Relactation? Yes! It CAN be done!

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Relactation? What the heck is that, you may ask. But as resources and information become more and more readily available, more and more women and choosing to give relactation a try in order to continue to provide breast milk to their baby even after their milk supply has initially dried up. Women who have lost their milk supply can re-initiate their supply through pumping!

I have initiated relactation a total of three times. The first time, I didn’t do so well. It was 2008 and there wasn’t nearly as much information available about relactation as there is now. The second time, I blew the ball out of the park! After being completely dry (not even drops!) for over 2 months, I relactated and hit production as high as 70 ounces per day; without using domperidone, a medication often used to induce lactation or relactate.


The most common question I get is “how?!” While it might seem like the answer should be complex and confusing, it really isn’t. I followed a very strict and consistent pumping schedule. First thing in the morning and right before bed I would power pump;

So morning and night I power pumped. I usually watched Netflix or played on my phone while power pumping. In between power pumping, I pumped every two hours for approximately 20 minutes give or take. I clocked my pump times from the starting time of each pump. So if I started pumping at 3:00pm, then my next pump should start at 5:00pm

I rarely pumped at night.

Trust me, I had every intention of pumping at night, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I turn into an absolute zombie. I would set alarms on my phone to wake up and I would shut them off in my sleep. I even downloaded a trick alarm, where you have to prove you’re awake by solving math problems before it will shut off. I woke up with the battery taken out of my phone and I didn’t remember doing it. I think, over the course of a year (the time I commenced relactation to the time I decided to wean) I only pumped at night five or six times total. I wanted to pump at night because I knew it would improve my progress, but try as I might, it just wasn’t working for me.


The single biggest contributor to my success was my ability to maintain my motivation. Relactation is a hard thing to do and progress is very slow, and often times, not immediately identifiable. This is the hardest part for most!

My husband (being the super hot geek he is) made me a special chart that allowed me to track not only my production, but the time I spent and milliliters per minute average! Take a peek!

Want a copy of the template for your own tracking purposes?  Download Sammi’s Super Relactation Log Here!

Additionally, a huge motivator for me was logging! I bought a school planner, similar to this one, and logged all of my pump times. I made note of the starting time, ending time, total minutes for each session, total milliliters and then I added up all the minutes and milliliters at the end of the day and plugged them into the excel file my husband made for me. My logs typically looked something like this;

8:00-8:20 —- 40 mins (power pump) —– 15ml
10:00-10:20 —- 20 mins — 5ml
12:00-12:20 —- 20 mins — 10ml
2:00-2:20 —— 20 mins —- 5ml
4:00-4:20 —— 20 mins —- 5ml
6:00-6:20 —- 20 mins —- 3ml
8:00-8:20 —- 20 mins —- 5ml
10:00-10:20 — 40 mins (power pump) — 10ml

Total mins: 200 mins
Total ml: 58ml

It got to the point I would get super excited for my last power pump of the day so I could total up my production and log it on my excel file. It was a great motivator.

On that note, another HUGE component of my motivation was accuracy. You can have just a tiny bit in a bottle and it’s 3ml. You can pump again and feel it looks about the same, but it be 5ml. For this reason, I STRONGLY recommend having small syringes available to allow you to accurately measure your production. If you buy a bulk pack with caps, you can even freeze your milk in these syringes to use for earaches, teething and colds, since antibodies are often more condensed in women producing smaller amounts of milk! I continued to use syringes only for milk storage and would freeze them as soon as they were full to 10cc. Once I started producing  4oz or so a day, I moved on to using bags.


The most important thing to do when relactating is to remain consistent. It is so easy to get behind or put off pumping, or skip a session, but that lack of concistency is the most detrimental thing to your supply. A lot of women feel like if they wait longer to pump, they’ll get “more” milk, but the reality is, pumping more often is best, even if it appears you’re getting less (or in the early days, nothing)! Remaining consistent is so hard, especially when progress is slow, but the consistency pays off.

For me, I never saw the results of what I did today, until three or four days from now. If I pumped really well and often all day Monday, then I wouldn’t expect to see an increase in supply until Thursday or Friday. This is also another reason you should keep a pumping log and use my excel file; you’ll be better able to spot trends in your pumping schedule and your changes in production!

Hands-free setup

Having a hands free pumping set up was crucial to my success. I was able to cool, clean, work and tend to the kids all while pumping. Had I not had a hands-free set up, I doubt this would have been possible for me. My hands-free setup was a Medela Freestyle hacked to work with Freemie cups using spectra backflow protectors.

Pump Recommendations

While I loved my hands-free setup, it wasn’t suitable for exclusive use. The suction just wasn’t as strong on my Medela Freestyle as it was my Spectra S2. I used my Spectra S2 with my Freemie cups for my power pumping sessions and any pumping sessions I didn’t need to be on the move and was sitting around.

When I was out and about or needed to be up and moving, I used the hacked Medela Freestyle.

This combination worked great for me. This isn’t to say another pump won’t work, but for me, these two worked well together.

The third time I re-lactated, I used the Ameda Platinum alongside the hacked Freestyle to allow me freedom. I have to say I loved the Ameda Platinum and it was so much more effective than any other pump I have tried. It is very expensive to buy, and is usually only accessible through a rental, but it is amazing. If you have access to an Ameda platinum, USE IT!

Medications & Supplements

About a week into relactating, I got discouraged and ordered domperidone. Domperidone is a medication often prescribed and used to induce lactation. While I had never used it before, I had heard so many good things about domperidone from other women. I had used Reglan in the past and refused to ever take that again.

Because it was an international order, I was looking at quite a bit of time before it would arrive, so in the mean time, I started taking fenugreek, blessed thistle, shatavari and spirulina by CassavaShop.com. It took me a while, but once I tweaked with my dosages a bit and watched my logs, I was able to figure out what would work best for me and how my supply responded.

Not everyone responds the same way to herbals though. Some women will actually see a decrease with fenugreek, so be sure to play around with it and ALWAYS watch your logs for any upward or downward trends that could be the result of adding a new herbal!


Water is so, so, so important just for everyday life! It’s even more important when you are lactating (or attempting to re-lactate). If your body is lacking the fluids it needs to sustain itself, producing fluids to sustain another human being is absolutely out of the question. If you are dehydrated, your milk supply will suffer (or fail to come in).

I have such a hard time making sure I drink enough water. I bought 1 gallon jugs of distilled water and would start drinking it in the morning and attempt to finish it by bedtime. Most days I drank 3/4 of the jug to the whole jug. I kept it by my pump so that every pump session, I’d remember to drink a good amount then and there!

Foods & Drinks

While there are plenty of foods believed to boost supply, I really didn’t focus too much on foods and drinks. I did try to incorporate a few things into my diet though.

Powerade! I found women on all sorts of breastfeeding and lactation groups talking about how Powerade boosted their supply. Some women claimed it was only one specific color that did, but in my experience, it didn’t matter. But then again, I will only drink the red or blue Powerade. In retrospect, I should have opted for the sugar-free Powerade, but I did drink a 32oz container of Powerade nearly every day, on top of the water I was consuming.

I ate a lot of oatmeal too. Steel cut and rolled oats, made in my rice cooker. It worked great and was a hot, healthy breakfast with little prep time each morning. Oatmeal is supposed to improve supply, but instant oatmeal doesn’t have the same effect. I also made oatmeal cookies with rolled oats.

I used a lot of carnation malted milk powder. I don’t drink alcohol at all, so having a beer wasn’t really an option for improving supply. No way would I be able to gag down a beer, ever. A lot of women use Ovaltine chocolate malt powder, but I really didn’t feel it made much difference and went straight for Carnation malted milk powder. I made a lot of milkshakes with 3-4tbsp of malted milk powder each. It was great and I really felt it helped my supply.

In Conclusion . . .

Relactation is a very difficult and time-consuming process, however, with the right amount of motivation and consistency, it is absolutely possible to achieve. Not all women will respond the same; some are able to relactate quickly, while others may need more time. Some may achieve larger quantities of milk, while others do not. There is no secret formula or recipe to achieve the exact same results as another person, however, with consistency and motivation, it can be done and I am here to support you!

Have any questions? Drop a comment on this post or my video and I’ll do my best to help!

This post contains affiliate links.



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Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of a DNA Test

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The science behind DNA testing has advanced at unbelievable rates over the last two decades. When DNA first started to be used commercially, it was typically to determine paternity, testing just a handful of specific DNA markers between the alleged father and child. Now, DNA tests are capable of measuring thousands upon thousands upon thousands of markers, matching you to extremely distant relatives based on just a few shared centimorgans of DNA.

The science is incredible.

Not only can we have a digital copy of our autosomal DNA on our home computer, but it’s affordable too. Companies like 23andme and AncestryDNA have been on the forefront of the DNA revolution, but as with anything, there are critics and skeptics out there. Lately, there’s been a lot of videos circulating about why you shouldn’t do a DNA test. Here’s why those paranoias are unfounded.

1. Privacy

One of the biggest issues I seem to encounter when people are concerned about DNA testing is privacy. People are concerned about “just handing over” their DNA. Some are even worse and think it’s a conspiracy for the government to obtain your DNA. I can’t help but laugh about this one.

Our DNA isn’t exactly private. Everything we touch, we leave traces of DNA. If the government actually wanted my DNA, don’t you think they would have it? They’d send some super smooth CIA agent to follow me to my home, pick up my dirty napkins, used coffee cups, dig through my trash, steal my chapstick out of the center console of my car. If someone wants my DNA bad enough, it wouldn’t be hard to obtain. The same goes for anyone else.

Trust me, if the government wanted your DNA, they’d have it.

2.  Insurance

I don’t know where this idea came from, but so many people are concerned that if they take a DNA test and it reveals anything concerning about their health, that they may lose their health insurance. No, just no. There’s so many things wrong with this idea.

For starters, just because you carry a gene does not mean the gene will be expressed. For example, my father and paternal grandmother both carry genes associated with an autoimmune disease. They did not have them, yet I did, carrying the same gene.

Another example; I carry several genes associated prostate cancer. I’m going to go out on a limb and take a wild guess that I’m not at risk for prostate cancer any time soon.

You also have to take into consideration that if this health data was so valuable that an insurance company would deny coverage due to it, wouldn’t they require DNA testing before offering an individual coverage? Really, think about it. If they wanted this data so bad, wouldn’t they require a DNA test as part of the application process? Surely that would allow them to make a better decision as to whether or not you’re a liability?

3. Legal Concerns

Another fear I encounter when talking about DNA tests is the possible legal concerns that could arise from having DNA on file. For starters, if you’re not out raping and murdering people, you shouldn’t be too worried about someone finding your DNA at a crime scene. That aside, tests submitted through AncestryDNA and 23andme are not legally admissible in court because there is no chain of custody.

I have had 8 legal paternity tests done. At each one, I presented multiple forms of identification, I was fingerprinted, photographed, and then swabbed. I wasn’t allowed to touch the swabs nor the bag. I had to sit still and awkwardly stare at the wall while a gloved stranger rubbed a swab on my cheeks just a bit too roughly. Then I watched them seal my sample in a bag with tamper evident tape.

With a genetic genealogy based test like AncestryDNA or 23andme, there is no chain of custody. I could swab my next door neighbor and register the kit under my own name and no one would ever know. If you’re that concerned, register your kit with a fake name and birthdate. Easy peasy.

4. Identity Theft

Believe it or not, people often ask me about identity theft when it comes to DNA testing. I’m not sure what credit card companies and loan companies these people are using, but I have never had to submit my DNA in order to take out credit. And if someone asks you to provide a DNA sample for a credit card or a mortgage, I’m willing to bet you should stay far, far away from that lender. Last I checked, I can’t steal your gum from the trash and turn in a credit card application with it.

5. Research

This one just baffles me. People are concerned about their DNA being used for research, or being sold to other companies (again, for research). Why is there such an uproar over research? Are you concerned your DNA could help researchers find a way to improve someone’s quality of life? Are you concerned your DNA could lead to a cure for debilitating diseases and illnesses? Are you worried your DNA could assist researchers in improving and advancing modern healthcare?

I don’t get it.

In Conclusion

While it’s good to be cautious and thoroughly evaluate the benefits and risks of a particular good or service, most common fears associated with DNA testing are honestly, quite silly. These risks might sound legitimate when you first hear them, but when you really think about it, there isn’t much to fear. While DNA tests may reveal upsetting or alarming information at times (and you should prepare yourself for this prior to spitting), these tests are an amazing resource, offering truth, transparency and empowerment of those who choose to utilize. DNA testing is opening doors that twenty years ago, we were unaware even existed. DNA tests are changing the world as we know it, and this technology is only in it’s infancy.

Won’t you be part of that change?

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Goodnites Tru-Fit Review

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I have been a die-hard cloth diaper fan since 2009 when we switched our two-week old son to cloth diapers due to a serious skin sensitivity. I have cloth diapered everywhere; when sick, when out and about, while traveling by air, on road trips, you name it! My diapers have never been an issue and the kids eventually potty train and we leave them behind. My four-year-old, however, has been incredibly difficult to potty train. She did amazing for five months, then sudden regression. She was peeing her pants left and right and nothing we did helped. We tried everything. Every trick in the book, yet somehow, it just wasn’t clicking for her. She would do great, then she would falter again.

To make the situation worse, if I tried to put a diaper on her (cloth!) she would freak out, wailing, whining, crying and shrieking, “I don’t want a diaperrrrr. I nottttt a babbyyyyyyy.” And despite my attempts to explain to her that she needs to use the potty if she’s not a baby, it just wasn’t clicking for her. I got desperate at one point and put a paper pull-up on her. She shrieked and screamed bloody murder about how “I don’t want a paper diaper! NO! It itchy!!!!”

Of course, I had a trip coming up to Cancun, and who was I due to take with me? Vada Jane. I was getting really stressed out about how I was going to deal with the potty training situation, not just while traveling, but in a foreign country I am not entirely familiar with. I was trying to come up with alternative solutions. Most cloth trainers were either A.) too small for my chunky 4-year-ol, or B.) way too expensive. Who spends $40 on ONE cloth trainer with just one or two inserts? Do you have any idea how much it would cost me to order enough cloth trainers for her during our trip, even if I were to wash them every other day?! A woman on a Facebook cloth diapering group suggested the Goodnites Tru-fit underwear.  I took her word for it and I found a killer deal on eBay and waited for them to arrive.

I love them!

Really, no joke, the Goodnites tru-fit underwear are awesome. They’re thin like actual underwear and even better, I can use my bamboo inserts for my cloth diapers in them instead of the disposable inserts. And yes, I know, I’m a mega-hypocrite because I have been using the disposable inserts that came with the starter packs at night time, but only because I don’t want to risk a leak on a hotel bed!

The majority of the time, if she has an accident, I can just swap the pad out and call it good. Every now and then she’ll get the underwear wet (hello, wedgies!) and we end up changing the whole thing, but for the most part, it stays well contained within the pad. The even cooler thing is, the Goodnites Tru-fit underwear are designed for a HUGE weight range, from 39lbs to 68lbs for the S/M size! This means I can use the same underwear on my 45lbs 4-year-old, that I use on my bedwetting 7-year-old. The Large size has an even bigger weight range from 60 to 100lbs. They even have boxer-brief styles available for boys!

I have washed these things at least a couple dozen times so far and they’ve held up great with no signs of wear or tear. I wasn’t sure if they would require special washing methods (probably should have read the label) but just washed them the same way I would wash my cloth diapers. Because they are made with PUL (polyurtethane laminate) I dried them on low heat, just to protect the fabric.

I absolutely love these things and plan to stock up.

Overall Rating: 4.4 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use

Fulfills Purpose Well:

Goodnites Tru-fit feel like real underwear. They’re thin and fit well under clothes. The best part? I don’t have to deal with my four-year-old having a meltdown because she doesn’t want to wear a diaper. She thinks these are just normal underwear and doesn’t fight it!

Design & Visual Appeal

Goodnites Tru-fit have super cute options for both boys and girls. The boys underwear even have a faux pocket on front, just like big boy briefs do! They look like real underwear with fun colors and patterns!

Ease of Use

When you’re using the disposable inserts on the Goodnites Tru-fit, it can be a little tough to get the insert in at first. They do fit well once you get the hang of it, but they seem super long at first! Don’t worry! They fit just fine, it just takes a minute to figure it out!


Goodnites Tru-fit run retail for about $15 give or take, for a starter pack. The starter pack comes with 2 pairs of underwear and 5 disposable inserts. Compared to $40 for a single cloth trainer, this is an amazing deal!

Earth Friendliness

While Goodnites Tru-fit aren’t the most earth-friendly due to the disposable inserts, I am willing to wager they are more earth friendly than traditional pull-ups and diapers. They can also be used with cloth inserts, even though they aren’t advertised for such use, making them a more affordable and potentially earth-friendly option.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Knifty Knitter Round Loom Review

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I love, love, LOVE knit and crocheted hats, blankets, scarves, beanies, all the things, but it’s so expensive to buy handmade goods like these! When I was sixteen I attempted to learn to crochet. I figured out the stitches decently easy, but no matter how well I counted or how hard I tried, everything I made ended up lopsided, distorted and funky looking. So when I went on to have kids, I just continued forking out $20-30 for a knit hat that they would inevitably lose.

Fast forward. I was gifted a big ol’ tub of yarn and Knifty Knitter looms. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what to even do with those things. And considering I can’t knit or crochet, I was a little confused as to why they were gifted to me, of all people. They sat in my craft room collecting dust for a few months. Out of curiosity, I pulled up YouTube on the roku in the living room, just to see how these looms work. I found a channel called LoomAHat and watched her “Beginner” video. It looked so simple, surely I could do this! I gave it a whirl, and voila! I had a hat. Of course, my first one wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough it surprised me that I was able to make it! Since then, I have made hats for my kids, my nieces, my nephews, friends and family. I continue to get better and better and have ventured out into new patterns lately!

The Knifty Knitter round loom set comes with four round looms. The size you will use will depend on the intended recipient’s age, as well as the type of hat you are making. In general, the smallest loom (blue) is used for making newborn, premie and doll hats. The second smallest loom (red) is used for making hats for babies up to a year old. The third loom (green) is the “everybody” loom and can be used for toddlers, children, teens and adults. The final and largest loom (yellow) is meant for larger and oversize hats, such as slouchy ones.

The looms can be a little intimidating at first, but it’s just like anything; the more you practice, the better you get!

Take a look at some of my recent projects using the Knifty Knitter looms!


The only complaint I have about the Knifty Knitter looms is that the website is frequently out of stock! Sometimes, you’ll have better luck on ebay or local thrift shops!


Overall Rating:

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use

Fulfills Purpose Well:

Knifty Knitter looms are extremely versatile. You can make more than just hats on them! You can make dolls, scarves, dishcloths, headbands and even blanket squares. The possibilities are endless!

Design & Visual Appeal

The design of the Knifty Knitter loom is simple and effective. I really appreciate that there is no “slit” below the head of the pegs like many knitting looms have. Without this slit, yarn doesn’t catch or tear when it shouldn’t! Additionally, the colors make it easy to remember and distinguish what you need!

Ease of Use

When I first started using the Knifty Knitter looms, there was a bit of a learning curve. I watched YouTube videos to help myself learn and I strongly recommend this! You can start a video, pause, do the stitch, then restart the video or rewind as needed! Once you get the basics down, additional stitches and steps get easier and easier!


While Knifty Knitter looms are a little pricier than the ones easily commercially available in retail stores, they are much more sturdy, made with a thicker, denser plastic than other brands, and can withstand even my 8-year-old!

Earth Friendliness

Because the Knifty Knitter looms are re-usable, you won’t have to repeatedly buy supplies or replenish anything except your yarn. Additionally, this tool allows you to easily and quickly create useful, handmade gifts for your loved ones, which could reduce waste in other areas resulting from other gifts you my have purchased as an alternative. But, they are plastic, which we all know isn’t that great for the environment, but the do not require being replaced frequently and last a long time.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Alaskan Baby Can’t Wait for Summer, But When You See What’s on the Ground . . .

Kids are daredevils and will take on challenges and feats that would leave most parents vigorously shaking their heads “NO!” Alaskan kids are no exception to this, except they tend to take things to the next level.

Let’s face it, Alaska has the longest, coldest and darkest winters in the nation. When the temperatures finally start to creep up above freezing, Alaskan kids are ready to play! As a child, I remember begging my grandma to let me run in the sprinkler in April. It couldn’t have been more than 40* out!

Alaskan kids are tough, that’s for sure.

Show us your tough Alaskan kids in the comments!

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Dioxin, Disposable Diapers & Endometriosis

A very long time ago when I bought into the lie that the secondary education system was the ONLY way you could move forward in life, I majored in biology. Biology was always my strong point, even in high school. I actually upset my high school marine biology teacher. Why? Because I had 117% in the class. I did every assignment and every extra credit opportunity. It got to the point I wasn’t allowed to turn in extra credit assignments anymore. Oops.. For me, biology just clicked. I guess similar to how painting just comes naturally to an artist, and music is just ingrained into a composer. Biology was my thing. I was good at it and there was never an end in sight; no matter how much I knew, there was always more to learn.

One of the courses I took at UAA required an original research project. This was by far one of the most difficult projects I have completed. It wasn’t the project that was hard, but rather, coming up with an idea. How do you come up with something to research, tie together and present that no one else has done before? It wasn’t easy, but eventually, I settled on the environmental impact of disposable diapers used the first year of life on babies born in 2009 in Alaska. The project turned out really well. I covered the chemical composition, leakage into groundwater supplies (which, fun fact, the majority of Alaska is reliant on well water), the temperature averages in Alaska and typical decomposition times in ideal conditions. I spent an entire semester on that project and passed with flying colors.

A few years later I made an unexpected connection purely by chance.


Before we dive in, we need to tackle a tough subject; dioxin.  Maybe you’ve heard of dioxin, maybe you haven’t. Regardless, numerous sources agree that dioxin is by far, the most carcinogenic chemical in the world. Dioxins, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are extremely toxic, accumulating in the fat of mammals and causing reproductive problems, developmental delays, damage to the immune system and endocrine disruption. The  World Health Organization (WHO) also states dioxin may also cause cancer. Dioxin was one of the primary components of Agent Orange, and we all know how that ended.

Dioxin is not a single chemical, but rather a group of uniquely structured chemical compounds and biological characteristics. Dioxins are considered to be persistent environmental pollutants (POPs). There are hundreds of chemicals that fall within this classification and are members of one of three specific classes of dioxins

  • Chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs),
  • Chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs) and
  • Certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Naturally occurring events such as forest fires, may produce CDDs and CDFs,  however, the vast majority of dioxins are released unintentionally through manufacturing processes, while some are the result of man-made emissions, such as burning trash. While dioxin is not used deliberately in the United States, it is often created as a byproduct of the paper-bleaching process; use on numerous products, such as disposable diapers, paper towels, printer paper, paper towels, toilet paper and much much more.. It can also be found as a result of the production of chlorinated organic compounds, such as those found in certain pesticides. The EPA has been working with government entities as well as manufacturing companies in an effort to dramatically reduce the production and release of dioxin into the environment.

One of the biggest problems with dioxin, aside from how toxic it is, is how chemically stable it is upon entering the human body and being absorbed by fat tissue. It is estimated that the half-life of dioxin in the human body is 7 to 11 years. In animals, dioxin tends to work its way up the food chain, with higher amounts of dioxin being found in the tissues of animals higher on the chain. Additionally, toxic effects are believed to occur with very tiny amounts of dioxin, measured as small as 1 part per TRILLION.

While the majority of dioxin exposure is believed to be through food, emerging research indicates that dioxin may be absorbed through the skin in dangerously significant quantities. According to the World Health Organization, infants are at the greatest risk of dioxin exposure due to rapid absorption, quick growth, and long half-life.

Disposable Diapers

I don’t care how you choose to diaper your child. This isn’t about that. This is an objective look at the dioxins found in disposable diapers.

Disposable diapers pose a significant health risk to infants and children for a multitude of reasons; many of which apply to the use of disposable menstrual pads and tampons as well. In addition to dioxin, disposable diapers contain Sodium Polyacrylate, a super absorbent polymer used to soak up liquids. These super absorbent polymers are compact and bead-like when dry, but as they absorb liquids, puff up and become gel-like. Many parents have seen these beads escape the diaper when it is over-saturated or the diaper has been damaged or torn in some other way. These super absorbent polymers were used in tampons previously but were banned in tampons due to a dramatic increase in the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS). In disposable diapers, Sodium Polyacrylate contributes to increased incidence of rashes, due to the super absorbent polymers pulling oils and moisture away from the skin. Sodium polyacrylate is also believed to contribute to staph infections in newborns and infants, likely due to the lack of oils and moisture in the child’s skin. Despite the dangers of super absorbent polymers in disposable diapers, dioxin is still the primary concern.

Disposable diapers contain a great deal of paper and wood pulp in their production. All of which is bleached and chemically treated to give disposable diapers their appealing, “clean,” white appearance. Surprisingly, even disposable diapers marketed and advertised as being “natural” or “environmentally friendly” often still contain dioxin. Unbleached disposable diapers (brown to beige in appearance) should not contain dioxin, however, may still contain trace amounts when produced in a facility that also produces bleached diapers.

An alarming study conducted in 2002 tested four brands of tampons and four brands of disposable diapers for dioxin. The results? Every single sample contained dioxin. While many found this study re-assuring of the safety of disposable diapers, others forget the significant effect that cumulative and repeated exposure to dioxin can have. Fortunately, none of the samples contained the most dangerous form of dioxin, however, there were detectable amounts in every single sample. Given the minuscule amount of dioxin required to produce negative health effects, as well as the fact that babies usually spend 24 hours a day in diapers for at least the first year of life, this is alarming. Dioxin exposure is cumulative and is believed to be absorbed through the skin at higher rates in younger individuals, as demonstrated by the study on rats, showing that younger rates (3 months old, “young adults) absorbed 16% of dioxin through their skin, while older rats (9 months old, adults) only absorbed 5% of the same dose applied to the skin. While younger rats were not tested, one can only imagine that even younger rats, perhaps newborns, would absorb dioxin in higher percentages.

Reproductive Consequences of Dioxin

Endometriosis, a reproductive disease in women, is diagnosed by the presence of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is typically found in the pelvic cavity, but in extreme cases can be found on and near organs other than the uterus, ovaries, and bladder. Endometriosis can cause heavy, long and painful periods, pain urinating or during sex, nausea, and vomiting, bowel problems and infertility.

Endometriosis was medically identified as a medical condition in the late 1860’s, and was more readily recognized and treated as early as the 1920s, but was still considered a relatively rare and uncommon condition up until the 1980’s. By the 1970’s, endometriosis was readily diagnosed through the use of endoscopy.  In the 1980’s, endometriosis was rarely seen and based on a 1979 study, was believed to affect as many 3.3% of women. At the time, there was believed to be no difference in endometriosis rates among different races and socioeconomic classes and that belief has proven true, even to today., despite the dramatic increase of endometriosis rates.

Endometriosis is believed to affect 7.5 million women and girls in the United States and Canada. Doctors continue to be baffled by the fact that 10-20% of women are believed to be affected by endometriosis. Advances and changes in diagnostic methods and reporting do not explain the epidemic rates of endometriosis being observed in modern medical care. According to the United States, 11% of American women are believed to suffer from endometriosis.

Disposable Diapers, Dioxin, & Endometriosis: How does it connect?

Disposable diapers were initially a luxury item introduced in the 1930s, intended for the wealthy. Their use wasn’t common and most families still used old-fashioned cloth diapers with pins. As the 1960’s approached, disposable diapers began to become more and more common for everyday use. In the 1950’s, nearly 100% of babies wore cloth diapers, with very few families able to afford the luxury of disposable diapers. By the 1960’s, disposable diapers began to take over, becoming more and more popular by the day due to more economical production, allowing even “poorer” households to afford them. By 1980, 50% of babies wore disposable diapers and 50% of babies still wore cloth diapers. By 2014 a shocking 95% of babies wear disposable diapers.

Take a good look at that chart, then scroll a little further back and compare it to the chart  Let’s assume that the dioxin found in disposable diapers is, in fact, linked to disposable diapers. If we take into account that the average age a woman is diagnosed with endometriosis is between 25 and 35 years old, we will only begin to see the increase of endometriosis rates in women who were cloth diapered in 1980 between 2005 and 2015. This means, that if this theory is true, we will not see the full impact of disposable diapers on endometriosis rates until 2039 to 2049.

In Conclusion

While there are many causes and sources linked with dioxin exposure and the negative effects of such exposure, until further scientific studies are conducted, and more data is collected as these babies age, one can only conclude that a direct correlation may exist between the use of disposable diapers and the development of endometriosis due to dioxin exposure.









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Danny’s Experience: Pediatric Acupuncture

I’ve been a big old hippie for quite a while. With my recent medical issues, I started looking into acupuncture as a possible method of treatment. I’m not sure if I should say fortunately or unfortunately my deductible and out of pocket have been met for 2016 thanks to my husband’s dying-seven-times-and-being-medivacced incident, but it meant I could have up to 24 visits before the end of the year and I wouldn’t have to pay a penny. That made it a pretty easy choice to try; after all, what do I have to lose? It wasn’t going to cost me anything out of pocket, and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to continue going. I tried it with Jayne Sontag of The Acupuncture Clinic in Soldotna, Alaska and loved it, so I used up as many visits in November and December that I possibly could! It really helped with some nerve damage I have from my two cesareans, but that’s another story for another post, another day!

Benefits & Uses for Acupuncture in Children

My kids tagged along to a few appointments and my son got really interested and wanted to try it. Out of all the kids, he’s the toughest, so I figured he would be the only one who would. We started reading about acupuncture together, helping Danny to understand what it is used for, how long it has been around, and what the benefits and risks are. I really try to give my children the benefits and risks associated with any decision they need to make. After all, how can they make a choice without knowing the potential reward or consequence of it? Danny and I found a lot of great benefits and uses for acupuncture in kids, including;

  • Sleep problems & insomnia
  • Anxiety & restlessness
  • Tiredness & fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Reflux
  • Fever
  • Constipation & diarrhea
  • Stomach trouble
  • Aches & pains
  • Asthma & allergies
  • Bedwetting
  • ADHD
  • And much, much, more!

These are just a few uses! If your child is struggling with a specific issue, call up your local acupuncturist and ask them about what could be done to treat that issue! Most acupuncturists are very knowledgeable in a variety of issues and can most likely help you! Don’t be afraid to ask! Some may even offer free consults either in person or over the phone.

Is Acupuncture Effective?

One of the biggest questions I get from people when they discover I have taken my son for acupuncture is whether or not it is effective and the research shows over and over and over, it is, for MANY issues, in children and adults. One study thatI loved reading about, was conducted on children with lazy eyes at a Boston-based Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital by  anesthesiologist Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D.. One group of children received acupuncture treatment, while the other group was given a patch to wear over the good eye, in hopes that forcing the lazy eye to work harder without the assistance of the strong eye, the lazy eye would be able to self-correct. Of the group of children that received acupuncture, 47% demonstrated a resolution of symptoms, while only 17% demonstrated a resolution to their symptoms through the use of a patch.

Another study, conducted at the same facility, showed that in children with chronic pain, acupuncture dramatically reduced the pain scale rating from children from an average of 8 to 3.

Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

Most kids aren’t a fan of needles though and are likely reluctant to try them. It’s okay though! An acupuncturist can use other tools and instruments to achieve some of the same effects without the insertion of needles! If you ask Danny though (or watch the video), he thought the needles tickled like crazy! Acupuncture, when performed by a trained professional in a clean, safe environment, is very safe (and effective!). While there have been negative events associated with acupuncture, the vast majority of negative events are pretty mild, according to a review published in Pediatrics.  While the review did not focus on efficacy, it did conclude that acupuncture is indeed, overwhelmingly safe for children.  It is estimated that in 2007, some 150,000 children throughout the United States used acupuncture to treat various ailments, including migraines, abdominal pain, musculoskeletal problems and anxiety.

Danny’s Experience 

We turned to YouTube looking for videos of acupuncture, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find much of anything where kids were actually using needles and not tools or tuning forks. When we went for Danny’s appointment, we asked Ms. Jayne if we could make a video and she thought it was a great idea. I was nervous Danny may get scared and back out. I mean, what kind of kid is okay with needles? I know that at his age, I would have gone into a full-on panicked frenzy if anyone tried to stick any kind of needle in my skin. You can imagine I was surprised when all Danny could do was giggle and squirm because it tickled!

Enough from me, take a peek at how Danny enjoyed his acupuncture session!


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Short & Sweet – How to do AncestryDNA or 23andme WITHOUT Spit


I can’t believe the response I have had to my artificial saliva method for AncestryDNA and 23andme! My blog generates a lot of hits typically, but my numbers have risen DRAMATICALLY since publishing my tutorial on artificial saliva for DNA testing! Haven’t seen my artificial saliva method yet? CLICK HERE! So far, I have seen my method circulated throughout various groups on Facebook, Reddit, other blogs and more! I can’t thank everyone enough for help spreading the word! This method is allowing MORE people to test, and thus, increasing the chances that more people  will be able to find their answers!  Every person added to these databases is a victory and something to be celebrated. These additions, while seemingly small and insignificant, are critical, especially for those of us who are searching for our biological families! You never know who might just be the match that leads to someone’s answer. Keep up the good work!

In the meantime, I have continued to use the method as necessary to obtain DNA samples. My niece recently tested, but unfortunately, she just couldn’t get enough spit going. I thought this would be a great opportunity to make an updated, short and sweet version of the tutorial. I mean, the last one was pretty long! Here it is!

Again, if you need written instructions, please refer to the previous link HERE.

Oh! And for those of you who INSISTED I was hurting my nephew by swabbing him, check out what Lexi has to say in the video about how much it “hurt.” She’s normally pretty wimpy, so if it hurt, she would make it very known.

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When Health Fads Go Too Far – The Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I absolutely love alternative medicine. I have always been drawn to the alternatives in life; choosing the road less traveled and doing my best to utilize more natural methods before turning to harsher, more medicalized methods of treatment. I absolutely adored gripe water for my gassy children as infants. I use herbals on nearly a daily basis. I am a huge cloth diapering advocate. I have been heavily involved in direct peer-to-peer breast milk donation. I even had an unassisted homebirth after two prior cesareans. The word “alternative” is a frequent theme in my life.

While I adore alternative medicine, modern medicine (and heaven forbid, science and biology) have their place. If I have the sniffles, sure, I’m going to try some licorice root chews and some vitamin C to help curb it. If those sniffles turn into thick green snot, a headache and fever, then it might be time for an antibiotic before this sinus infection gets dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with trying natural methods first, but our society hasn’t advanced as far as it has when it comes to medical care for no reason.

But is there a point where alternative medicine goes too far?

Take a look at your Facebook feed right now and I bet that within a few minutes of scrolling, you’ll find someone selling a magical cure-all; be it an essential oil, a wrap, a pink drink, a weight loss patch, a supplement, or even a magical unicorn to keep in your backyard. The majority of these cure-alls are peddled by multi-level-marketing distributors, while some are self-promoted individuals unaffiliated with any other company or service. While many of these products/services do have legitimate benefits and perks to their use (especially the unicorn), results are often greatly exaggerated by distributors and self-promoters (no, I don’t believe chromium is going to cure grandpa’s lung cancer), thus giving these companies/individuals a pretty bad rap. Regardless of any legitimate benefits, these independent distributors and self-promoters are revered as nothing more than modern day snake oil salesman, even more so with the almost cult-like following these companies and individual somehow manage to gain. While most of these products being peddled aren’t blatantly harmful or deceptive, there are some that are.

Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I stumbled across a post about the Jillian Mai Thi protocol while lounging in my hotel room on vacation. She is an individual, unaffiliated with any parent company, working on a book about her cure-all juice that fans have nicknamed JJ (or “Jillian Juice”).

I will admit, I was curious. I am always down for learning new tips and tricks to keep myself and my family healthy and happy, however, it only took a few minutes to realize exactly how dangerous what this woman was promoting was. This wasn’t a simple antioxidant drink, or vitamin supplement, this was a recipe for disaster. Jillian’s “juice” is an extremely dangerous fad that could have permanent and even lethal consequences, advertised as a cure-all.

Wait… Did you catch any of that? I’m not sure I did either. We’re curing the… alphabet???

What’s in it?

For the sake of keeping it simple, Jillian’s juice contains cabbage, kale, distilled water and an obscene amount of salt. It is supposedly a fermented drink, however, this isn’t true. Fermentation is a biological process characterized by the chemical breakdown of yeast, sugar, bacteria and other substances. A ferment cannot be achieved in just three days. It simply isn’t possible. Participants are drinking up to a gallon of this concoction alongside a “diet” Jillian recommends (with no actual scientific reasoning behind it).

I know what you’re thinking; surely cabbage and kale can’t be all that bad for you. Really, they aren’t on their own! I would definitely suggest incorporating them into your diet as often as you can! However, the danger in Jillian’s magical juice is the salt content. I have been told the original recipe required 1 tablespoon of salt per cup, while the current recipe states 1 tablespoon of salt per two cups. The salt content is where we run into trouble. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily value of no more than 2,400mg of sodium per day for adults and children over 4 years of age. The American Heart Association recommends and even more conservative 1,500mg of sodium per day.

Now here’s the kicker… A single teaspoon of salt contains 2,300mg of sodium. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon. A gallon contains 16 cups, which means the old recipe had 16 tablespoons and 110,400mg of sodium per gallon, while the new recipe contains 8 tablespoons of salt and 55,200mg of sodium. Considering the damaging effect sodium has on the heart, kidneys, liver and other organs, excess sodium consumption can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, headaches, puffiness, bloating, enlarged heart tissue, stroke, and other medical conditions.

The amount of sodium in a half-cup of the new recipe is more than the total recommended daily value of sodium. Jillian is recommending up to a gallon a day, despite the fact that 1 half cup of the concoction is more than the American Heart Association recommended daily sodium intake.

Endangering Infants

As someone actively involved with pregnant and breastfeeding women in my community, I have developed a passion for helping women with their babies. Sometimes these moms come to me because they need breastfeeding help, supplementation help, or their baby appears to be colicky. If there’s one thing I have learned, its that parents with a high needs baby are often sleep deprived, exhausted and desperate. I have met exasperated parents who were to the point that if I had told them wearing a chicken suit and crowing at the full moon standing in a bucket of Jell-o would cure their child’s colic, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have tried it. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a high needs infant… It’s a test of endurance and often leaves parents desperate for a solution; they’ll try anything. If you  throw in a baby with medical issues on top of that, and the desperation increases exponentially. This is where Jillian is giving even more lethal advice;


This is where it gets even more alarming. Jillian actually believes that breast milk is a danger due to the parasites, bacteria and contaminants that can be found in breast milk and that her protocol is superior. Take a listen to this video where she claims if a man had a baby, in the middle of nowhere, she would not want him to use another woman’s breast milk; he should use the juice.

Breastfeeding mothers are told their bodies and their milk are toxic and are poisoning their babies. Jillian even posted a link to an article talking about the transmission of pathogens to support her claim that breast milk is dangerous and toxic to a baby.

When a commenter mentioned that he had heard breast milk actually helps to cure cancer, Jillian quickly shut it down, arguing that if that were true there would be no cancer in those populations.

Formula is no exception to her philosophy. When members of her community expressed concerns about fat content, since both breast milk and formula contain significant amounts of fat, Jillian suggested rubbing olive oil or coconut oil into the baby’s skin to all them to “absorb” the fat.

You did not misread. Jillian truly believes that babies can be sustained on nothing but cabbage, kale, water and a lethal amount of salt. The amount of salt in Jillian’s concoction is too much for even a full-grown man, let alone a developing infant who desperately needs the sugars, carbohydrates and fats that breast milk and formula provide. Let us not forget the case of a 17-month-old infant who died last year after being fed a single teaspoon of salt in South Carolina. Please keep in mind that the NHS recommends less than 0.4mg of sodium per day in infants 12 months of age and younger, and less than 0.8mg per day in children 1 to 4 years of age. Remember the calculations we did earlier? A single ounce of Jillian’s concoction contains 431mg of sodium, far exceeding the recommendations for infants and toddlers.

But guys! Jillian says this is perfectly safe for our babies.

Jillian does acknowledge there is risk when using her concoction on infants and children; legal risk. She has a file detailing exactly what to do if you run into problems with Children’s Protective services over the use of this juice on a minor.

Take a minute and really read what she wrote. This is the woman people are taking advice from. Dangerous and potentially lethal advice. Carnal knowledge (sex) and Kosher law (Jewish dietary practices) have absolutely nothing to do with children’s services, nor will they save you if they become involved. Parents have been investigated from the reports of strangers online (anyone remember the Australian mother who tried to sell her kids on eBay?) Lastly, while this drink may be considered Kosher, it is scientifically evident that it is dangerous (even more so in children) and lacking in nutrients, thus, nutritional neglect. Children’s services is not going to give a flying you-know-what that this drink is considered Kosher.

I don’t know about you, but if your favorite new diet trend/fad has a warning on how to deal with Children’s Services…. I’m willing to bet it’s a bad idea.

Let’s regrow body parts and erase an extra chromosome, shall we?

If you weren’t sold on Jillian’s magical salty juice concoction, wait until you hear this! Jillian claims her juice has helped a circumcised man regrow his foreskin (which, presumably, his parents made the decision to wrongfully take from him).


Jillian also claims that her drink will correct down syndrome. I don’t know about you, but being able to completely delete a third chromosome from a person’s body is pretty wild. I mean, I can barely delete my emails and Jillian’s magical potion can delete excess chromosomes?

As if this wasn’t enough, many people are using Jillian’s concoction on their pets, to which Jillian has warned her community, that if the animals have been spayed or neutered, it will reverse the procedure. For those who are unfamiliar, when a female dog or cat is spayed, the entire uterus is removed. When a male is neutered, the testicles are completely removed. Jillian believes that her juice can regrow non-regenerative organs that have been surgically removed.

Now I’m wondering if my appendix will regrow…

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…

Let’s talk about what Jillian calls “waterfalls,” AKA explosive diarrhea. Jillian claims this intense diarrhea is “healing” in nature and non-dehydrating. Obviously when drinking this concoction, your body is under a great deal of stress. The excessive sodium will dehydrate you and contribute to diarrhea. I pride myself on being a good writer, but I’m not even sure I can handle this one, so I will let the screenshots speak for themselves.

Wait, what?! And this is celebrated and encouraged? Where’s the puke emoji when you need it?

Jillian’s “Protocol” is dangerous and potentially lethal…

Many people have reported experiencing illness or sickness while attempting Jillian’s protocol. Some have even ended up in the hospital. There has been at least one death that the public is aware of and numerous adverse side effects reported.These complaints and concerns are quickly dismissed as being “signs of healing.” This protocol is dangerous and is being applied not only orally, but used topically, in the eyes and ears, and even in a nebulizer (which believe it or not, is frequently discussed and encouraged in this group). One woman even ended up in the hospital following this recommendation.

I have no words for this. Here we have a woman who works in the medical field, who has been persuaded into doing something as crazy as nebulizing this salty cabbage concoction. And this wasn’t just an off the wall idea; this is a COMMON thing and is talked about in Jillian’s “files” as a way to reap more benefit from the juice.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, mold is also a common concern, to which Jillian recommends just removing the layer of mold and stirring it.  Again, where is that puke emoji when I need it?

I brew kombucha semi-often and if there’s one thing I learned from that, it’s that mold ruins everything. If your brew grows mold, you throw it out. It’s too dangerous to risk consuming. And I have had it happen to my poor kombucha brew before… But again, if it molds, it’s not safe. I’m pretty sure the same goes for this (even though this “ferment” likely has zilch for active cultures, despite what Jillian claims).

How you can help…

I could go on about all of the horrifying things Jillian preaches all day, but this is all the time we have for today (stay tuned for part 2). People are dying from this “protocol.” People are hurting themselves and hurting their families by blindly trusting this health cult leader. People are seriously compromising their health by trying this “great new way of healing.”

Do your research. Talk to your doctor (I guarantee you, not even the quackiest of doctors will recommend this).

What’s even more shocking is how far Jillian’s reach has spread. Her group contains over 30,000 members and is growing by the day. Every day, new members post pictures of themselves making their drinks and talking about how excited they are to try to protocol. This is dangerous and terrifying. There are a few ways you can help;

Have you heard of the Mai Thi Protocol? Did you try it? What are your thoughts?





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Crab House Cancun Review

I started dieting and working out in October of 2016. It took me a few months to get things under control, but I’m going to tell you, it was NOT easy. I love carbs. Seriously. I can sit down and demolish an entire bag of Hawaiian rolls to myself and call it a meal. It took me a few months to get it under control and figured what worked for me and what didn’t. Fortunately, I figured some of what works out before I received my Hashimoto’s diagnosis. It made it so much easier to make adjustments to my diet later on to eliminate foods that may aggravate my thyroid. Anyway, that aside, despite how perfect I was about following the diet for my weight loss AND my thyroid, I decided that while we were on vacation, I was going to eat whatever I wanted, and boy was I glad I did because the food there was amazing.

After a few days of eating at the restaurant in the hotel, we decided we wanted to venture out and try something new. Let me tell you, what looks like a short enough walk in the car, is definitely NOT a short walk mid-day in the Mexican heat. We figured it would only be a 20-30 minute walk to a restaurant we saw when driving by; Crab House. Let me tell you, it took us twice that and we were literally drenched in sweat when we finally got there. And of course, it was a nicer, upscale restaurant, so here we are, two dirty sweaty Americans walking into their fancy restaurant.  I wish I had gotten more photos and videos while at Crab House but I didn’t even think to do a review until after we had already left!

We walked in and immediately were taken to a table. They had an amazing looking patio outside with tables you could have your meal at, but after walking in the heat, the last thing these two Alaskans wanted was to go back outside. We enjoyed the break from the heat and took our time enjoying the air conditioning. The server brought over a plate full of examples of seafood available; shrimp, prawns, different types of lobster, calamari, octopus, alligator and funny enough, Alaskan salmon. Dan and I had a little chuckle to ourselves when the waiter told us all about Alaskan salmon and how great it is. We let him tell us all about it, then told him we’re from Alaska, catch our own and have a freezer full of it! He was pretty impressed and couldn’t believe that we were all the way from Alaska!

While we waited, we were brought some pate samplers to try. They were amazing. Of course, after the crackers and pate, we got our calamari appetizer. Dan and I have this joke that we should start a website for the sole purpose of reviewing calamari around the world. Calamari is totally our thing, and we always try it at new places whenever it is on the menu. Again, I wish I had gotten a photo, but you’ll have to settle for just hearing about it!

Dan had a steak and prawns and I had deep fried prawns and chips. I have ordered shrimp and chips at many, many, many places over the years and you come to expect that the shrimp aren’t that big (but the price is). That was NOT the case with Crab House. Their shrimp were MASSIVE. I had never been served such huge shrimp in a restaurant before! I couldn’t believe how big they were! I was stuffed by the time I finished the shrimp. My husband recommended dessert and I hadn’t even touched my fries yet! How could he have room for dessert?!?! We ended up ordering crepes to go and some kind of cheesecake. Both were equally amazing, even after being dragged back to our hotel in a takeout box through the afternoon heat.


I rarely, if ever, drink, so I can’t attest to the alcoholic drinks here, but Dan and I both had a smoothie! He had a strawberry smoothie and I had a mango smoothie. They were AMAZING and perfect on such a hot day! I absolutely loved it. If you are looking for a great restaurant in Cancun, then Crab House should definitely make your “must try” list! Be prepared, Crab House is a nicer restaurant, so the prices are a bit higher than other places, but the food was amazing and the prices reflected that!

Want to check them out further? Check out Crab House Cancun’s Facebook page and tell them I sent you!

**Disclaimer: I was not compensated nor was I provided with free products or services to write this review. All items described were purchased at full retail price using my own money.


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