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Six Ways to Spice Up Your Health

I don’t know about you, but November totally snuck up on me!

It seems like Mister Wes and I were JUST getting started grilling and having dinners on the deck. 

But, I’m not really that upset about it. There is something refreshing and comforting about bundling up in sweaters and scarves, inhaling the cool air and sipping on warming soups.

(I know, I know….I might feel differently about it when we’re knee-high in snow drifts! For now, just let me remain positive.)

Fall is the perfect time to bring out warming spices for cool weather drinks and dishes. From homemade hot chocolate to pumpkin spice muffins, there are certain spices that pair perfectly with the crisp leaves and shorter days of autumn.

Is there anything better than oatmeal with cinnamon or a little cayenne in your hot cocoa?

However, spices can do so much more than just enhance the flavor of your food – they can also enhance your health. Head on over to the blog to check out my six favorite fall spices to enjoy amazing flavors and incredible health benefits!

CINNAMON is a powerful antioxidant that can improve insulin response and help keep blood sugar under control. Research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.

How to use it: Cinnamon is commonly used in oatmeal and other breakfast foods. But, it pairs well with savory dishes as well like fall squashes, lamb and chicken. Search for Moroccan recipes, which frequently use cinnamon.
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NUTMEG contains antibacterial compounds that can help fight germs in your mouth. The primary substance is macelignan, which reduces plaque formation by 50 percent and eradicates cavity-producing microbes, according to Italian researchers.

How to use it: Nutmeg pairs well with winter squashes, leafy greens as well as yogurt. Try it in coffee or homemade hot chocolate.
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GINGER is known for it’s ability to calm upset stomach and relieve nausea, but it has also been shown to help decrease pain. Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, is thought to reduce inflammation and block nerve pathways that process pain.

How to use it: Ginger is a great addition to stir-fries, cabbage slaws and in pureed pumpkin soup.
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TURMERIC, also found in curry powders, is given its bright yellow color by curcumin. This powerful substance is getting a lot of attention in the scientific community for it’s potential anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it: Curry and turmeric are essential for Indian curry dishes. You can also add turmeric to sautéed leafy greens, or blend it with honey and add it to hot water for a refreshing hot drink.
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CAYENNE helps crank up your body’s thermostat by giving your metabolism a nice boost, thanks to the substance capsaicin. On a side note, use a sprinkle of cayenne on a cut to staunch bleeding. Surprisingly, this does not sting as you might expect!

How to use it: A small amount of cayenne doesn’t add spice as much as it adds just a touch of heat to dishes. If you are a fast eater, adding just a small pinch of cayenne can help slow you down. Cayenne is perfect for chili or on roasted winter squash.
———-
CUMIN can provide up to 22 percent of your daily iron intake in just one tablespoon. Preliminary research has also shown that this spice can boost your brainpower: in an animal study, consuming cumin extract was shown to improve performance on memory tests.

How to use it: Cumin is used in Indian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. You can use it already ground, or toast the seeds for a stronger flavor. From black beans and rice to Indian curry, cumin is an all around spice that can be used in a variety of ways.

Comments { 2 } · Posted on November 10, 2015 in General

Six Superfoods for Women

Nature demands a lot of women. Fluctuating hormones, growing babies, demanding work schedules, managing households, and shuttling children to endless activities requires nearly superhuman powers. However, with the right nutrients on your side you can get through it all with less struggle and greater joy.

Here are six great-tasting superfoods to help you get through is all, while keeping your health intact. For the greatest benefits, include two to three servings of each these foods every week.

1. Leafy greens: Kale, Swiss chard, collards greens, spinach, and their cousins provide bone building calcium. They are also high in folate, the natural form of folic acid, which is important for pregnant women and may also prevent cervical cancer. Leafy greens that are part of the crucifer family (including kale, collards, mustard greens, and turnips) contain a compound that helps the body metabolize estrogen into a safer, more usable form to boost protection against breast and other hormone-related cancers.
How to use: Virtually all leafy greens are a great addition to soups and stews. When sautéed with onions and garlic they make a simple and delicious side dish. Adding lemon to greens helps cut their bitterness and makes their iron content more easily absorbed in the body.

2. Fatty Fish: Wild salmon and sardines provide high-quality protein as well as a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s may help prevent menopause-related depression and mood changes. This healthy fat also reduces LDL (lousy/bad) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
How to use: If you don’t have time to cook fresh fish, don’t fret. Canned salmon and sardines are an excellent alternative, while still providing the same health benefits. Serve them alongside a salad, on a sandwich or make fish patties. Up to 6 ounces per serving, twice a week is also safe for expecting moms.

3. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and others, are some of the healthiest, and most beautiful, foods available to us. Berries are an important source of an anthrocyanidins, a chemical that not only gives berries their vibrant colors, but provides us with powerful antioxidant effects that strengthen our blood vessels, helping to protect our hearts, prevent varicose veins (which includes hemorrhoids), improve our eyesight, reduce inflammation, and prevent cancer.
How to use: When berries are not available fresh, frozen organic berries are a great substitute. Use them on yogurt or cottage cheese, in smoothies or salads.

4. Avocados: Avocados are lean green nutrient machines! Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are loaded in nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, folate and B6. They help keep you satisfied and prevent cravings while also nourishing skin, hair and nails.
How to use: Try having half an avocado alongside your breakfast eggs in the morning, or add it to your lunchtime salad. Avocados also make smoothies nice and creamy.

5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, compounds that naturally modulate estrogen levels. This can increase protection against breast cancer and promote regular ovulation. They contain omega 3’s for heart health and protein for sustained energy. Plus, flaxseeds high fiber content prevents constipation and improves colon health.
How to use: Buy whole flaxseeds and grind them fresh before using to gain maximum benefits. You can add them to yogurt, smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or use them in baked goods.

6. Dark chocolate: That’s right! Even dark chocolate has superfood health benefits for women, especially for your heart. Heart diseaseßs is the leading cause of death for women in the United State. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which can cause cardiovascular disease.
How to use: Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and enjoy one piece per day. They key with chocolate is to take your time and savor it, instead of eating it for emotional reasons. You can also try adding raw cacao to a smoothie for a “healthy-fied” milkshake.

What superfoods do you use to supercharge your health?

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 20, 2015 in General

What can kale do for you?

Wednesday is National Kale Day. And, with cooler weather approaching, this nutritional powerhouse will be popping up at our local farmers markets.

Kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was popular in Europe during the Roman times and the Middle Ages, it arrived in North America in the 17th century. America plants more acres in Kale than Brussels sprouts. There are over 50 varieties of kale, and there happens to be 50 Shades of Kale as well.

This leafy green vegetable is incredibly nutrient-dense and should be part of your weekly meal rotation.

Just one cup of raw kale…

  • contains just 33 calories
  • provides 134% of your daily vitamin C needs
  • provides 684% of your daily vitamin K needs
  • provides 204% of vitamin A
  • is an excellent source of calcium and iron

Clearly, a little goes a long way!

Click here for my favorite kale recipe – even my husband dives right in!

Kale and cancer

Apart from its impressive vitamin and mineral content, kale also contains over 45 different flavonoids – healing compounds that are found in the pigments and the cell structures of the leaves. These compounds could potentially prevent cancer. According to nutritionist George Mateljan, kale has been associated with lowering the risks of at least five different types of cancer. These include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

Kale and diabetes

Kale can also be helpful for those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Eating kale and other leafy greens provides a healthy amount of fiber that can play an important role in balancing blood sugar. It also contains some protein, which can help with sustained energy and keep blood sugar stable. 1 cup of raw kale contains 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Kale and liver health

Kale, and other similar bitter greens like collards, Swiss chard and dandelion greens are incredibly cleansing for the liver due to their high sulfur content. Your liver is your body’s detox organ and keeping it functioning properly will ensure toxins are able to be properly processed.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list, kale should be organic, when possible. Since kale is a hardy vegetable, inexpensive and easy to grow, it is generally close in price to conventionally grown kale.

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking does not damage the nutrients as long it is brief – 10-15 minutes at high heat, or 35 minutes at lower heat or when baking. Kale can be added to soups, stews, salads, and smoothies.

For some, kale can have too bitter of a taste. Simply adding lemon juice to your kale salad or sauté can help cut the bitterness and add a refreshing taste. After a frost, kale becomes sweeter. So, perhaps basing your purchase on the weather will make kale even more appealing for you!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 6, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

[Video] How to open a can of coconut milk

Coconut Milk Image

“What is that thick stuff at the top of the can???”

I get this question all the time from clients and students when they open their first can of coconut milk.

My response, “that’s the good stuff!”

Coconut milk is essential when stocking a whole foods pantry.

Coconuts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, E and most of your B vitamins as well as minerals such as iron, selenium and magnesium.

In certain parts of India, especially coastal areas, the coconut tree is referred to as kalpavrisksha which is Sanskrit for, “tree which gives all that is necessary for living” because all parts can be used – the water, milk, sugar and oil.

Check out the video to find out how I open and store my coconut milk.

I recommend buying full fat canned coconut milk rather than the kind found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

The canned version has very few ingredients – coconut, milk and guar gum (a safe stabilizer) whereas the refrigerated version has a laundry list of ingredients, additives and sugar. Ick!

Coconut milk is a great substitute if you’re dairy free or are wanting to experiment going without dairy for a while.

I use coconut milk in curries, veggies soups, smoothies, chia pudding, chocolate milk, and as a substitute in baking recipes.

Recently, I learned you can make whipping cream with it.

I see a fruit crumble in my future…..

Do you have a delicious coconut milk recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on May 18, 2015 in General

[Video] Should you go gluten free?

Gluten Free Video Pic

Gluten has made a big splash in the food and nutrition world.

Since being linked to a host of health conditions including:

  • chronic fatigue
  • anxiety and depression
  • digestive issues such as IBS/IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • MS
  • and a whole host of other autoimmune conditions such as lupus and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Now, you can find gluten free everything on supermarket shelves.

So, the question remains….

Should you go gluten free?

And, what the heck is gluten anyway?

And, another question. What foods is it in?

You might also be wondering….

Isn’t going gluten free a total pain where the only food you can eat tastes like cardboard?

Take 5 minutes and watch my latest video where I explain gluten and answer the big question…

Should you go gluten free?

If you want to try going gluten free join me for my 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse!

You’ll get all the information and support you need to successfully try going gluten free for 14 days. And, it will be easy peasy. I promise!

In your cleanse handbook you’ll get a detailed gluten free guide so you will know exactly how to identify gluten, what foods it’s in, gluten free alternatives and more.

Plus, over 60 delicious gluten free recipes (that taste NOTHING like cardboard!).

Ready to give it a try?

Our first class will take place on Friday, May 8th!

CLICK HERE to learn more and reserve your spot today.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on April 23, 2015 in General

[Video] Why you shouldn’t be afraid of this food

Sardines Blog

I kind of lied the first time I ate sardines.

I was in the middle of my two-year nutrition program at Bauman College in Berkeley, CA.

Not only was I reading and learning every piece of nutrition information I could get my hands on. I was proudly eating my way through a whole list of foods that I had never or rarely eaten.

Then, my friend Jamie invited me over to her house for lunch.

And, sardines happend.

Watch the video below, or read on for the full story.

Jamie had been a health coach for a few years and had become my personal and professional mentor of sorts. Plus, an introducer to new foods.

When I arrived she had sweet potatoes baking in the oven and was making a green salad.

Then, she pulled a can out of her pantry, opened it and asked…

“Do you remove the little bones from your sardines or leave them in?”

I had JUST started eating sardines maybe a week before (because we learned about them in school and I was determined to be a good nutrition student).

Wanting to maintain my “sardine savvy” I cooly responded, “oh, I just leave them in.” Honestly, I was kind of freaking out inside.

“Great! Me too.” She responded.

Whew, nice save Tanya!

Fast forward a few years….

Sardines are a staple in my pantry. I eat them regularly on their own or mixed into tuna salad. I even give samples of them to some of my clients. (Who all have agreed so far that they aren’t scary AND are so good!)

Oh, and Jamie is one of my dearest friends with whom I have shared many more amazing, home-cooked meals….with and without sardines. (By the way…she is launching a free journaling program. You’ve got to check this out!)

I want you to start incorporating sardines too! If I could do it, you can too!

Here is a simple recipe to get you started:

Tuna Salad with Tahini

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1 can tuna, drained (Wild Planet recommended)
½ small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup tahini
Juice of one small lemon
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon tamari
handful fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 can sardines, optional

Instructions

For the tuna

  1. Drain tuna
  2. Break up in medium bowl with fork (this is where you can add in one or several sardines into the mix)
  3. Add onion and set aside

For the tahini dressing

  1. Small bowl combine tahini and lemon juice
  2. Add water to thin
  3. Add tamari, parsley and pinch of salt
  4. Pour half of mixture over tuna and mix
  5. Season with salt and pepper

Check out the video and get a simple tuna salad recipe that you can easily add sardines to.

Are you already a sardine fan? What do you do with them? Tell me in the comments below!

Cleanse-Banner-for-Facebook with Start Date

P.S. The 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse is kicking off May 8th! If you are ready to have more energy, think clearly, sleep better and maybe even lose a few pesky pounds come join me.

You can do this online program from the comfort of your home. It includes live classes, cooking demos, over 60 recipes, menu plans and more!

Space is limited. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Comments { 6 } · Posted on April 14, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

Make your own gummy candy

Sour Gummy Candies

In the last few weeks I’ve become obsessed.

Obsessed with gelatin.

Yes, it might seem weird. Ok, it IS weird. But, I’m completely fascinated by the stuff.

Gelatin is magical. It’s liquid when warm, solid and gelatinous when cool. Amazing!

Think about it. Cooking bones for a length of time gives us the the most deeply nourishing food – broth.

When done correctly the broth will thicken and become gelatinous when it cools.

Like I said…it’s magical!

If you’ve never made stock I’m sure you’re familiar with gelatin in the form of the shivering colored dessert you enjoyed as a kid. I will never forget the green and pink desserts I had to scoop into plastic containers while working at a grocery store deli in college. Ick!

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a different kind of gelatin. One that has been used in traditional cooking for centuries contains critical nutrients for our health AND can be made into your favorite childhood dessert – a clean food version that is.

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, flavorless solid substance derived from the collagen found in animal bones. It is a great source of amino acids, which support healthy skin, strong bones, proper muscle synthesis and balanced mood.

What are the benefits of gelatin?

Slowly cooked bone broth is also an excellent source of gelatin, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. However, you may not have the time or inclination to simmer bones on your stovetop all day. This is where a gelatin powder can be an great substitute – if it is a variety that has been produced from healthy animals. I like this brand.

At 6 grams per tablespoon, gelatin is a great source of easily absorbable protein. This helps promote growth and wound healing in the body. It also contains collagen and amino acids. Of particular interest is the amino acid lysine since it is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption – two essential components of building strength in and around our bones.

Gelatin can be especially supportive for people suffering from inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis can potentially help manage inflammation and pain in the joints.

A compromised gut and digestive system can exacerbate inflammation and autoimmune conditions, many of which are connected to joint health such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Gelatin has been shown to enhance gut integrity and digestive strength by improving digestion and restoring the mucosal lining in the stomach.

How do I incorporate gelatin?

Gelatin can be stirred into warm water and taken as a drink on an empty stomach.

However, it can also be used in a variety of different recipes (a much yummier way of consuming it). To steer clear of food colorings, processed sugar and other additives gelatin can be heated with a juice or other liquid, sweetener and flavorings to create homemade jello or gummy candies. You can even make your own marshmallows!

Gelatin is an all-around nourishing food that supports joint and digestive health as well as liver health, hormone balance, hair, teeth nails and many other body systems. Certainly a food to start stocking in your pantry today!

A quick Google search for “homemade gelatin gummies” or “homemade chewable vitamins” will yield a long list of recipes to choose from.

The recipe below is the simplest one I’ve found and a great way to get started. You can use different types of juices (think blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate etc), add your favorite essential oils (make sure they’re safe for consumption), and even experiment with some spices. I used ground turmeric and a few drops of ginger essential oil to create an anti-inflammatory version. You can leave these out for your first go around if you want.

The possibilities are endless! I literally spent several hours on Saturday making a variety of different concoctions, using different sweeteners, juices and spices. My fridge is stocked and we’re enjoying gummy candies after dinner….just like 1989 🙂

Gummy CandiesHomemade Sour Gummy Candies with Turmeric and Ginger

Ingredients

2 tablespoons gelatin (I used this brand)
1/3 lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or xylitol
2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2-3 drops ginger essential oil

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan whisk together the gelatin into the lemon or lime juice and add your sweetener of choice. The juice should be cool. Warm liquid will cause the gelatin to get lumpy. It will be a thick consistency when you first start to add the gelatin.
  2. Heat the juice and gelatin over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin melts and everything is nice and liquidy (yes, that’s a technical term). Stir in the turmeric and ginger essential oil, if using.
  3. Taste your gelatin liquid and add more sweetener if needed.
  4. Carefully pour your gelatin liquid into small silicone molds, ice cube trays, or a glass baking dish. If you use the glass baking dish you can cut your gummy’s into whatever size you want.
  5. Place your liquid gummy candies in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once they become firm in the freezer they will keep their form.
  6. Remove the gummy’s from the freezer and remove from their mold. Store your gummy’s in a jar or other glass container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about 7 days….if they last that long!

Recipe adapted from MommyPotamus

Note: In the above pictures I played around with different mixes of juices and sweeteners. Get an organic juice that is NOT from concentrate to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Read the ingredients so you can steer clear of juice with added sugars and other weird ingredients.

Tell me, what is your favorite gummy candy or flavor as a kid? How can we recreate that into a healthy, nourishing treat?

Comments { 6 } · Posted on April 7, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

My method for moving out of a funk

Dance Party Large Final

I gotta tell you….I’ve been in a serious funk lately.

Not just a one or two days of feeling a bit blue.

This has been going on for WEEKS!

It started with an eye twitch earlier this month that lasted for 9 DAYS! It was maddening.

Around the same time I started not sleeping well, having crazy dreams and waking up with my mind racing around 2 am.

I could barely crawl out of bed in the morning (after hitting the snooze so often my alarm clock gives up it’s job of alarming me).

And, I hadn’t been able to take Sky on her usual morning walks (because I’m an hour behind schedule almost every morning).

I have been feeling totally wiped, weak and completely unmotivated, uninterested and out of it.

It’s been terrible!

Of course I immediately started wracking my brain as to what it could be.

I utilized all my usual remedies….loading up on my green veggies, drinking loads of water, enjoying herbal teas, taking my supplements and even experimenting with increasing my magnesium intake.

Nothing worked!

Then, on Friday morning I tried something totally new.

I didn’t turn on NPR and listen to the news like I do every morning.

Instead, I turned on my Spotify channel that has fun, undeniably upbeat, mood boosting music on it.

Songs like Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and Footloose by Kenny Loggins. And, my most recent favorite, Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon.

Music that you just can’t help but DANCE to. Kind like this….

And, that’s when it happened.

I had a morning dance party….just me and the dog.

I literally danced and sang my way through the morning. In the shower, while blow drying my hair, getting dressed and making breakfast. (Sky hid under the bed embarrassed by the scene).

So, I did it again the next morning. And the morning after that.

Guess what? My funk has pretty much gotten up and danced away!

Just think….if everyone had a mini dance party before they left for work we would have more energy, be happier and healthier.

I’m sure of it!

So, tomorrow morning, bring on your best moves and have a little dance party.

I know I will be! Join me.

Happy dancing and shimmy shaking!

Comments { 10 } · Posted on March 30, 2015 in General

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Today, I’m stepping out of the kitchen and inviting you into my bathroom.

I’m still going to share a recipe with you. It’s one you’ll use every morning, but you won’t eat it.

PicsArt_1424756525713

Stay with me here….

Transitioning to eating a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet has been a long journey for me. One, that is my no means over. It never will be.

I am always learning, just like you.

I’ve been on this clean-eating path for about 5 years now, and it’s definitely been a journey with LOTS trial and error.

But, now that I have the clean food thing down MOST of the time (“most” being the operative word here), I’m taking it to the next level by cleaning up the products that I’m using in the shower and at the bathroom sink.

For the last 6 months I’ve been making my own toothpaste. Yep, toothpaste.

It’s so ridiculously easy I can’t believe I haven’t started doing it sooner!

No matter where you on your health journey, this is something that is as easy to incorporate as eating raw nuts or drinking more water.

I know what you’re thinking….

“What’s so bad about toothpaste that I should make it myself?”

First, do you remember the big microbead debacle in late 2014? We were being told there was plastic in toothpaste that was embedding itself in our teeth and gums. Ewww!

First, have you ever read the ingredients in your toothpaste? When I did I realized that I didn’t really know what any of the ingredients really were.

Sodium laurel sulfate, titanium dioxide, sodium hexametaphosphate, triclosan are some that I’ve seen. What are these things? And, should we really put them in our mouths?

Here are three ingredients to know about in your toothpaste. There are many more and I encourage you to do some of your own reading. These are common ingredients that I think are important to know and understand.

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS has been linked to fueling canker sores. The Environmental Working Group SLS has been linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption and others. The only purpose for SLS is experience….it provides the foaming we like to correlate to cleanliness. The scraping from your toothbrush and flossing cleans better than the foam from SLS.

2) Triclosan: Tricolsan was first used about 15 years ago because it is known to fight bacteria for up to 12 hours. The Mayo Clinic states that triclosan has been shown to disrupt hormone balance, may contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria and be harmful to the immune system. Not only is this a concern every time we put this ingredient in our mouth, but it going down the drain and having a negative effect on beneficial algae.

3) Flavoring: Just like we want out toothpaste to foam, we also want it to taste minty fresh. The problem is that many toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, a known neurotoxin. If you decide to not make your own toothpaste but rather buy a more natural version at the store, look for a toothpaste that uses stevia or xylitol as a sweetener.

Ok, so now you’re ready to make your own toothpaste, right? If you have 5 minutes (which I know you do) homemade toothpaste can be yours!

Toothpaste Collage
Here’s what to do:

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Ingredients
6 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions
1) In a small bowl combine all ingredients with a fork. Add more essential oils to make it as minty as you want.
2) Scoop into a glass jar and store in the bathroom. Simply dip your toothbrush into the toothpaste and brush away!
3) Smile! You have clean, chemical-free teeth!

Recipe adapted from CrunchyBetty.com

Where do you get the ingredients?

Vegetable glycerin, or glycerol, is a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil. It is used in cosmetics and body care products to assist in retaining moisture and is helpful in pulling oxygen into the skin. You can find vegetable glycerin at most natural food stores or online.

For essential oils I recommend pure, food safe oils. There are many companies out there and I recommend you do your own research to find the company you most comfortable with. Check your local natural food store as they may carry a local essential oil producer. This article goes into more depth about essential oils and how to choose them. Here is another one that is also very helpful.

What are the benefits?

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Kills any icky germs that are floating around in there. The baking soda creates a mild abrasive that gets cleans all the nooks and crannies. The vegetable glycerin adds a natural sweetness and the peppermint oil of course gives you that sparkly clean taste.

That’s it!

Now get out of my bathroom! I have to….ummm….brush my teeth 🙂

Comments { 12 } · Posted on February 24, 2015 in General

Why Organic Isn’t Everything

Organic Food FB

Organic isn’t a new idea or concept. Before World War II all crops were organic because they weren’t sprayed with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The USDA Organic label was put into circulation in October 2002 and has since been put on everything from bananas and tomatoes to cereal and frozen dinners.

According to the USDA National Organic Program, “organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” In short, organic defines how the food or ingredients were created, prepared or raised.

The organic label does not mean the food you are eating is healthy.

A small study done by Cornell University showed that the organic label greatly influenced peoples perception about food leading them to think certain foods were lower in calories and even tasted like they were lower in fat. The organic label is no longer an informative label but rather a marketing label used to sell us more food. Buyer beware!

Reducing the amount of chemicals and toxins in our food is, without a doubt, important and good for our health. But, when transitioning to eating a diet rich in whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods it can seem like eating 100% organic is the healthiest option and and a must. However, this may not be possible depending on where you live, become frustrating and feel very overwhelming.

Here are four things to keep in mind when eating whole foods and choosing organic:

  1. Organic cookies are still cookies: Don’t let the organic label lead you to believe that one cookie is better or healthier than another. It is not. An organic cookie can still contain loads of sugar, preservatives and other unrecognizable ingredients. Same goes for cereals, soups, pasta dishes and frozen dinners. Read every label and ingredient list to become familiar with what’s in your favorite products. Then, put them back and move to step 2.
  2. Eat whole foods: If you want to eat a more whole foods diet don’t let the organic label make it feel impossible or unaffordable. The first step is to eat and cook with whole, unprocessed vegetables and fruits – apples, bananas, berries, cabbage, carrots, avocados, potatoes, leafy greens, mushrooms and more! When you start choosing apples over packaged cookies your health and wallet will thank you.
  3. Choose local first: By choosing local fruits, veggies and meats you’re supporting your local agriculture and farmers. Plus, your food didn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to you and lose a significant amount of nutrients. Your small local farmers are likely following organic practices but can’t afford the expensive certification. Check out your local farmers market and buy most of your groceries there.
  4. Learn the list: The Environmental Working Group has a list called the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. This list shows the 12 most sprayed foods and the 15 foods that are either not sprayed or have a thick skin that we don’t eat. When you are ready to start purchasing organic foods use this list as a guideline. You can get the full list at www.ewg.org.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on February 3, 2015 in General