Navajo Nation Junk Food Tax to Combat Obesity

The Navajo nation has imposed a junk food tax to combat obesity and diabetes.

The Navajo Indian nation which occupies parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and covers over 27,000 square miles is taking a huge step to combat obesity on the reservation. Effective April 1st all junk food including chips, soda, sports drinks, and other products with “minimal to no nutritional value” will be assessed a 2% tax.

With the closest grocery store more than 20 miles away the Navajo Nation is considered a food desert. The long distance to any reasonable source of fresh and healthy food means that the 200,000 residents of the indian reservation rely on gas stations or general stores for their food supply. Unfortunately, junk food is by far cheaper than fresh fruit at these local stores. Nearly half of the residents over the age of 25 live below the poverty level and 42% on the reservation are unemployed. Poverty and unemployment require that the residents do everything they can to stretch their food budget including government food subsidies. 

Junk food is more readily available than fresh produce. Even if fresh fruits and vegetables were available and affordable many of the residents do not have adequate means to store fresh food including no electricity. We all know that if you can’t adequately store fresh food there is certainly no reason to purchase the fruits and vegetables that your body needs to thrive.

Is a junk food tax that answer to the nation’s obesity and diabetes problem?

According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which supports a national sugar-sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax, studies show a decrease in consumption with an imposed tax . In order for this tax to truly be effective though there must be education about healthier eating choices and increase the availability to fresh fruit and vegetables as well as minimally processed foods.

Taxing an impoverished population while limiting their access to unprocessed foods will not be successful. Additional steps must be taken to educate and evaluate the access that residents have to fresh and minimally processed foods. Food choices alone will not turn around a nation riddled with obesity and diabetes. Hopefully, there are also plan in place to teach the Navajo people about exercise and healthy drink choices. 

Only time will tell if this tax, which is set to expire in 2020 will have a positive effect on the overall health and well being of the Navajo people.

What are your thoughts on a junk food tax? Come join the Health Matters. Life Matters community on Facebook to continue this discussion.

Mountain Rose Herbs April Specials

 Essential oils, herbs, teas, and much more all on sale this month at Mountain Rose Herbs. My favorite place to but organic oils, herbs, teas, and body care items. Healthy living option from Health Matters. Life Matters.

HMLM Affiliate Disclosure

Each month Mountain Rose Herbs deeply discounts select items from its inventory including oils, teas, herbs, and many other items. The following is just a small sample of things included in their specials this month.


Galbanum Essential Oil properties include analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypotensive, restorative, tonic. This oil blends well with benzoin, fir, geranium, ginger, lavender, oakmoss, opopanax, pine. 1/2oz is only $15.38, a 25% discount

Turmeric Essential Oil properties include analgesic, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, insecticidal, stimulant. This oil blends well with cistus, clary sage, ginger, ylang ylang. 1oz is only $4.80 this month, a 20% discount

Kukui Nut Oil has long been used by Hawaiian natives for its soothing properties and utilized to help sooth chapped and sunburnt skin. It is a fabulous ingredient in cosmetics, or utilized as a stand-alone application. Kukui nut oil contains high levels of the essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic. This oil is readily absorbed into the skin, providing tissues the essential elements that it needs. Kukui nut oil is an excellent oil to add to your body care products, especially your creams, lotions, and massage oils. Kukui nut oil should not be exposed to high temperatures. You can also use it for an oil treatment on dry hair and scalp, or add a few drops to your bath water for a luxurious treat. 16oz is on sale for $10.40, 20% discount

Arrowroot Powder is a common non-GMO substitute for cornstarch. Arrowroot powder may be used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in food preparations, as a base for some of your body care formulations, and it is the main foundation for most body powders. 1lb is only $8.50 this month!

Bee Pollen When bees collect nectar for honey, they coat their legs with pollen. The pollen is collected when they pass through a screen while returning to the hive. The screen gently scrapes the pollen off their legs where it drops into a tray for collection. Bee pollen is purported for its healing and energy giving properties. Bee pollen is an excellent source of nutrition. Bee pollen is richer in protein than any flesh-based food. Gram for gram, bee pollen supplements contain more amino acids than fish, beef, or eggs. If you intend to store bee pollen for more than a few weeks after purchase, refrigeration is recommended. 1lb is only $26.35 this month, a 15% discount

 Medical Disclaimer

3 Reasons to Use Mountain Rose Herbs

3 Reasons Why I Use Mountain Rose Herbs. Purveyors of organic essential oils, herbs, teas, and body care products.

When I first began my journey of learning about essential oils I was overwhelmed with the number of oil companies and which was the best for my family’s health. In the beginning I tried one of the large multi-level-marketing companies. If you’ve done any research into oils surely you know which company I am referring to. The company’s ethics, business practices, and claim that oils should be regularly taken internally were all huge red flags for me and I sought out a new company that produced high quality oils as well as upstanding business practices.

After considerable research I discovered Mountain Rose Herbs. I have been purchasing from MRH for nearly 2 years now and I have never been disappointed with any of their products or customer service. 

These are the top 3 reasons why I love to purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs and will continue to support their business.

1. Organic teas, herbs, essential oils, and body care products.

Buying organic is very important in every aspect of my family’s life. So when I was considering essential oils, herbs, and body care products I knew I wanted a reliable organic source that I could trust. Mountain Rose Herbs was the only high quality essential oil company that I could find that sourced their oils in native soils, was certified organic, and had amazing customer service (which I will talk about below).

The efficacy of their oils is second to none. I have not found an oil that I have been disappointed with nor doubted whether it was effective in treating the condition I was trying to heal.

2. Amazing customer service

I absolutely love companies that realize the impact and importance of amazing customer service. Solving any issue that I have with a product, shipping, etc in a professional and accommodating manner goes a very long way in making me a lifetime customer. 

MRH has always shipped my orders on time, completely, and the fragile bottles have always arrived safe and packed very well.

On the few occasions I have had to contact their customer service department, both through email and phone, I have had the pleasure of “talking” to very sweet and knowledge staff members. Emails have always had links directly to a product I was inquiring about to make it easier for me to find what I was looking for. Phone conversations have been met with a sweet, helpful, and more than accommodating customer service reps to help solve my problem. There are some companies I dread dealing with, Mountain Rose Herbs is definitely not one of those companies. I know my issue will be met with pleasantries and a quick resolution to my problem.

3. Business practice transparency.

Often times when you are purchasing from a company you never truly know where your money is going once you hand it over to the business. Obviously your purchase helps support the company and their employees but every company has non-profits they support for tax and community resource purposes. 

Mountain Rose Herbs clearly discloses on their website which companies they support as well as links to the companies so that you can research the background of those businesses. When you purchase from MRH you know where your money is going and which organizations it is supporting.

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed

3 BIG Reasons to Avoid Casein

3 BIG Reasons to Avoid Casein. Health Matters. Life Matters.

Casein is a protein found in cow’s milk and all dairy products made from cow’s milk. Casein is the primary protein found in milk and dairy products. Research shows that there can be serious health concerns from consuming milk and subsequently casein from bovine sources. As with any change in your diet, please consult with your doctor or naturopath for definitive advice.

The 3 BIG reasons to avoid casein 


I first learned about the link between cancer and casein when I read The China Study by T Colin. Campbell. In his book, Campbell explains that through his research he proved that casein promotes every stage of cancer. Furthermore, the rate of cancer growth could be controlled directly by the amount of casein given to lab animals. Campbell’s extensive research indicates that cancer can be avoided by removing dairy from our diets. Fortunately, plant based protein is free of casein and therefore does not contribute to our risk of developing cancer.

Respiratory Issues

Casein is a strong mucous forming substance. It is also used to form a very strong glue. These two properties together create the perfect storm for respiratory issues including asthma and other upper respiratory conditions. 

One the rare accidental instances when I’ve consumed something made with cow’s milk I can immediately notice a difference in my body’s mucous levels. The back of my throat feels congested and my body feels sluggish from the effects on my respiratory system.


Allergies can go hand in hand with respiratory issues when the culprit is casein. If the respiratory system is not functioning at it’s best your body will be more susceptible to respiratory allergic reactions including hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, colds, runny noses, and ear infections.

If you suffer from any other these allergic reactions it might be worth your time and health to eliminate dairy from your diet to test if this decreases your suffering.

On a side note, some research shows that dairy and subsequently casein leads to ADHD. I’d like to encourage you to do your own research on this connection if you are struggling help a family member with ADD Or ADHD. Personally, I’ve seen a huge improvement with my own children and my husband in their attention spans after eliminating dairy and other animal protein sources. 

 This post linked up at Wellness Wednesday

Most Popular Posts of 2014


Health Matters. Life Matters. Popular Posts of 2014.

A new year has begun and with it comes a time for reflection and re-evaluation. As I mentioned previously, my word for this year is Faith. I have faith that there will be personal and professional growth in my life this year. A big part of that professional growth involves you. You have helped make this past year an amazing first year for Health Matters. Life Matters.

Because of your support the following 10 blog posts stood out among the rest as my most popular posts in 2014. This reflection gives me great insight into what you need from me in the coming year. It is my goal to provide more content related to the topics you clearly enjoy. Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past year, I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Cure pink eye naturally with this essential oils recipe.

1. Cure Pink Eye with Essential Oils

Weight Weight Loss Doesn't Start with Exercise. AlexisMathews.comLoss Doesn't Start with Exercise

2. Weight Loss Doesn’t Start with Exercise

Vegan & Gluten Free kid friendly snack ideas for park or beach.

3. Vegan and Gluten Free Snack Ideas for Kids at Park or Beach

11 ways to remove sugar from your diet. Go sugar free! Includes a 21-day sugar free challenge. It is a lifestyle not a diet. Health Matters. Life Matters.

4. 11 Ways to Easily Remove Processed Sugars From Your Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

5. My Experiment with a Drastic Change in Diet

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips.

6. 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you!

7. 16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

Raw, vegan, gluten free colorful quinoa salad.

8. Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

How I cured my mood swings naturally.

9. How I Cured My Mood Swings Naturally

3 vegan cheese alternatives.

10. Vegan Cheese Alternatives

2015 Word of the Year: Faith

For 2015, my one word is FAITH. Find out how this one little word will improve my health, family, and personal struggles.

 In a few short months, Health Matters. Life Matters. will celebrate it’s one year anniversary. I started this blog as a story of my family’s personal journey living a vegan and gluten free lifestyle. Over the past 8 months this blog along with the Facebook page has grown into a source of encouragement and education for those seeking to live a healthier plant based life. During this short time I’ve met, talked online, and counseled countless people, just like you and I who are tired of feeling tired. Personally it has been so encouraging to watch a few of these individuals make the changes needed to start living a healthier life free of disease and fatigue.

As I look forward to this year there are goals and aspirations that I have for my little piece of the blogosphere. Accomplishments I’d like to make professionally and personally to better not only this website but also my personal health journey.

When I look ahead to what I want and hope for in 2015 one word sticks out. It is a simple word with so much meaning and implication.

My word for this year is FAITH.

This one simple word will hopefully (and prayerfully) carry over into every aspect of my life this year.

I will need faith to:

  • parent my 7 children
  • finalize an adoption
  • grow my marriage
  • expand my blog and virtual assisting business
  • step outside of my professional comfort zone
  • nurture friendships
  • handle and heal personal struggles
  • grow our homeschool
  • bravely embrace my teenager and his first year of high school at home
  • and lastly, to grow in my relationship with God.

Obviously, this list is not in order of importance. These are simply areas of my life in which I will cling to the word faith and all that this little 5 letter word defines and embraces.

Will you join me in my journey of faith this year? It is my prayer that I continue to encourage and educate each and everyone of you this year to live the healthiest life possible. It is time to step outside of our lifestyle comfort zone and wrap our arms (and minds) around living a clean plant based lifestyle free of GMOs, pesticides, and preservatives. 

Clean Eating Leads to Clean Bill of Health: One Mom’s Story

One Mom's personal story how clean eating made her children healthier including no cavities, reduced ADD and ADHD symptoms, and reduced GMOs in their lifestyle.

It all started with my youngest getting a cavity. I brushed his teeth every day and even flossed for him. It was a nightly ritual that I made sure all three of my children did before going to bed. Leo loved his apple juice, too. I knew it was full of sugar, so I would add ¾ water to ¼ juice. His cavity got so bad we had to silver cap it. Boom. Bad Mommy. I failed my kid. In fact, I failed them all, since every one of them had a new cavity (or two) each annual check-up. What was going on?!?

My middle-child is a very gifted, scholastically advanced, imaginative boy. He is constantly drawing, making monsters out of Play-Doh, or making some Lego space ship to save the galaxy. As brilliant as he is, he wasn’t doing very well in school. How could such a smart boy be struggling, you ask? He couldn’t sit still in class. His teachers year after year would tell me how very smart he is, but just couldn’t follow the rules, keep his hands to himself, and not make disruptive sounds. I spoke to a friend of mine whose son had shown similar behaviors, and she told me that when she changed his diet, his attention span improved, as well as his ability to sit still. I figured, why not try it? 


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Healthy Living Tip #22: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Healthy living tip for this week is to remove all of the chemical cleaning products from your home and personal skin care products. Your health matters!

Healthy Living Tip: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Using chemical free cleaning products in your home has numerous health benefits. Before you clean your house consider the following benefits of greening your cleaning routine. 

Health Benefits of Chemical Free Cleaning Products

  • Eczema: Toxins, pollutants, and allergens can all affect skin health. When toxins react with the largest organ in the body eczema and other skin irritations can develop. If you or a family member struggles with eczema or unexplained skin rashes remove all chemical laden cleaning products and skin care products from your home.
  • Allergies: The effects of chemicals in your home are two fold when it comes to allergies. One effect is creating an overly clean home. Antibacterial soaps, use of bleach, and other harsh chemicals found in cleaning products creates an overly sanitized home. There is a theory that removing all of the bacteria from our environment does not adequately build up immune systems in our young children thereby causing an allergy when they are exposed to dander and pollen as they grow. Secondly, simply using the chemicals found in cleaning products can cause allergies. Shortness of breathe, airway reactions, and rashes can all occur form exposure to the chemicals found in non-green cleaning supplies.
  • Eye and Airway Irritation: The fumes from harsh chemicals found in cleaning supplies can irritate the sensitive tissue in and around eyes and lungs. Some chemicals have even been linked to asthma in children, especially those used in schools. If a bottle warns of harmful damage if splashed in the eyes, that should raise huge red flags on their safety of that product. 
  • Poisoning: One child poisoned a year is far too many in my opinion. Unfortunately, 1.5 million children under the age of 20 are poisoned every year and many of those children die from the effects of the poison. 


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Wheat Belly: My Experiment With a Drastic Change in Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

In recent years, as I have aged, I have experienced some weight-gain as well as odd skin, joint, and intestinal issues, and I had heard that gluten sensitivities were sometimes the cause. I was fed up with my painful knees, fatigue, skin rashes, upset stomach, and other various unexplained ailments. So I finally decided to get serious about finding out if a gluten/wheat sensitivity might be true for me. I have several friends who are gluten free, both online and in real life, so I was already somewhat familiar with what the term means. However, just in case you aren’t sure, let me define it for you in my own terms.

Gluten free means eating a diet where gluten is not present. 

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. There are those in the population who have a true allergic response to gluten, those who have Celiac’s Disease. Others, through the process of elimination and experimentation usually, discover that they have a sensitivity, which will present itself in different ways depending on the person. Read this list of common gluten intolerance symptoms to help you to understand how this condition could present itself in yourself or others around you. And this article published by the Mayo Clinic offers a great list of do’s and don’t for those who are trying to avoid gluten.

I determined that I would remove all gluten from my diet in order to find out if it has been the cause of several ‘symptoms’ from which I have suffered since I was a teen, and others in more recent years. Here are just a few of the problems I had been dealing with:


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Navigating Special Events With A Food Allergy Child

5 tips for eating out and traveling when you have children with food allergies or sensitivities.

Davonne is guest posting today on the topic of children with food allergies and sensitivities. Please join us as we hear her personal story of parenting a child with food allergies.

Navigating Special Events With A Food-Allergy Child

With so many GMOs, more and more kids are developing food allergies and special events are becoming more challenging than ever before.

Since my husband is lactose intolerant, I have a gluten sensitivity, and one of my children needs to eat gluten-free as well, we’ve gone completely gluten-free and dairy-free at home. I’ve also spent the past several months learning how to navigate food at places like church potlucks, dinners with extended family, birthday parties, and homeschool events.

Here are five things I’ve learned about navigating special events when dealing with food allergies and sensitivities:


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