Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 Ways to DIY

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at making your own products for your home or personal care? Now is your chance in a casual environment with others who want the same thing. 



The next Awareness Challenge is upon us (RSVP here). We'll be focusing on recipes to do it yourself (DIY). When you stumble upon this post, even after the challenge ends, you can still make a commitment to start the ten days tomorrow. Pull in a friend to do it with you, too. 

Every day for ten days, we'll focus on doing something for home care or body care. You may have already done all ten of the suggestions or on your best day, simply thought the idea sounded great to your wallet and the scent of it easy on the lungs. Whether you're a pro or a novice, come join us on Facebook! Or, again, do this challenge on your own time. You're welcome to come back and leave your feedback. 

As taken from my post in February, Bath Time Done Right: 
"Almost four years ago, I was made aware of how much I should be considering my own body care wellness... and I started looking at ingredients of consumables. It was an easy decision when it came to my little one because I wanted to protect his new skin from as many harmful elements as possible and preserve his youth."
If you're new to the scene of natural products, I would like to share with you two things: 

1) Start slow - replace one product at a time (take baby steps);
2) Keep learning.  

For those that are reading this challenge thinking this isn't right for me or it just seems overwhelming, I encourage you to simply *Try One* of the recipes or suggestions. You never know, you may surprise yourself. If your efforts turn out better than you expected, please come back and leave a comment. You may inspire someone else to give it a go. 

Let's get started!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gourmet Hamburger Helper {Budget Friendly Too}

Are you one of the many busy parents who work long hours, have kids in sports, and just need a quick meal that offers more nutrition than boxed helpers? Yea? This recipe is for you! 

Sometimes throwing ingredients together works and sometimes it doesn't but in this case, it worked hence this blog post. Of course, you can substitute ingredients to your liking but this will give you a good baseline to make a Gourmet Hamburger Helper. Depending on your grocery expenses, I believe this recipe is also budget friendly. You have some flexibility in the brand and quality of the ingredients, too. 




Thursday, July 24, 2014

CSA Inspiration: Five Delicious Recipes

What would you make with my CSA harvest? I made a dinner, a dessert, and three salads. 


I don't know about you but every time I open my CSA box, I salivate and the wheels start spinning about what to make! Well, honestly, every time I visit the produce aisle that happens as well! I bet that the way I feel about my CSA fruits and veggies is how gardeners feel about their own. Though they probably feel a lot more satisfied because they did it whereas I simply ordered (and supported) several local farmers. Either way, we are voting with our dollar and eating more of the [real] rainbow. I hope to grow my own soon with an aeroponic system but until that becomes a reality, I will continue to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. I even bridge the gap with 25

When I looked at this box, the first recipe that came to mind was roasted veggies. I mean really, how can you go wrong with roasted veggies? I threw in some salmon that was marinated in a basil 'sauce.' Not pictured was roasted potatoes in the same sauce. I roasted the potatoes separate because they needed more time in the oven. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Replace An American Staple

Any guesses what the staple is? Well, to give you a hint... it is a common vegetable that is seen typically fried or instant something or another. Wait, instant stuff isn't usually made from real ingredients, well at least not this particular food. 

Any guesses? Oh, one more hint. Congress recently said it was an acceptable (and widely pushed) vegetable at school lunches. (Ketchup too because it is made from tomatoes. How about the kind without HFCS for starters - that could help.) Gee. 

But, before we go any further. I'm not attacking the food because when we eat a variety of vegetables (and fruit) every day, this food a.k.a american staple is okay for consumption. However, it becomes problematic when it is eaten every day and especially when it's no longer considered "closest to nature." 

Like the FLOTUS said (paraphrased) recently in May, "There's nothing wrong with said food, but school lunches and WIC participants already get enough of them as it is." As you have come to know on my blog and in my health coaching business, I focus on eating the [real] rainbow. Real Rainbow = fruits and vegetables, closest to nature, a variety, and lots of them a day! Check this

I know you've already guessed what it is... right? In case you're still wondering: It's potatoes! More on this hot potato topic: hereIf you like potatoes, you may be interested in these 3 dishes: purple potatoesbuttery sage potatoes, and herb fries. Again, if potatoes are your only source of vegetables, it's time to diversify! Raises hand: "I've got a suggestion!!"

Plantains make an excellent substitute for potatoes. I am going to share my two recipes next! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eat the [Real] Rainbow

Did you notice the brackets in the post title - [Real]? I write it like this because I want you to focus on eating as close to nature as possible (or the ocean (but we're doing nature today)) when choosing "healthy" foods. Eating real means very little to no chemical additives and no artificial flavors / dyes / sweeteners, and may also mean no GMOs. I know who my audience is and avoiding all GMOs may be a huge feat so ... remember - small, when meaningful, steps over time can create lasting change. Maybe this blog post will encourage you to think of food as nourishment, what gives you life, and sustains you. Your body is a temple. Take care of it today and it'll take care of you tomorrow. 



If you're used to eating from the red light category (see more information on traffic light eating here), it may take a huge overhaul (mindful shift) to eat clean-er. I encourage you to Start Where You Are and make one change today then add (or remove ingredients) as you become more sure of yourself. You will get there! I always encourage my clients and friends to advocate for their own wellness (including your children's) and always do your own research. Don't be afraid to ask questions until you gain the understanding you're seeking. Talking about children, check out this post on teaching antioxidants to 3-6 year olds!! 

This is a collection of recipes that are mostly fruits and/or vegetables. Spices, oils, and herbs may be mentioned in the recipes (and sometimes butter, please use organic or grassfed). If you'd like to peruse more collections of real food recipes, visit Let's Get Snacking and Eating Real Food on a Shoestring Budget

I have permission to share these links from fellow food bloggers to offer my clients and readers. These recipes are simple, have little prep and if necessary, cook time, and you should be able to find the ingredients (if in season) where you reside. I chose recipes that are not intimidating to the person just starting in their journey to wellness. I have added a special section near the bottom for those who want to try to fancy up their simple dishes.  




This collection was created because I often hear: 
+ "I eat healthy. I eat a salad at lunch." (Great! But, what's on your salad? Do you have at least 6 vegetables and are you choosing a vinaigrette in lieu of ranch?) 
+ "Fruits and vegetables go bad too quickly." (Yes, they can go bad quickly if you're not eating what you're buying. There is a recipe in this collection for you to try.)
+ "I don't know how to eat healthy." (I can help! I'm a certified health coach with a focus in food integrity and label reading (quality and source matter!). Book a wellness consultation with me here.)
+ "I'm not sure how to make nutrient dense recipes."  (You're in luck! This collection provides a specific focus in eating fruits and vegetables.)
Are you ready to eat the [real] rainbow? -- That is fruits and vegetables; nature gives us what we need most. The more you eat what your body really needs, you'll naturally crave it. If you're still struggling with this, I recommend the phytonutrients of 26 to bridge the gap. Most people simply do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (I used to be one of those people 5 years ago) or they'll choose the same ones over and over either probably due in part to unfamiliarity as they're not sure how to prepare / cook them. (If you're local, I can assist in this as well via a Pantry Makeover of my Supermarket Savvy Service. Details here.) 

The USDA recommends 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. If you're active, you'll need the higher amount. Serving sizes can get confusing so *I* say to strive for five - 5 different fruits and 5 different vegetables a day! When we eat a variety (the [real] rainbow), we get an array of natural vitamins and minerals. When you can, opt for organic or know your supplier. This will lessen the pesticide load on/in your body. If you cannot justify spending a few more dollars on organic, in-season fruits and vegetables, then print out this handy guide from the EWG and buy your staples (must haves) organic. 

(When you subscribe to my newsletter, you can get a free eGuide on tried and proven ways to eat more fruits and vegetables (no affiliations mentioned). Grab it here.)


** Snacks **


Cinnamon Applesauce via Raia's Recipes (Pin it here)
Crockpot Applesauce via The Humbled Homemaker (Pin it here)
Fruit Leather via Natural Family Today (Pin it here)
Fruit Roll Ups via Veggie Staples (Pin it here)
Guacamole with Tomatoes via Economies of Kale (Pin it here)
Herbal Guacamole via Mama Rosemary (Pin it here)
Let's Juice via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Organic Popcorn via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Persimmon Chips via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Rainbow Platter via Mama Rosemary (Pin it here)
Sneaky Fruit Leather via Eat Play Love More (Pin it here)
Vegetarian Salsas via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Zucchini Chips via Oh Snap Let's Eat (Pin it here)

** Side Dishes (Or serve as a 'main' dish!) **


Baked Tomatoes via Rules of Dieting (Pin it here)
Cauliflower with Pesto via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
French Fries via Red and Honey (Pin it here)
Grilled Corn on the Cob via Montana Homesteader (Pin it here)
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon via Montana Homesteader (Pin it here)
Grilled Asparagus with Oil via Oh Snap Let's Eat (Pin it here)
Kale Coconut Curry via A Harmony Healing (Pin it here)
Sauteed Kale via One Beet (Pin it here)
Oven Roasted Zucchini via Oh Snap Let's Eat (Pin it here)
Purple Potatoes via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Roasted Cabbage via Raia's Recipes (Pin it here)
Roasted Root Vegetables with Beets via Raia's Recipes (Pin it here)
Roasted Veggies with Asparagus via The Organic Kitchen (Pin it here)
Roasted Veggies with Bell Peppers via Rules of Dieting (Pin it here)
Skillet Asparagus with Garlic via Oh Snap! Let's Eat (Pin it here)
Stewed Red Cabbage with Apples and Potatoes via One Beet (Pin it here)
Stir Fried Bok Choy via Oh Snap Let's Eat (Pin it here)
Sweet Potato Chips via Paleo Gone Sassy (Pin it here)
Sweet Potato Curly Fries via The Organic Kitchen (Pin it here)
Sweet Potato Oven Fries via Raia's Recipes (Pin it here)
Thyme Roasted Radishes via Montana Homesteader (Pin it here)
Tomato Candy via Paleo Gone Sassy (Pin it here)
Tomatoes and Peppers Rotel via The Humbled Homemaker (Pin it here)
Vegetable Broth via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Zucchini and Tomatoes via The Organic Kitchen (Pin it here)
Zucchini Carpaccioa via Happy Healthnut (Pin it here)


** Salads **


Fennel Beet Salad via One Beet (Pin it here)
Microgreens Fruit Salad via A Harmony Healing (Pin it here)
Veggie Slaw via Food Hunter's Guide (Pin it here)

** Refreshments **


Green Vegetable Smoothie via Paleo Gone Sassy (Pin it here)
One Ingredient Ice Cream with Bananas via Oh Snap Let's Eat (Pin it here)
Peach Lemon Sorbet via Mama Rosemary (Pin it here)
Strawberry Milk (dairy free) via Raia's Recipes (Pin it here)


** Mostly Plant Based (Will have dairy or nuts.) **


5 Ingredient Raw Fudge via Conveying Awareness (Pin it here)
Caprese Salad Bites via Girl Meets Nourishment (Pin it here)
Coconut Chocolate Candies via Natural Family Today (Pin it here)
Fennel Arugula and Toasted Walnuts via One Beet (Pin it here)
Nutty Chocolate Bars via Veggie Staples (Pin it here)
Rainbow Fruit Salad with Chocolate Almond Sauce via A Harmony Healing (Pin it here)


** Bonus (Too colorful not to share!) **

Heirloom Tomato Stacks via Jar O' Honey (Pin it here)
Mandarin Mint Sorbet via Jar O' Honey (Pin it here)
Shaved Watermelon Salad via Jar O' Honey (Pin it here)
Watermelon Cups via Jar O' Honey (Pin it here)


I'd like to encourage you to pick at least one of the recipes in this collection and make it this week then choose another for next week and so on. What will you make first? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Knock Out Dizziness and Headaches

...Without using traditional medicine or OTC pain relief! Learn more about the essential oils I used but a disclaimer first:

I must share that I'm not an essential oil expert and never will claim to be but I have been using lavender EO and peppermint oil for over 10 years. In the last two years, I have incorporated tea tree oil. Lavender and peppermint have been my go-tos because frankly, I don't know enough about the others to really have a strong opinion. However, I have comfortably used these two oils on my skin (DIY body care products I've made) and in my home care cleaning products (that I've made also). I am not yet comfortable consuming them in my food and until I can be sure they're safe, I will leave it at skin and home care only. 

With that said, I am open to learning more about internal consumption but for the purpose of this post, the EOs that I have chosen with a little help from my friends, is for topical and aromatic use only. I hope that after you do your own research that you'll give this remedy a try!




Monday, July 7, 2014

Connecting the Pieces with Acupuncture

Last November, I attended a free "Life Lessons" lecture at my local medical center. Linda and her husband, Shinjiro of the Acupuncture Center of Ridgecrest (ACoR), spoke to us about the benefits of Acupuncture. I am not a stranger to this ancient healing modality as I first experienced it in Maryland in '00. 




"Acupuncture uses the body's natural healing power to reduce pain, promote healing, and gently correct health imbalances" (ACoR).

I have always been open to alternative healing well before I started eating clean - sometimes we go through life not all the way in until we have to! I knew then that I didn't want to be on any medications in my life especially when I'm 'older.' What I know and apply now is that sound nutrition is a HUGE component to longevity (hence my desire to link arms with others via my health coaching business). 

I sought the expertise of Linda to help balance my hormones and later used the treatments for concerns that came up. Read more...


Visit 1 (February 2014):

After getting blood work drawn up to have all the results come back normal, I sought the expertise of an acupuncturist I met almost a year ago at a health fair. My expectation for my visits with Linda is to balance my hormones naturally. I know something isn't quite right. She explained it as Yin and Yang and a 12-hour clock (for women only). For more information on Yin and Yang visit this link. She said that my kidney pulse is low and that she will be working on increasing blood flow through my body. She did acupuncture and moxibustion. I will see her in about 2 weeks (right after my menses then again at the peak of ovulation). 

Note: Moxibustion activates white blood cells, warms the body, and enhances blood flow. 

I will be seeing Linda until my concern is resolved; however, I may see her afterwards for continued relaxation and chi! 




After 4 Treatments:

My menstrual cycle is back on schedule. Yes! The cramping has been reduced and mood swings are virtually non-existent. I may experience a bout of sadness but I realize right away that it is because my cycle is coming on and I can usually nip it in the bud. Prayer with incorporation of EFT Tapping has helped me gain some focus in my life during this time of the month. I recommend both daily anyway but even more so during the difficult times of the month. The harmony in the home has increased because I'm more level headed. You can imagine this is a joy to my husband! =)


An Old Problem Resurfaces:

In our journey to wellness, as we seek healing in one or two main areas, we are often awakened by an old injury that may not have been completely healed or was healed but due to some recent activities, it has crept up again. This is why I scheduled a fifth visit with Linda. Due to my involvement in Tabata Bootcamp, an old injury that has crept back up because I've been using my wrists more for upper body exercises namely push ups. 

Side note: When I started Tabata in March, I could only do modified push ups. Fast forward 3 months and I can do at least 30 full body push ups in 60 seconds! But, sometimes with one victory comes a set back. So Linda has been working on my wrists during our treatments. I am due for another session and I have high hopes that with each successive treatment and continuing in my fitness journey, I will be healed. Plus having the right mindset bridges the gap. 

A New Concern Arises:

The last and final visit of this series was on 6/20. She worked on my wrists but recently I've had some dizziness and headache spells. I went to see my primary care manager to see about getting a referral to a chiropractor as I think an adjustment will settle the headache issues (awaiting the approval to see one). (You can learn about my first chiropractor appointment in Ridgecrest here.) I asked Linda to work on the dizziness and headaches as well as continuing treating my wrists. 

Up until my appointment with Linda, I was having 3-5 headaches a day for a week and a half. Five days after the appointment with her, I've had one a day. Two weeks after, I have maybe one a week! I see them getting less frequent anyway. I have also been using an essential oil combination that I will blog about separately (post forthcoming). 


Without further adieu, I'd like to introduce Linda Lyman, L.Ac., who has been practicing for over ten years!






Linda Lyman, L.Ac.
I am a Licensed Acupuncturist, licensed by the State of California to practice acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion, tui na, gua sha, cupping and herbology.   I attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego and received a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine degree.  This degree is granted after a student has over 3400 hours of training.  I took my board exam and was granted a license in 2002.  

My husband is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and we wanted to move to a town that was small enough to be friendly, but large enough to welcome two acupuncturists. Luckily, we were led to check out Ridgecrest, and we moved here in 2004 and opened our own clinic in 2005 (read more here). 

Japanese Acupuncture

Since moving to Ridgecrest, we have each treated hundreds of patients with problems ranging from acute or chronic pain to depression, infertility, neurological disorders, digestive issues, allergies, hormone imbalances and “medical mysteries” of all kinds. Each patient is unique and brings an opportunity to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although we practice a Japanese Style, acupuncture originated in China. Over the centuries, Chinese acupuncture has been introduced to several other Asian countries. Every culture that embraced Chinese acupuncture has modified it to fit the needs and preferences of the citizens of that country. Korean acupuncture and Japanese Acupuncture are rather different in many ways from Chinese acupuncture but there is a common root that is easily seen. 

Heal Thyself

I believe the body can heal itself in many cases with just a nudge from the needles or well-applied acupressure or massage. Herbs, taken in tea form, as tablets or pills, or tinctures are also designed to regulate, move, or build the Qi.  What is Qi?  It is the energy or life-force inherent in everything.  Qi should move smoothly and when it doesn’t, we have pain or disharmony and lack of function.

As much as we would like to be able to see into the future, it is impossible to predict how many treatments a person will need in order to feel better, but we often can give a good estimate if we’ve treated something similar in the past.  The longer something has been going on, the longer it will take to restore balance to the system, in general.  We may need to treat more frequently at first, and then less often, until the patient is either cured or on a maintenance schedule. 

Needles - They're Very Small

Many people have an understandable phobia about needles. What I’d like to impart is this visual image: The needles we use are tiny, solid (not hollow) and designed to be so smooth that they can be inserted without pain.  An acupuncture needle can fit inside the bore of a hypodermic needle – that’s how small our needles are. For people who are too frail, too skinny, too old, or too young for acupuncture or who just cannot tolerate being needled, I can use press tacks, or press seeds, acupressure, gua sha or meridian massage. I also offer treatments using “needle free” pain relief with a Microcurrent and Light machine that touches the skin with cotton-tipped probes only.  

Beyond the Treatment

It may sound like a cliché to say “I care”, but it’s true. I believe healing occurs much more readily when the patient feels calm, comfortable and safe. I also make every effort to be a good listener, because I know that is also part of the healing process – being heard and acknowledged. My goal is to NOT hurt you and I will listen to your comments and requests concerning the treatment. I am always happy to answer questions you may have as we go along in the treatment. I love sharing the theories and methods of Traditional Oriental Medicine. Call me if you have any questions, or if you would like to make an appointment. Her contact information is here

Please give Linda's Facebook page a like, and while you're there, don't forget to like mine

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Additional Resources from Bloggers:

Treat Thyroid Related Fertility by Holistic Squid.
Chinese Herbs by It Takes Time.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eat More [Organic] Popcorn



Just say no to microwave popcorn and say yes to air popped kernels! In your quest for wellness, eat real food. Popcorn is considered a healthy treat but only when you DIY. "What about at the movies?" you ask. Well, that's a tricky one because if you're a huge 'going to the movies' fan, it'll be a bit harder to not get sucked in from the buttery (because it's not real butter just buttery) smell of the popcorn. However, there is the once in a blue moon situation so to each their own. 

But, if you're looking for a healthy snack that will sustain you, I highly recommend popping it yourself (always choose organic, the difference in cost is insignificant in most cases) and adding some real food ingredients to flavor it! 

Reasons why microwave popcorn is not such a good idea by the Food Babe. Also, WHFoods also advises against microwave popcorn as seen here. Get the low down on the nutrition facts of various flavors of popcorn (and this is not even accounting for the ingredients inside the ingredients!) from the Huffington Post as seen here.

I had fun making my own stove popped kernels as seen here and this can be a little tricky (watch out for burns, not enough oil, not a big enough pot)... but you can make great popcorn with an air popper (like this). 

I'm an advocate of grazing (eating small, nutrient dense snacks or meals throughout the day). It is a philosophy I teach in L.E.A.N. More on raising a grazer here, the effortless snacking on the go here, and lastly, speedy snacking solutions here

This recipe is gluten free and dairy free - yep, no butter! (But I'd only use grassfed or organic butter anyway because I do eat dairy in small amounts.)