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Posts Tagged ‘natural health’

Lovely Coconut Oil. I love it. And you should too!

It’s thick and creamy. It offers substantial health benefits. It works wonders on detoxifying the body. And even helps curb appetite.

For your health –
  • Is antibacterial therefore, helps fight infection
  • Take a spoonful 20 minutes before eating to curb appetite
  • Assists with weight control
  • Use to strengthen immunity
  • Helps treat arthritis
  • Improves thyroid function
  • Increases energy
  • Improves digestion
  • Treats and prevents acid reflux, heart burn and indigestion
  • Treats sore throats and ear infections
  • Even been known to help ADHD and Autism

Coconut Oil is for more than cooking with!

Coconut oil is also great for your hair and skin! For real.

For the hair –

  • It is great for all hair types
  • It works especially well on dandruff
  • It offers incredible shine and softness
  • Great for color treated hair
  • Used to treat lice
  • Removes gum from hair

For the skin –

  • Heals burns fabulously
  • Is antibacterial so works wonderfully for cuts and scrapes 
  • Is nourishing and moisturizing
  • Offers sun protection
  • Is a fantastic eye make up remover
  • Treats rashes, fungal and yeast infections like ringworm and athletes foot
  • Soothes stings and bites
  • Softens cracked rough feet
  • Strengthens nails
  • Treats eczema and psoriasis
You love coconut oil now, too, don’t you? I told you you would!

Over the next few weeks I will offer a tremendous amount of tips on using coconut oil throughout your life. Stay tuned! 

Live Well!
~S 

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I have had made just about everything you can imagine at one point or another. But there are two things I have yet to add to that long list…

Beer and Kombucha

Seriously! You’d think I would have done this by now.

Well, let’s change that shall we?

Starting Kombucha Mother is really quite simple. You can purchase SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of  Bacteria and Yeast) at a number of health food suppliers, but why bother? Besides being more expensive – the average mother is around $20, this way will cost you about $3.50 – it’s easy and you get to say you made it yourself!

Here’s what you need – 

  • A bottle of Organic Raw Kombucha (right from the grocery store)
  • 1 cup of sweetened tea
  • A large glass jar ( a wide mouth mason jar is perfect)
  • A kitchen towel or cheesecloth
  • A rubber band

First, steep your tea – one tea bag in one cup of water. You can use any kind you like. For this batch I am using a black and orange pekoe blend. I will experiment with others next.

Sweeten your tea while it’s warm. For this you want to use regular sugar. One tablespoon. From all of my research, all other forms of natural sweeteners will cause the kombucha to be bitter. The sugar is only food for the bacteria.

Add the bottle of kombucha to the  room temperature tea and cover. You want the cover to be thin enough so it can breath, yet keep out any bugs and what ever might be floating around the kitchen. Place it on the counter or in a cupboard.

Now you wait.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. My kombucha mother has been brewing for a few days now. The temperature of your house will determine just how long it takes for the mother to be ready. A thin layer will begin to form on the surface. This is the SCOBY. You are looking  for a layer about 1/4 inch thick. When you have achieved this, you’re mother is ready and you are ready to make kombucha! It could take a week. It could take 3.

I will give you an update when mine is ready.

Happy Brewing!

Live Well!
~S 

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I am fairly well versed in wild New England Edibles. I love to spend time, basket slung over my arm wandering the woods, fields and riverbanks of New Hampshire foraging for greens and berries and the like.

There is something inspiring, comforting and even exciting about making a meal from things found. Last year, while the Mister and Macala were fishing, I gathered berries. I made a lovely black raspberry crostada. Many Summer nights we enjoyed salads of wild greens found in my travels.

My thirty six years, though, have not been sufficient to leave me anywhere near an expert in such things.  Perhaps under other circumstances. Perhaps were we in a time when survival meant being so. Perhaps, no, certainly, then I would be schooled by a ten year old in the matter of wild edibles.

But I press on! I am determined to learn more.

So what will be next? 

I’m spending some time with my favorite guide this lovely, warm Spring afternoon in the Shire to pick.

My feeling, pick something and learn as much as you can about it before moving on to anything else.

I wonder what it will be this Spring? 

I’ll let you know as soon as I choose.

Live Well!
~S

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Weight loss is on many minds most of the time, but with beach season.. and bathing suit season…. just around the corner it’s everywhere.

Here are my 3 favorite tips to remember when starting your weight loss adventure.

Eat Your Vegetables

So often I hear my clients say “I eat lots of vegetables. Tons.” Only to find their food journals show a very different situation. Often, vegetables are consumed at lunch and at dinner. And that’s it. But if you make sure you are eating at least one vegetable at each of your 5-6 meals, you can drastically change your health and your waistline. When building your meal or your snack start with vegetables. It should be the largest portion on your plate.

Bonus tip – Don’t forget the protein. Protein is essential for building muscle. And muscle burns fat! Be sure you are getting protein with each meal also.

Drink More Water

Again, people often think they are getting plenty of water, but the reality is that most people spend their lives dehydrated. Staying well hydrated is essential for proper body function. Keep water in your car, your bag, your desk, next to your bed and drink, drink, drink.

Bonus tip – Oolong tea has the ability to help boost metabolism and keep you well hydrated. It’s great warm or cold. Try adding a cup or so a day.

Sneak in Extra Exercise

You are going to the gym 4 – 5 days a week. You are eating healthy. You are drinking lots of water. You want to see bigger results. Perhaps you don’t have time to get to the gym as often as like. Try squeezing in bits of exercise through out your day. Do some squats while brushing your teeth. Take 3 minutes to do a few Burpee’s. Do some static lunges in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Find ways to work in some extra exercise and you will start seeing bigger results.

Bonus tip – I keep free weights under my coffee table. During those rare occasions I’m watching tv I can pull them out and do bicep curls, overhead extensions, shoulder presses… all from my couch.

A healthy body isn’t all about vanity. To live well, we must be well. 

Live Well!
~S 

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Did you know that eating fat doesn’t make you fat? It’s true!

That stuff they call margarine isn’t real food either. It’s gross, it’s harmful and you should stop using it! But you don’t really use that junk, right?

Real food is always better. Always. But even the ones you think are real and wholesome aren’t always as they seem. Take butter for instance. Did you know that butter, yes, the real kind, usually has added preservatives? It’s sad but true. But there’s hope.

Making butter is ridiculously easy! 

Cream, a mason jar and twenty minutes easy.

Fill a mason jar half way with heavy cream.

Put the cover on.

Now shake the day lights out of it!

Shake, shake, shake…

Shake, shake, shake….

The cream will get thick. Keep shaking.

When you think something MUST have gone wrong, keep shaking.

You are almost there….

And then all of sudden, it will happen! The thick cream will separate – buttermilk and butter.

Strain the buttermilk….

But save it for something else like soaking chicken or making biscuits.

Now you have to rinse the rest of the buttermilk out of the butter.

Add some salt if you like and roll into a log and refrigerate.

You have butter!

AND buttermilk!

This butter doesn’t have preservative like that other stuff, as I mentioned, so you want to use this within two weeks.

It isn’t always cheaper to make your own butter but it can be. It depends on the cost of cream and the amount of fat. Some cows produce a fattier milk. If you are lucky enough to know someone with goats (or even better, have your own!) butter can be made with goats cream too. It will be a bit different, but just as good.

I got about 3/4 of a  pound of butter from one quart of milk. Plus about 2 cups of buttermilk. That is a savings over purchasing butter and buttermilk separately. And I don’t get the preservatives.

There is an easier way….

You can use a blender, mixer, hand mixer or food processor and cut the time in half.

There can be mistakes…

The second time I made butter, or attempted to make butter, it was a disaster. We took turns shaking the jar, the mister, babes and I. How fun! We sat and watched TV, chatted and made butter together. But in our fun we somehow missed the separation phase and just kept shaking. We ended up with what looked like chunky whipped cream. Which is just what I turned it into, with a bit of honey (or sweetener of choice) and a bit more whipping.

What happened? We shook the buttermilk back into the butter. Yes, it can happen. I had no idea. I also don’t know if the process can be altered again. I had had enough shaking for the night and never cared for the experiment to be finished.

Now let’s get a wee bit technical…

I’m not saying go ahead and smother everything you eat in butter. I’m not Paula Dean. Although I do love her to pieces. I’m just saying butter isn’t as scary and horrible as we tend to think. And it’s way better for you than something bugs won’t even touch! (Some still claim this isn’t true,but I tried it once and found the margarine free of ants and butter loaded with them. I did not, however, leave it long enough to find out if they moved over once the butter was gone.)

  • A 1994 Harvard Medical Study showed that eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53%
  • More recent studies have shown a strong link between consuming trans fat and earlier death
  • Butter does not contain trans fat – margarine does (minus a few newer varieties)
  • Both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits – margarine does not, unless they are added
  • Butter tastes better!
That old urban legend about margarine being one molecule away from plastic is truly false, however, real food is always best. Something made with “ingredients” like margaric acid, used in making margarine, is not.
If you aren’t into making your own butter at least opt for the real thing. Ditch that tub of tasteless, dyed stuff.

Tomorrow we will talk about flavoring your butter!

Live Well!
~S 

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You find it decorating your plate at your favorite restaurant. It’s tossed into salads and sauces. But did you know that parsley is so good for you it could help you fight Cancer?

It’s true.

Parsley is more than a fresh, flavorful seasoning. It has been sought after for centuries for its medicinal qualities. Cherished by ancient Romans, mentioned by Pliny, in Greek Mythology and even by Hippocrates. Parsley has been an integral part of both culinary and medicinal culture and revered in both. And you thought it was just a decorative addition to your dinner plate.

Some Parsley Folklore –

  • It was believed in medieval times that it grew in the garden only if the man or woman of the house was honest.
  • When chewed, it would keep away the devil.
  • Worn to ward off intoxication.
  • At Roman weddings wreaths were given to protect against evil spirits.
  • Used as a protection against poisons.

Here are a number of health benefits of Parsley –

  • Cancer fighting properties – contains flavonoids that helps protect cells against harmful oxidation and phytochemicals affect cell division allowing for the correction of DNA mistakes. Considered most effective on treating and preventing Leukemia, Lung cancer, Colon cancer, Pancreas cancer, Ovarian cancer, Prostate cancer and Breast cancer
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Mercury Detox – mix with mint and help rid the body of Mercury
  • Good source of vitamin K for healthy bones, tissue and blood clotting
  • Vitamin A for healthy vision and immune response
  • Vitamin C for healing and healthy skin
  • Provides folic acid, vitamin b complex, for red blood cell production
  • Potassium for healthy blood pressure
  • Iron for preventing anemia
  • A natural diuretic that helps soothe the urinary tract and prevent kidney stones

Used to treat –

  • Kidney and urination problems
  • Water retention
  • Menstruation
  • Menopause
  • Clear toxins in liver and kidneys
  • Calm nervous system

Some interesting uses for Parsley –

  • Medieval revelers placed it on their tables and on themselves to absorb odors
  • Made into wreaths and hung on tombs and used for burial ceremonies
  • Used in protection amulets and placed around the home for protection

Parley is quite easy to grow in both your Kitchen Garden and on a sunny window sill. I have had great success with my parsley seeding itself in my herb garden. You can start yours from seed, inside 6-8 weeks before last frost or directly sown after the danger of the last frost, or purchase fully grown plants. Place them in a sunny location. Water deeply at least once a week and do not allow to dry out completely. Cutting herbs encourages fuller growth so be sure to use your parsley often. Snip the stalks close to the ground, starting with the outside. Parsley grows from the center. In the Fall, allow the plants to go to seed and harvest for next years crop.

What is your favorite recipe including parsley?

Live Well!
~S

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The idea of sports drinks is pretty simple –

Replace lost electrolytes and re-hydrate after exercise and provide a good balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes to maintain extended physical activity.

Carbohydrates actually allow water to be absorbed more easily and quickly than plain water. Most researchers agree that this ratio is 6% for optimal absorption. Gatorade, the worlds leading sports drink maker gives this ratio –

14 grams Carbohydrates
110 mg Sodium
30 mg Potassium
52 Calories

Many sports drinks however, are full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Ew.
FYI – Gatorade does NOT contain HFCS

Making your own sports drink can help eliminate HFCS and preservatives and save you money.

Basic Sports Drink

5 T Sugar
1/3t Light Salt or “half salt” a salt substitute containing Potassium like Mortons Lite
1 Liter Water
*This is often flavored with dry Koolaid mixes. These are full of dyes and are not whole foods!

I like this one better…..

All Natural Sports Drink

1t Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1t Local Honey
1 Pinch of Salt
8 Ounces Water

Mix the honey with the vinegar first to dissolve. Then mix the rest of the ingredients.

You can flavor your drink with real juice. Not the bottles of stuff they call “juice” but real, fresh, nothing added fruit juices. I like lemon, orange or pomegranate.

What is your favorite sports drink flavor?

Live Well!
~S

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