as a Therapeutic Chef and Nutrition Educator, I’ve had the opportunity to witness healing and optimal health first hand.

I create meals with love. I care about the quality, and I care about the farmers who grow the ingredients I use. Everything made from scratch and bringing back the love in eating.

The meals I create have these elements at their core and have proven successful in promoting optimal health. They:

  1. are easeful in digestion
  2. minimize inflammatory response
  3. maximize healing
  4. are prepared in a way that promotes maximum nutrient assimilation
  5. promote homeostasis throughout the blood, bodily fluids and tissues
  6. improve hormone and neurotransmitter functionality - allowing us to feel happier, deal with stress better and have better sleep cycles
  7. improve overall cell functioning; including detoxification, permeability, replication and apoptosis
  8. show people that by eliminating foods that aren't good for us, we still have plenty of super delicious options available

Here’s what my daily intake Food Pyramid might look like:

  • 6-7 servings of a mixture of colorful vegetables - both raw and cooked
  • 1-3 servings of starchy vegetables
  • 8-12 tablespoons of good healthy fats from both vegetables and animals (butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, avocado, lard, schmaltz etc.)
  • 1-3 servings of pastured or wild caught animal foods - eggs, red meat, pork, poultry, seafood - always with their natural fats
  • 1-3 servings of fermented foods
  • 1-2 servings of bone broths
  • 0-2 servings of nuts and seeds
  • 0-3 servings of fresh or dried fruits
  • 1-2 servings of nutrient dense teas and beverages
  • rarely eating grains or legumes - if so, soaking overnight to aid in digestion and never glutenous
  • rarely eating dairy and cheeses - if so, raw and with whole fat

All foods would be:

  • whole and from nature - not processed
  • in season and at their ripest
  • grown organically with no pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones or antibiotics
  • NEVER genetically modified
  • animals would be in their optimal environment and would have as much access to pasture as desired
  • only using sweeteners that are found in nature like honey, dates or maple syrup

I'm ecstatic to eat. I love my body and my life.

My wildest dreams have come true!

At 35 I had an extremely healthy pregnancy and gave birth at home without interventions. My daughter is incredibly healthy, happy, sleeps well, and loves eating a wide variety of foods as well. I feel so blessed.

I beg of you, make all Americans’ wildest dreams come true. Please!

You wield a great power and can make a huge impact. 

Angie /

Having Your Birthday Cake and Proudly Eating it Too!

Angie Needels

Most kid's birthdays are centered around a celebration with cake and ice cream, an american tradition and sweet treat to say "YAY... we made it another year!". 

With that, often comes a bit of guilt as most bakery bought cakes or recipes made from boxed mixes or even from scratch are laden with processed sugars and flours. And as we're unearthing more and more, these foods are directly linked to all sorts of health and behavioral problems. Maybe we justify it by thinking "well... it's only once a year", but actually when our kids start to meet other kids, the parties and cake eating opportunities add up. 

In our hearts we are always searching for a better option, of course we are, we only want the very best for our little ones. Something I like to reiterate to clients and friends alike is that before processed versions of these foods, there were unprocessed versions. And instead of these foods being denatured and stripped of nutrients, they were chock-full of goodness and enjoyable to partake in on special occasions and seasonally. 

Check out Chris Kresser's post: 
Is There Any Room for Sweeteners in a Healthy Diet?

In Kid Friendly Nourishing Beverages & Sweeter TreatsI mention we can create opportunities for increasing our nutrient-intake in all foods that we eat, even our sweet treats like birthday cakes. If you are hungry for some additional traditional style recipes and ideas, check out all the great desserts in Nourishing Traditions (starting on pg. 533), so many to choose from!

So here are a few ideas that might help relieve some stress around your next birthday celebration...

Traditional Style Cakes & Treats

  • a simple bowl of berries with fresh whipped raw cream or whipped coconut cream on top (grain free, dairy free with whipped coconut milk)
  • cheesecakes (raw or baked - raw recipe below) (grain free)
  • coconut or dairy panacotta topped with berries, fruit compote or marmalades (traditional Italian custard - substitute whole fat coconut milk for heavy cream) (grain free, dairy free with coconut milk)
  • creamy flan topped with berry sauce (grain free)
  • coconut milk custard topped with berries (grain free, dairy free)
  • Mustikkapiiras (traditional Finnish yogurt pie with blueberries - recipe below) (grain free)
  • coconut flour yellow cake with your favorite butter cream frosting (reduce and substitute organic sugar for 3/4 cup honey OR 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar) (grain free)
  • Paleo chocolate cake with honey frosting (grain free)
  • coconut butter cake with coconut frosting (grain free, dairy free)
  • carrot cake with maple-orange frosting (SCORE - added hidden veggies) (grain free)

and if you can't have cake without ice cream...
see our recipe for Coconut Milk Custard Ice Cream Base (scroll down) and make your super favorite ice cream varieties super healthy for you too!

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Nourishing Traditions All-Raw Cheese Cake (pg. 566)

A raw cream cheesecake that can be made with cultured cream cheese, strained from yogurt. It is probiotic, has healthy fats, and doesn't have to be baked.

2 cups crispy almonds (see recipe in NT pg. 515) 
1 cup pitted dates 

4 eggs separated, room temperature 
1 1/4 cups milk (preferable raw dairy OR substitute coconut) 
2 tablespoons gelatin (Great Lakes or Vital Proteins
4 cups homemade cultured cream cheese, softened 
     (make cultured cream cheese by straining yogurt)
     (use whey in fermentation)
     (each quart of yogurt yields 1 1/2 cups cultured cream cheese) 
1/2 cup raw honey 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
pince of sea salt

In a food processor, process dates and almonds until they form a sticky mass. Press into a buttered 9-inch by 13-inch pyrex pan to form a crust.

Put egg yolks and milk in a sauce pan, beat lightly, sprinkle with gelatin and warm slightly until gelatin is dissolved. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, honey and vanilla and process until smooth. Add yolk mixture and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and place in a refrigerator. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt  in a bowl with a standing mixer or with a hand beater until stiff, fold into cream-cheese mixture and pour into crust. Chill several hours before serving. 

Recipe best done the day before.

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Mustikkapiiras (Finnish Yogurt Blueberry Pie) 

coconut pie crust: 
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes 
2 cups finely shredded coconut

Mix crust ingredients evenly in small bowl, smashing and breaking apart the butter as you go. In 9 inch pie dish, press crust mixture firmly and evenly on bottom and sides. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 min or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2 eggs 
3 Tablespoons honey 
1 cup yogurt 
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 cups blueberries

Mix filling ingredients in a medium bowl, except for the blueberries. 

In the pie pan spread the blueberries evenly in the cooled coconut crust. Pour the blended filling over berries. Place a strip of parchment over edges of crust so it doesn't burn when you bake pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or 325 for 60-75 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place in a refrigerator to chill completely before serving. 

Recipe best done the day before.

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All of these options are much healthier versions of the typical birthday cake. And you can feel comforted by not having to compromise or make exceptions on your child's special day. For many of them, you can also make a cupcake version or do the custards in wide-mouthed 1/2 pint mason jars so you know each child will have a small enough portion. Kids love things that are just their size.

Enjoy your next birthday with extra nutrient density!

Angie /
Primal Mama /

TAKE ACTION! The 2015 Dietary Guidelines - comments being accepted until May 8th!

Angie Needels

As a citizen of the US, we only have a voice when we use it! That's why voting is so important. We can also get more involved and be in contact with our local elected officials, letting them know how we'd like to be represented in the ongoing legislature that changes the face of law in all aspect of our lives.

This is our very basic right.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is consistently advocating for our right to healthy nourishing foods and our choice in how we manage our lives, our health, and our happiness. They recently sent out this call to action (below) and I would LOVE for all of you to participate too. I will be sending in my comment this week as well!

THANK YOU for your attention, your care and your voice, IT MATTERS!

In abundant health,
Angie @ MamaKai 

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Deadline for comments has been EXTENDED to May 8, 2015!

The federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has released its draft proposal for the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines, and they go even further than the previous ones in attacking nutritious foods like full-fat dairy, red meat, and any food with saturated fat.

The Dietary Guidelines form the basis of federal nutrition policy and food assistance programs, so the effects can be very far-reaching.

The federal agencies in charge of the Guidelines (Health & Human Services and the USDA) are accepting public comments on the draft.  Groups with vegan agendas are already rallying their supporters to promote the move to “plant-based diets” and urge the agencies to go even further by discouraging the consumption of eggs and all dairy products. We need to make sure that their voices are not the only ones in this debate!


Submit comments online at:

Deadline extended to: Friday, May 8, 2015 

Tips for submitting comments online:

* There is a 20 minute time limit to complete the form, and you cannot save and return to a partial comment later. If you think you will need more than 20 minutes to draft your comment, you should write your comment in a file on your computer, and then copy and paste it into the form. You can also upload your comment as an attachment.

* There is a 5,000 character limit for the text box for comments.  If you are writing a detailed comment (more than two pages), then save it as a file and upload as an attachment.

* For organization, please put “self” unless you are authorized to speak on behalf of an organization.

* For topics, scroll down to the bottom of the list to select “General Comment”


[Please add something to personalize your comments, so they have more impact.  It can be just a few sentences about the health benefits you have seen with WAPF-style eating, or as extensive as you want to make it.]

The recommendation for Americans to reduce their consumption of added sugars is a positive step.  But the failure to encourage the consumption of truly nutrient-dense foods – i.e. sustainably raised animal products, including grass-fed beef, lamb, and goat, pasture-raised pork and poultry, and whole-fat raw dairy products – ensures that Americans will continue to be deficient in important nutrients. 

While vegetable oils such as corn and soy oil are indeed devoid of nutrients, not all fats are “empty calories.”  Fats from animals raised on pasture are rich in many important nutrients, including true Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E, as well as all their naturally occurring cofactors needed to provide maximum benefits.

Notably, the Committee identified Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E as nutrients that are underconsumed by the majority of Americans.  These nutrients are not properly absorbed from so-called “fortified” foods, but are best obtained naturally from nutrient-rich animal foods, including pastured egg yolks, butter, and cod liver oil.  The Committee also identified iron, which is best found in animal foods, as an underconsumed nutrient for adolescent and premenopausal women. The obvious solution is to encourage the consumption of these nutrient-dense animal foods, in line with the diet advocated by the Weston A. Price Foundation, not discourage it as the proposed Guidelines do!

Animal foods containing saturated fat and cholesterol provide vital nutrients necessary for growth, energy and protection from degenerative disease.  Saturated fats constitute at least 50 percent of the cell membranes throughout the entire body, making them vital for normal cell function.  They help calcium to be properly incorporated into the skeletal structure, aid liver function, enhance the immune system, and much more.

The studies that link red and processed meats to negative health outcomes are flawed.  First, they frequently look at consumption levels of both red meat and processed meats combined, although processed meats contain many additional ingredients that have been independently linked to health concerns.  Second, none of the studies address the significant differences between food from animals raised in typical confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and animals raised on pasture. 

Similarly, the studies that look at the role of dairy in the diet fail to distinguish between raw dairy from pastured cows, with all of the nutrients intact and in readily-absorbable forms, and pasteurized dairy from cows in CAFOs.

Last, the finding that a diet higher in plant-based foods is more sustainable than “the current U.S. diet” might be correct, but the Committee again wholly failed to consider the difference between the animal products that are typical of the current U.S. diet (i.e. from CAFOs) and products from sustainably raised livestock on pasture.  Grass-based livestock production has multiple environmental as well as health benefits. The research on this issue is readily available from the Savory Institute and Holistic Management International.

I urge HHS and USDA to revise the Guidelines to reflect the extensive information available on the importance of high-quality dairy, eggs, and meat from pasture-raised animals in a healthy diet.




Download the report at:


Saturated fat, calcium, and bones:  Watkins, B.A. Et al, “Importance of Vitamin E in Bone Formation and in Chondrocyte Function,” Purdue University, Lafayette, IN, American Oil Chemists Society Proceedings, 1996; Watkins, B.A., and M.F. Seifert, “Food Lipids and Bone Health,” Food Lipids and Health, R.E. McDonald and D.B. Min, eds., p.101, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY, 1996.

Saturated fat and the liver: Nanji, A.A., et al., Gastroenterology, Aug. 1995, 109(2): 547-54; Cha, Y.S., and D.S. Sachan,Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Aug. 1994, 13(4):338-43; Hargrove, H.L., et al., Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, Meeting Abstracts, Mar. 1999, #204.1, pA222.

Saturated fat and immune function: Kabara, J.J., The Pharmacolgical Effects of Lipids, The American Oil Chemists Society, Champaign, IL 1978, 1-14; Cohen, L.A., et al, Journal of National Cancer Institute, 1986, 77:43.

Vitamin A:  Price, Weston, DDS, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1945, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, San Diego, CA.  Dunne, Lavon J., Nutrition Almanac, 3rd ed., 1990. McGraw Hill, New York, NY; Jennings, I.W., Vitamins in Endocrine Metabolism, 1970, Heineman, London, UK; Solomans, N.W., and J. Bulox, Nutrition Reviews, July 1993, 51:199-204; Fraps, G.S., and A.R. Kremmerer, Texas Agricultural Bulletin, Feb. 1938, No. 560.

Notes 133-135

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Thanks to and and and
for the stunning pics!

Making Easter Egg-stra Special

Angie Needels

Easter is coming up quickly and it's a favorite holiday for kiddos. They love the thought of a giant bunny coming to bring a basket full of goodies by and to hunt for hidden colored eggs all around the yard. We thought we'd share a few activities and resources that might make this Easter holiday even brighter, more nourishing and more fun for everyone! 

Homemade egg dyes with pantry spices and veggies

Hard boil eggs ahead and color your eggs with...

  • blue = purple cabbage juice to cover eggs (cut in chunks and use juicer or blender, strain fiber), then soak boiled egg in juice for 45 minutes or overnight for deeper blue.  
  • green = buy naturally green eggs from Aracauna chickens OR use a yellow dyed egg (see below with turmeric) then soak in purple cabbage juice OR use naturally brown eggs soaked in red cabbage juice overnight.
  • pink/reddish = beet juice to cover eggs (cut beets in small chunks and put in a juicer to get beet juice or blender, strain fiber), then soak boiled egg in juice for 30 minutes or overnight for deeper pink/red. 

Hard boil your eggs with the coloring ingredient in the water to make... 

  • yellow = use the same hard boiling egg technique as before, but this time add 1 tablespoon of turmeric per cup of water when cooking your eggs (whisk turmeric in cold water before adding the eggs). Rinse with cold water to chill eggs. Then soak hard boiled eggs overnight with 1 tablespoon each turmeric and white/apple cider vinegar per cup of cold water.
  • brown = buy naturally brown eggs OR use the same hard boiling egg technique as before, but this time add 1 tablespoon ground coffee per cup of water when cooking your eggs. (whisk coffee in cold water before adding the eggs). Rinse with cold water to chill eggs. Then soak hard boiled eggs overnight with 1 tablespoon each coffee and white/apple cider vinegar per cup of cold water.

Eco-Friendly Egg Dyes

Color designs on boiled eggs with wax crayons before dying them and make your eggs really pop with fun pictures, names, designs and more!


Felted Wool Eggs

Kids enjoy hands on sensory activities. Plus this activity includes water so they will love that too. Splish Splash!

wool roving in a few colors 
wooden or plastic eggs (optional)
liquid soap
and a bowl of warm water

THANKS Sarah Baldwin, a Waldorf Teacher and the owner of Bella Luna Toys for this great tutorial on making wool felted Easter eggs.

Enjoy this lovely symbol of Spring! 

Treats you can feel good about!

A few treats you can fill plastic eggs w/ for egg hunting:
dried fruit (cut larger pieces as needed)
homemade gummies 
coconut chips (recipe in sweeter snacks post - scroll down)
nuts/seeds/trail mix
dried veggies (sun dried tomatoes, seaweed 'squares')
jerky 'bites'
OR... simply hide hard boiled eggs OR decorated wooden eggs

And a few treats or gifts you can make or buy to include in baskets:
homemade gummies                                               
'Reese' Choco Nut Butter Cups (recipe below)
homemade marshmallows
coconut butter buttons
almond butter & coconut fudge
stickers of animals/flowers 
wool felted eggs/animals/fairies  
garden trowel/gloves/seeds
colored pencils/crayons
make homemade bubbles and wands   
finger paints
Spring books: Spring / Two Little Gardeners / Pelle's New Suit

Don't forget hard boiled speckled quail eggs if you can get your hands on them! These are teeny and so cute and make a fun addition to your kid's basket. 

Yummy Superfood Chocolatey Treats for Mamas & Papas
Coracoa Confections - Try their eggs & 'bacon" chocolate eggs! YUM!

Upcoming Spring Activities/Events:

California - Find an Easter Egg Hunt or Events Near You

SF Bay Area: 
Bay Area Discovery Museum - Kid's Fun Calendar chock full of fun activities
Earth Day Celebration - April 18
Berkeley Kite Festival - July 25-26

North Bay:
Singing Frogs Farm Bug Hunt - May 9
Valley Ford Wool Festival - May 16-17  
Bloomfield Farms U-Pick - Sundays May-October  
Farm Tours = Tara Firma Farms, Singing Frogs Farm, Green Star Farm



"Reese" Choco Nut Butter Cups

Makes 18 small cups

1-2 mini muffin silicone molds or muffin tins and parchment mini muffin liners

3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup carob powder
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup creamy nut or seed butter of choice (sunflower butter works great)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kelp powder (optional for superfood nutrition)

Over low heat, melt the first 7 ingredients together while whisking to combine well.

Fold the remaining ingredients together in a separate small bowl and set aside.

Spoon 2 teaspoons melted chocolate ganache mixture in the bottom of 18 mini muffin cups (either silicone or lined metal baking for easy removal). Freeze for 5-7 minutes or until mostly hard. Then spoon a tiny dollop of nut/seed butter mixture in the center of each cup making sure to leave space around it.

Remelt chocolate ganache mixture if needed and spoon remaining amount evenly over the nut/seed butter to cover. Place back in the freezer until completely hardened. Remove from muffin tins and place in storage container and keep frozen until ready to eat. 

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From the Old Ways,
Primal Mama /
Angie /

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* * * * *

Thanks to Waldorf Mama,,, 
for some really fun Easter friendly pics!

Kid Friendly Cultured/Fermented Foods

Angie Needels


Cultured and fermented foods are health promoting, especially for the digestive system and overall immune support. They increase enzymes and vitamins in foods we eat and make those nutrients more bioavailable to the body. Many traditional cultures from around the world have had cultured and fermented foods in their diet for thousands of years, not only to preserve foods in off seasons, but to increase vitality and immunity in a symbiotic relationship with nature.

Try your hand at making cultured/fermented foods easily in your own home kitchen or purchase raw (unpasteurized) fermented foods at natural grocers and farmer's markets. Check out...

Chris Kresser - Fermentation Ninja
Fermenting with Karen Diggs
Nourished Kitchen
Weston A. Price - Lacto-Fermentation

Want to get more fermented or cultured foods in your kid's diet? Here are a few simple ideas... 

1. model for your kids by eating cultured/fermented foods yourself
2. pour juice from cultured veggies on other foods or warm soups
3. pickled cucumbers and cultured carrots are the most kid-friendly
4. chop cultured veggies into small chunks and add to dishes like salads or sides
5. transform basic condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo, salsas and barbecue sauce into lacto-fermented versions
6. add carrots, apples and/or ginger to cultured recipes to add a bit of a sweet flavor
7. make dips with crème fraiche, whey or juice of cultured veggies mixed in
8. add a little whey, honey and lemon/lime juice to child's water
9. add miso or traditionally brewed tamari to soups or sipping broth
10. ferment thinly sliced veggies then dehydrate into chips
11. add crème fraiche or kefir to any dish like soups or on eggs/scrambles
12. make salad dressings, dips and sauces with lacto-fermented beverages, juices, veggies, relishes, condiments and chutneys
13. raw milk cheeses and cultured butter
14. substitute mayo with crème fraiche
15. kefir or kombucha gummies
16. fruit lassi (yogurt drink blended with fruit)
17. make fruit leathers with cultured fruits
18. add cultured fruits and chutneys to the top of gluten-free pancakes/waffles or on top of yogurt or porridge
19. make cultured applesauce with powdered probiotic starter or whey
20. make smoothies, popsicles or ice creams/sorbets with water or dairy kefir
21. culture coconut milk with dairy kefir grains or powdered probiotic starter

NOTE - For those that don't do well witb eating dairy may be able to handle dairy products that are fermented or cultured like yogurt, kefir, crème fraiche, raw cheeses. Also goat's milk and sheep's milk are often more digestible than cow's milk dairy. 


Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
The Essential Book of Fermentation by Jeff Cox
Cultures For Health - buy cultures & 'How to Videos'
Kraut Source (Story) - How To Make Real Pickles 

Fermented Stuffs

Cowgirl Creamery
Farmhouse Cultures
Farm to Fermentation Festival

* * * * *

From the Old Ways,
Primal Mama /
Angie /

* * * * *

Thanks to PickleBiotic for a super fabulous photo of home fermented pickly goodies!

Kid Friendly Nourishing Beverages & Sweeter Snacks - Part 2

Angie Needels

In Part 2 of Kid Friendly Nourishing Snacks we'll continue to share with you snack ideas that are based on a traditional way of eating, being either pasture raised, raw, cultured/fermented, and/or have healthy fats and proteins in them. 

We are excited about this post because often times folks don't realize that their family can enjoy beverages and sweeter treats that can be filled to the brim with nutrients and great for helping to maintain optimal health.

Now that we can balance these nutrient rich foods into our diet, we can ditch the guilt along the way. However, we'll iterate this time and time again... PLEASE always consider the highest quality organic or pastured (no herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or GMOs) foods for your family as an investment in your health. Reference our Traditional Foods on a Budget post to find out plenty of ways to make eating high quality whole foods easier on your pocketbook.

NOTE - This list is smaller than our savory snacks post. This is because in traditional cultures, people didn't eat as many sweeter foods in their regular diet. They were limited to wild fruits, raw unsweetened cocoa beans, andraw natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that were in season, unless dried or fermented for other times in the year. Wild heirloom fruits, cocoa and sweeteners were more sour/bitter than today's sweeter treats and contained more minerals as processing methods today tend to strip them away. 


caffeine free herbal teas (hibiscus, chamomile, rose, tulsi etc.)
herbal tea or juice based water kefir
coconut milk or raw milk (cow/goat/sheep) kefir
herbal or green tea kombucha
coconut water
whey cultured coolers (example: raspberry soda)
ginger beer / ale
ginger kvass / beet kvass
plain whole milk yogurt or kefir smoothie with fruits, veggies & superfoods
coconut milk carob "hot chocolate"


fresh / dried fruit / dried fruit chips (apple, pear, banana, mango, plantain)
fresh fruit with yogurt, dairy or coconut milk kefir, whole fat whipped cream, crème fraiche or cottage cheese
fruit slices with soft cheeses or nut/seed butters
frozen bananas or berries
homemade raw whole milk/cream or coconut milk ice cream (recipe below)
homemade popsicles / cream-sicles (can use any of the beverages above as a base)
frozen bananas (whole or mashed)
"ants on a log" celery sticks with nut/seed butter and raisins
homemade gummies / jello cubes / gelatina cups (fruit or coconut based) - be on the lookout for our upcoming "All About Gelatin" post for great ways to use gelatin and recipes
veggie/fruit roll-ups/leathers
toasted coconut chips (recipe below)
coconut macaroons
sprouted granola / granola nut clusters / granola bars
apple flax crackers with dried fruit and cinnamon
date truffles
"reese" superfood cocoa cups with nut/seed butter
"york peppermint" superfood cocoa patties with peppermint coconut filling
coconut or cocoa butter nut fudge squares
mapled nuts with superfoods (example: Navitas superfood+ line)
seaweed superfood elderberry chocolate brittle
sweet potato bars / biscuits
plantain pancake "bites" / almond flour belgian waffle "bites"
Go Raw bars/treats
The Bliss bar - Honey Gold
Organic Clif bar - Kit's Fruit & Nut

NOTE - Some children do not process dairy well. Most children with dairy sensitivities can do better with eating raw unpasteurized dairy or dairy from goat's milk or sheep's milk. If your child shows signs of digestive distress, brain fog, general irritability or skin rashes/redness/itchiness, consider eliminating dairy for at least 3 days or up to 3 weeks to see if the symptoms subside. Dairy may need to be eliminated until they are older and their digestions can handle processing it or rotated in the diet so not eaten in consecutive days.

Additional Sourcing Links:
Cultures for Health = water kefir/dairy kefir/yogurt cultures
Kefiry = water kefir (Sebastopol)
Kevita = water kefir
Organic Pastures = dairy kefir/raw milk
Organic India = tulsi herbal teas
Wilderness Family Naturals = coconut products
Veggie Gos = fruit and veggie strips
Radiant Life Company = nutrient-dense ingredients
Navitas = superfoods, trail mixes, sprouted nuts/seeds
Rose Mountain Herbs = teas and bulk herbs and spices



NOTE - Doubling, tripling or quadrupling recipes, making in large batches, then packaging in individual serving sizes for storage will save you lots of time when you need to grab your snacks quickly and run out the door.

Coconut Milk Custard Ice Cream Base

3 cans whole fat coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
4 egg yolks, whisked in a small bowl and set aside
2 tablespoons gelatin (Great Lakes kosher beef or Vital Proteins)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Warm coconut milk and honey/maple syrup in saucepan over low heat. When just warm, temper egg yolks, then add them into the warm coconut milk mixture. Add the gelatin in next by slowly sprinkling it in while continually whisking over low heat until gelatin is fully dissolved. Continue warming and whisking until the custard ice cream base becomes thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Then remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature then place in fridge until chilled (will set a bit due to the gelatin). 

After chilled, churn in an ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes.

* optional * during the last 2 minutes of churning add additional ingredients to flavor ice cream. 

These are some favorites:
Vanilla - 2 Tbsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp freshly scraped vanilla bean
Chocolate - 1/4 cup melted chocolate and 2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
Fruit - 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen fruit - berries, peaches, ripe banana  

And many more... What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Make it at home and make it good for you!


Toasted Coconut Chips

2 cups wide coconut flakes

Place wide coconut flakes on sheet pan and spread evenly so coconut is not layered on top of each other. Bake in 200 degree oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. (OR toast 1/2 cup in toaster oven for about 8 minutes). Can eat for a snack, add to a trail mix, or as a topping for other sweet treats.

* Optional * flavor your coconut chips by folding them in a medium bowl with a teaspoon melted coconut oil and other spices, sweeteners or superfoods to make them even more nutritious and tastebud tantalizing. Do this step before baking.

Try these combos:
Maple Maca - 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp maca powder and a pinch of sea salt
Winter Spice - 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp clove powder
Honey Ginger - 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp ginger powder or fresh grated ginger
Indian Dream - 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp garam masala


Upcoming posts 
Kid Friendly Cultured/Fermented Foods
Bay Area Kid Friendly Events & Activities
Crafty Mama's Spring Craft & Homesteading Projects
Spice Up Your Life - Using More Herbs & Spices
All About Gelatin

Want more ideas?
Have a cool Kid Friendly thing you want to share? 
Got Questions? Let us know...

Know someone who'd enjoy these great posts in their mailbox too?
Forward this post and have them sign up for MamaKai's Newsletter 
(click the envelope in the upper right corner)

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From the Old Ways,
Primal Mama /
Angie /


Follow up on Measles post / Vaccinations

Angie Needels

Vaccinations and immunization are a VERY hot topic. There is so much information out there to sift through and everyone has an opinion. A strong one. Since having my daughter almost 4 months ago, I've been wading in the muck of the vaccination controversy and it's a big subject in my home. 

I wanted to follow up on the posting MamaKai had sent out this week regarding the current measles "scare". The "Measles: what you should know" newsletter was a forward/reposting from my dear colleagues at GetzWell Pediatrics. Julia and her team bring forth an integrative approach to baby/child care and I respect them for being able to support all families' broad decisions. I found it to be informative and thought it would be a great piece to get in the hands of MamaKai readers as an added resource. I didn't change a word and this doesn't reflect the specific viewpoint of me personally nor MamaKai as a whole. 

For me and creating MamaKai as a support to growing families, I urge each of you to do as much research as necessary to get to a "happy place" in creating your vaccination (or non-vaccination) plan. Know that the world of vaccinations is not black/white, but a rather huge area of gray, and YOU actually have more power and say in what you think is best for your family. Here are a few further thoughts...

  1. Vaccinations are young in the grand scheme of human evolution. Just sayin'. 
  2. Some vaccines are for life threatening illnesses and some are for illnesses that just make us feel pretty darned crummy for a short period of time. Maybe you want to do some and not others and maybe you want to do them on your terms, delaying the schedule and allowing natural immunity to build up in your baby first, and maybe you don't want to do any for now and make the decision later. Whatever you choose is exactly right for your family in the given moment. Don't doubt yourself once you have the information you need and are clear in your decision. Aviva Jill Romm's Vaccination's book is a pretty good (and mostly unbiased) look at each vaccination and their history / efficacy.
  3. Weigh in your personal risks. This is HUGE. Are you a mama that will go back to work shortly after birth, whereby you and your baby will be out in the workplace/daycare environment and being exposed to more buggies OR are you a stay-at-home mama that keeps your baby with you and can monitor exposure more closely? Are you breastfeeding or not? How is your families' diet and nutritional intake? As we now know there is no greater immune supporter than breastmilk for babies and a more nutrient-dense diet makes more nutrient-dense breastmilk and can keep everyone in your family feeling great.
  4. Many pediatricians will tell you outright that the reason they use the CDC's recommended vaccination schedule is because they have the opportunity to see your baby more often and can administer them easily. Once a child is about 2 and if they are healthy, Well Child check-ups fall to once a year and are usually to track vitals like height and weight. It's hard to get a family in just for vaccinations. New babies typically visit the pediatrician at birth, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year, plenty of opportunities for the various rounds that are recommended.  
  5. Ask your pediatrician about the vaccinations they use in their practice. Who manufactured them? What are the ingredients (be sure they don't use vaccines with Thimerisol, a mercury containing compound)? Is there a way of getting the bundled vaccines as individuals? What are they "grown on" and how might that genetic material interact with yours?
  6. Don't let anyone bully or guilt you into a decision that doesn't inherently feel "right or good" to you. You do NOT have to vaccinate your child(ren) if you do not want to. Follow your heart and your gut feelings, your body can always be a great guide for you. You may find it frustrating when interviewing conventional pediatricians or shoot, if you are receiving government assistance for food through EBT or WIC and they tell you that they will not serve you if your child isn't "up on their vaccinations". For federal programs, this is illegal, for private practices, it's a type of discrimination. There are doctors out there that will support your decisions, keep searching until you find someone you really vibe with. If the federal programs are hassling you, print out their "eligibility requirements" and point out that there is no requirement for vaccinations on the list, they can not turn you and your child(ren) away.
  7. You'll find research to back both sides and enthusiastic speakers to get those messages out into the public. Understand where the research is coming from and look at it from all angles (Who's funding it? What are the numbers and equivalent percentages? etc.). Chris Kresser did a great article called "Behind the Veil: Conflicts of Interest and Fraud in Medical Research" recently. He's truly a healthy skeptic and an amazing researcher and to me, always shows the bigger picture in his writings, from the most un-biased vantage point you might find. What we both share is that we are results driven and aim to support our community in finding optimal health and happiness.
  8. Talk to other parents and get more perspective on their approach and what they ultimately chose to do. Take a class or attend a lecture on the topic, and try to find ones that are "pro" and "against" vaccinations to hear both sides of the story (both sound totally rational by the way). 
  9. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND START TO FORMULATE YOUR PLAN BEFORE YOUR BABY IS BORN! The first recommended vaccines are for Hepatitis B at birth. If your baby is born in a hospital, you no doubt will be approached with getting this vaccine before heading home. This is done when you are exhausted and much more amenable to signing your name on any document that comes your way without a good thorough read.

As always, don't hesitate to let us know your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to share in our comments section or write to me directly! If you have a friend who might enjoy our newsletter and want to make sure they get great resources right in their inbox too, forward this message on and have them sign up for our mailing list (click the envelope icon in the upper right corner).

I'm oh so happy to support your growing family,

Measles: what you should know (GetzWell Pediatrics)

Angie Needels


Whole Kid Newsletter

February 13, 2015 - Brought to you by GetzWell Pediatrics (

Measles: what you should know

In light of the recent measles outbreak this winter, we have been fielding many questions from our families. In this summary, we hope to address some common questions and concerns about the disease in order to help you make informed decisions surrounding vaccination, prevention and treatment for your family.

As of February 10th, there have been a total of 121 cases confirmed in 17 states and Washington DC, with the majority being in California, and we are aware of at least one confirmed case in San Francisco this week. At this rate, the number of cases will easily surpass the 644 cases in 2014—the greatest number of cases since the disease was nearly eradicated in the early 2000s. Some of this year’s cases can be traced to exposure at Disneyland, while others are seemingly not linked.

An Overview

Measles is an extremely contagious, airborne viral infection that produces flu-like symptoms and a red rash all over the body. It is commonly spread by coughing and sneezing but can survive in the air for up to 2 hours after its host has left the area. Measles multiplies rapidly in the nasal cavity and then spreads to the lymphatic system, respiratory tract, and other organ systems. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure, well after the virus is contagious, meaning that an exposed individual can spread the disease before they experience any symptoms. The virus can be killed by heat, light, and solvents so preventive measures can be effective especially if you suspect exposure. Nasal irrigation with a solution like Xlear can help flush out the virus before it spreads beyond the nasal cavity. Sanitization of surfaces and hand washing can help reduce the potential for exposure.

Rate of Infection

Despite the relative ease of killing the virus, its rapid proliferation makes rates of infection high. A person is contagious as soon as they are infected, for days before symptoms begin and for days after a rash develops. The likelihood of an unvaccinated person becoming infected after exposure is over 90% on average, and 94% for unvaccinated children ages 1- 4.


Initial symptoms are similar to influenza, and may include a fever of up to 105F, runny nose, cough, and pinkeye. One significant differentiating symptom is the brief appearance of white spots (called “Koplik spots”) inside the cheek during the early onset of measles. Following respiratory symptoms and Koplik spots, a red blotchy rash typically appears—first on the face, then spreading downward over the body. Unfortunately, because Koplik spots appear only briefly during early onset of measles, this symptom has often passed by the time a patient presents to their doctor.


Complications are greater among children under 5 and adults over 20, as well as those with nutritional deficiencies and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Common complications of measles include diarrhea, ear infection, and pneumonia. A less common but severe complication is brain infection, called encephalitis, which occurs in about 1 per 1000 cases. Encephalitis carries a 15% mortality rate and a 25% prevalence of lasting neurological damage.  As pediatricians, this is a risk that we worry about especially for unvaccinated children.  Very rarely, a fatal degenerative neurological condition known as SSPE may present up to a decade after apparent full recovery. This condition presents in about 1 per 100,000 measles cases, but always results in death.

Overall mortality for measles is 1-2 per 1000 cases, with the proportion being higher among young children. The risk is higher for infants under 1 year for whom the measles vaccine is not recommended except for short-term protection while traveling to high-risk areas, or in the event of an epidemic, which has not been declared in California. These very young children must rely on “herd immunity” to avoid infection, as their developing systems are less likely to respond to the vaccine.  Most experts say that herd immunity depends on a vaccination rate of 95%.   Our understanding is that the measles vaccination rate in the San Francisco Bay Area is currently around 91%.

MMR Vaccine

Among confirmed cases of measles in California, fewer than 2% were vaccinated against the disease.

MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) is the vaccine used to prevent measles infection. It is a live virus that creates a mild infection to elicit an immune response. The first dose is typically given at 12 to 18 months of age, with about 95-98% of these children developing protective antibodies. A second dose is given to ensure that those remaining 2-5% also develop immunity. This second round is typically given at 4 years but can be administered as early as 4 weeks after the first. An alternative to receiving both rounds of the vaccine is to draw titers (bloodwork to check for antibodies) to confirm immunity from the first vaccine.

Because MMR is a live virus, certain populations are not able to receive it and must rely on others’ immunity to be protected. This includes babies under 6 months, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals. Those with severe allergic reactions to certain components of the vaccine should also avoid MMR, though this is rare. MMR is considered safe for people with egg allergies.

Very rarely, the MMR vaccine may trigger an autoimmune reaction that causes brain inflammation, though this occurs less frequently than with the measles virus itself. Individuals with autoimmune disorders seem to be more susceptible to this complication. As noted above, compromised immunity is one of a few contraindications to receiving MMR.

So while we cannot say that MMR carries zero risk, we do know that the risk of developing serious complications like SSPE is many times higher among individuals who contract the measles virus compared to those who receive the vaccine (1 in 100,000 vs.1 in 1 million).

Prevention & Treatment

Vaccination at 12-15 months provides the most certain protection against the virus. Vaccination within 72 hours of exposure has been shown to prevent the disease in previously unprotected individuals.  Unvaccinated adults who are around young children should consider vaccination. 

In the event of infection, a high dose regimen of vitamin A may reduce risk of complications. The regimen is recommended by the World Health Organization for all children with measles. While there is a risk of toxicity with high dosing of vitamin A, this short-term protocol may help diminish adverse complications with relatively low risk of toxicity:

Administer once per day for two days…

• 50,000 IU for infants under 6 mos.

• 100,000 IU for infants 6-11 mos.

• 200,000 IU for children 12 mos. +

To boost the immune system and reduce the possibility of infection, maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D throughout the winter and be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and keep sugar intake to a minimum. Here are our tips on staying generally healthy through the winter months: Eat a Rainbow

Try to avoid fever reducers such as Tylenol and Motrin, which may actually worsen the severity of measles by tempering the body’s natural response to fighting infection. Reserve these for when discomfort from fever prevents adequate hydration and sleep, which are vital for recovery.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a custom consultation to further discuss measles and the MMR vaccine.

Pass it on

If you know someone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter, you can easily forward up to five copies at once.

© 2015 GetzWell Pediatrics, 1701 Church St. San Francisco, CA 94131

Kid Friendly Nourishing Savory Snacks - Part 1

Angie Needels

Want to offer your kids more healthy snack options that are easy to grab and go and will support their development, learning, play, immune and sleep? 

All of these snacks are based on a traditional way of eating, so they are either pastured, raw, cultured/fermented, and/or have healthy fats and proteins in them to bring in lots of great nutrients that will aid in keeping your child(ren) healthy and ready for another day. Many of these snacks can easily be made at home, bought in stores or online.

Please always consider the highest quality organic or pastured (no herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or GMOs) foods for your family as an investment in your health. Reference our Traditional Foods on a Budget post to find out plenty of ways to make eating high quality whole foods easier on your pocketbook.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts with more snack ideas and simple recipes.
Next post = Kid Friendly Nourishing Beverages & Sweet Snacks... yum!

Want more ideas? Got Questions? Let me know!


beef jerky / beef sticks
turkey jerky
salmon jerky, cured lox, or smoked salmon chunks
shrimp bites / niboshi (tiny dried sardines or anchovies)
hot dog bites

mini meatballs (beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken or mixed) with organ meats and veggies
chicken / turkey tenders with nut crust
sausage bites
liver pate on cucumber slices and other charcuterie
crispy chicken skins or pork rinds
bacon chips, salami chips, and prosciutto chips
roasted or cured sliced meats (roast beef, turkey, chicken, salami, etc.)
meat and cream cheese 'rolls'                                                                                                      
soft, hard or deviled pastured eggs
frittata bites or mini egg/cheese/meat muffins
parmesan chips "frico" (recipe below)
homemade savory crackers made with herbs, nuts, seeds, and cheeses
sprouted nuts and seeds / trail mix
veggie crudite (cut carrots, radish, snap peas, celery, etc.) with nut/seed butters, dips
sun-dried tomatoes
lacto-fermented dill pickle ‘sticks/chips’
olives (fresh or dried)
nori sheets /seaweed roll-ups
dried veggies chips (plantain, kale, brussel sprout, sweet potato, beet, mushroom)
teff injera bread 'chips'
popcorn with butter or coconut oil
pao de quejio (Brazilian cheese bread)
kabalagala (
plantain fritters)

Links for sourcing:
First check your local farmer's market. Many vendors make the markets diverse in ingredients and are conveniently in your neighborhood. For example...
HERE is the Berkeley Farmer's Market Vendor Directory. 
HERE you can find the closest Farmer's Market in your neck of the woods.

Vital Choice = seafood
US Wellness Meats = beef sticks, pork rinds
Grass-fed Beef Crisps / Jerky Chews / Caveman Fuel = jerky
Epic Bars = pemmican style snack bars
BackyardCSA = weekly traditional foods grocery with a variety to choose from
The Local Butcher Shop (Berkeley) = jerky, meat sticks and lots of charcuterie
Tara Firma Farms = (SF Bay Area) sliced deli meats
Thistle Meats = (Petaluma) sliced deli meats, pate
Sonoma County Meat Co.  = (Santa Rosa) meat

* * * * *


Savory Parmesan Chips (Frico)

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs (optional)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

(optional) Toast sesame seeds in small skillet over medium heat, tossing continually until lightly browned.

Toss all ingredients in a small bowl. Make small clumps (approximately 1-2" in diameter) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. They will be crisp once cooled. 

Enjoy as crackers or chips. 

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From the Old Ways,
Primal Mama

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Thanks to Nom Nom Paleo for a super fabulous kid friendly snack foods image! We heart you!