Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Microbead Water Pollutants in Bath & Body Products

Do your facial products, body products, or shampoos contain "microbeads"?

You've seen them, you've probably used them back in the 90's, or maybe you still use them today...those tiny colored dots floating around in your facial wash, toothpaste, or exfoliating body scrub. Here's why you need to say goodbye to these tiny colored dots for good, for the sake of the Earth's health, wildlife health, and your own health:

First of all, humans need to stop adding more and more pollutants into the water system. This is a very important and current subject that needs to be taken seriously by companies polluting water systems, but also by the average consumer who purchases and uses products containing chemical pollutants. Not only do you not want these products on (or in) your body, they are terrible for the planet and for wildlife.

That said, these tiny plastic particles, micobeads, in particular are directly contributing to water pollution and the endangerment of fresh-water and marine wildlife, and what's worse is that they are specifically designed to be washed down the drain! Aside from simply filling water systems with tiny bits of plasic, these small plastic chemical pollutants are often confused as fish eggs by fish and other marine wildlife who eat them thinking they are food. Thus, the plastics are making their way into the food chain. Many environmentalists are calling for a ban of the use of these plastic particles and products containing them. New York, for example, is poised to be the first state to ban microbead scrubs, with California likely to follow suit.

Do your part to keep these plastics out of our water systems and out of the food chain by not purchasing products which contain microbeads or any microbead plastic exfoliant. Read the ingredients and do not use products containing plastics - often labelled simply as "PE", "PP" or "PMMA" in the product ingredients, also look for polyethylene and polypropylene and avoid these ingredients as well.

And if simply using plastic on your face and polluting water and fish doesn't bother you, think about the long term effects on the food chain, as fish eat plastic and bigger fish and other animals eat the fish, eventually these plastics will be making their way on to your own plate and into your stomach!

Read this article for more on this subject, and/or do a search engeine search for "microbead ban" for much more information on the subject. In the meantime, discontinue your use of products containing these harmful ingredients...and please share this information with others!

Article on the proposed ban of microbeads by The New York Times:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nutrition Tid-Bit: Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Growing up in the Western world, we were all told from a very young age that drinking milk was the best way to keep our bones strong, because "milk is the best source of calcium in the diet". Fast forward to present day, and we know from various studies that women who consume more milk on a regular basis have higher instances of osteoporosis than women who do not drink milk.

The fact is that, like all animal protein, milk causes the pH of the blood to become more acidic, which then the body must correct and balance using sodium and calcium. If necessary, the body will leech calcium from the bones in order to do this, as calcium is great for neutralizing acidity, and will then release it from the body via the urinary tract. Threrefore, the bones and the body are losing calcium as a result of drinking milk. Many people are unable to properly digest dairy as well. For these people, consuming dairy products can cause mild to severe digestive upset, skin outbreaks, and a variety of other symptoms (which sometimes go un-recognized).

There is much more information to be discussed on this topic, but for today I would just like to share with you some of the best alternatives to dairy products that will provide your body with useable calcium, without over-acidifying the system:
Sesame seeds, chia seeds, spinach (especially cooked), almonds, broccoli, kale, collard greens (fresh picked & frozen are highest), mustard and turnip greens, quinoa, brussel sprouts, beans (white, baked, blackeyed, etc), tofu and tempeh (soy), bok choy, peas, baking powder, and seaweeds are all high in calcium as well as many other healthful vitamins and minerals needed and used by the body. Dark leafy-greens provide calcium that is bio-available while also providing the body with nutritent-rich chlorophyll and fiber, which aids the digestive tract. Some dried herbs also contain calcium! Dried herbs that are calcium rich include dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary.

It is also advisable to avoid excess sugar and sweets, and processed carbohydrates. These food products cause a surge in blood-sugar and insulin levels which, in-turn, causes a large excretion of calcium from the body, and potentially the bones. This is true for soda and other high-sugary drinks as well as sugary fruit juices. Caffeine is another culprit in encouraging calcium loss from bones and the body, so limit your intake of caffeinated products, like coffee.

For more information on this or other nutrition-related issues, visit my website:
About the Author:  

Rachel Hoffman founded, a site and business committed to sharing information about non-toxic living, essential oils, nutrition, and total wellness. Visit to learn more about what chemicals & ingredients to avoid in your beauty and personal care products as well as find whole-food recipes, books and other natural-care products.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oil Pulling & Healthy Salad Recipe

 JUST FOUND THIS POST IN MY DRAFTS --- it's actually from Monday April 15, 2013. But I still think it's a good post, not sure why I never published it before, so here it is!

So I have been doing a lot of reading about Oil Pulling lately. This is an ancient Ayurvedic method of detoxification which is done by swishing oil (coconut and sesame seem to be most popular) around in the mouth, first thing in the morning, for about 15-20 minutes. You apparently can do this at any time during the day, but first thing in the morning is most recommended, on an empty stomach is always recommended, and before brushing.

So this morning I gave it a try! I used 1 teaspoon organic sesame oil and swished for 20 minutes before brushing. After doing some further reading, I am going to try it with coconut oil tomorrow to get the added antimicrobial benefits of coconut oil, and will also bump it up to 1 Tablespoon.

Overall it was a pleasant experience though. I thought it would feel gross, but it was fine. The oil turns a very watery  consistency after about 5-10 minutes and then it's just like sloshing water. You do NOT want to swallow the oil, however, because it contains all of the toxins you are "pulling" out of your mouth.

This practice is supposed to be beneficial to dental health and possibly for overall health as well. According to Dr. Mercola, "The potential benefits of oil pulling extend well beyond your mouth. Oil pullers have reported rapid relief from systemic health problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease." To hear more about what Dr. Mercola has to say about oil pulling with coconut oil, Click Here.

I am glad I finally did this though, after meaning to for a really long time, but I will try and post back how it's going. I plan to keep doing it daily if possible.

Btw, here is the delicious lunch I had today!

Fresh salad made up of the following:

Spinach & Other dark leafy greens
Roma Tomato
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Broccoli Sprouts
Sprinkle of Parma Garlicky
Sprinkle of Black Pepper
Raw Sauerkraut

Yum, yum!! I also got a cup of organic, vegan Potato Leek soup from the incredible health-food store where my partner works, which I added a pinch of Vitamineral Green powder to! This made a yummy, savory way of getting in my super-greens! Looked kind of strange, but was super tasty!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Food Experimentation & Love!

As much as I like to read about food and talk about food, I am always trying out new things in my own kitchen, and working on developing recipes that are healthy and delicious for my partner and I to eat.

Something I probably shouldn't admit: We LOVE to eat out!  ...ok, not always, but sometimes (and probably too often). We don't love spending money to eat out, but as two extremely busy people we are always running around and sometimes at the end of a very long day (or at the start of a day off for that matter) it's nice to just sit back and let someone else cook you a meal while you catch up and unwind. This is probably all too easy to do in the hippie-ish town I live in, where we do actually have healthy choices for places to eat out. But this doesn't change the fact that it is MUCH healthier and less expensive to cook at home...and we are getting better about it.

When we do cook at home, we do it right. We make fabulous meals! Sometimes very simple, but always delicious and 99% of the time much tastier (and certainly healthier) than anything we can get at a restaurant anywhere in town.

So this week we've been trying out some new & yummy recipes and using the leftovers to make other meals! It all started with my desire for fried rice! So... the first time fried rice experiment turned into a veggie enchilada night and the fried rice was a total success!

The Fried Rice:

1 C Brown Rice
1/2 Bag Frozen Organic Sweet Corn
1/2 Bag Frozen Organic Peas
2-3 Med. OG Carrots
1 C Green Onions, chopped
1 T Coconut Oil
1 T Earth Balance Butter (or Ghee)
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Add 1 C Brown Rice to 4 C Boiling water. Once the rice has been added, turn down the burner to a medium simmer and add the Earth Balance butter or real butter if you use it, or ghee (my preference but we were out at the time) to the water as well as a large pinch of pink salt. Continue stirring the rice as it cooks to keep it from burning to the bottom as the water is absorbed. Once the rice is done, remove it from the heat and cover. Peel & chop the carrots into small pieces and "heat the wok" on medium. It doesn't actually have to be a wok, but it could be! I use a cast iron skillet (just like the way "heat the wok" sounds!). Add the coconut oil to the skillet and coat the skillet as it melts. Next, add the carrots and lightly grill them until semi-soft. Then add the peas and corn to the mix and stir up and heat this veggie mixture for a bit. In a few minutes add the green onions, and stir a few times before adding in the cooked rice. Stir and saute this mixture for another few minutes before removing it from the heat & serving! (serves 3-4, we had plenty of leftovers!)

For the Veggie Enchiladas we just used organic corn tortillas, the rest of the corn and peas, chopped green onions, organic black beans, and chopped spinach. We also added some grated raw sharp cheddar to the mix and to the top before baking at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.


With the leftovers of this incredible meal...

We had a delicious spinach salad (the inside of the enchilada leftovers) for lunches AND the following night we used the leftover fried rice, black beans, and tortilla shells to make Hurevos Rancheros! This did require us to experiment with poaching eggs, but it was super fun & it totally turned out! We also grilled the tortilla shells in some coconut oil in the cast iron skillet to make them crunchy. So yummy!! still looks so tasty! haha That's it for now, folks! Have a nice week!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Straw-Banana Cacao Deliciousness!

Ok, so I ditched the rules of food combining this morning (sweet fruit - banana with acid fruit - strawberries) to make and enjoy a super delicious (and well worth it) yummy breakfast smoothie!

Here it is:

What I used: 

1 Cup Hemp Milk
1 med. Banana
3-4 Large Strawberries
1 tsp. Chia Seeds
1 T Raw Cacao Powder
1/2 dropper Stevia 

All ingredients are organic, of course.

And oh myyy....being bad never tasted so good! Haha This yummy concoction will help give me the energy to finish the laundry and continue to pack! Ah, days off.

We are going to be moving into a new place next weekend, and it kind of snuck up on us so all the time off is now dedicated to cleaning and packing. Woo hoo! No, moving is not the most fun thing in the world, but it IS fun to put your things away knowing next time you get them out will be somewhere new that you will be calling home. It is an exciting time, even if it is a bit hectic.

There is much more to talk about, and I'm sorry I have been so super busy lately that my blog has been a bit slow, but I promise that good things are happening and I will be back with some yummy new recipes and some exciting news very soon! Hope you all are having a beautiful Wednesday!

Still gotta work on this signature thing too. Haha, all in good time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Warding Off Sickness & Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts Love

If anyone had told me when I was little that I would grow up to be a broccoli and Brussels sprouts fiend, I'da said they were crazy. I'da been wrong...

Broccoli, Brussels, Onion, Garlic, & Veggie-Quinoa Pasta

I can't get enough of varieties of this meal! So yum!!
This amazing little dish has come to be one of my absolute favorite, yummy meals to make for myself. Quick & easy and ohhh sooo tasty! Also, packed full of healthful nutrients like the natural chemical known as sinigrin found in Brussels sprouts, which broken down through digestion causes the signature smell of these little cabbages (which Corey thinks smells like farts, lol) and is also known to suppress the development of precancerous cells. They are also high in vitamins C, E, A, and K (which promotes healthy bones and body tissues) and the mineral manganese, as well as high in compounds known to help fight cancer and detoxify environmental toxins.  Broccoli is also a wonder food containing many anticancer phytochemicals and aiding the body in detoxification as well as protecting the structure of DNA.* The other ingredients in this recipe are also highly healthful foods, which only makes me love this dish even more. So without further adieu, the recipe:

A Favorite Meal: A Broccoli-Brussels Wonder! 

4-5 large (or small, whatever you have/want) Brussels Sprouts
About 1 C Broccoli, chopped
3-5 Cloves Garlic (as much as you like, I use a lot)
1/2 C Red, White, or Yellow Onion (optional, I prefer red)
1 C Quinoa, Quinoa Pasta, Brown Rice, Amaranth, Millet, or whatever grain or grain substitute you prefer (I usually use quinoa pasta)
Water & Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Ground Pepper
Coconut Aminos, Wheat-Free Tamari, Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Other Sauce
Ghee or Earth Balance Butter

In one pot, boil water for grain (quinoa or whichever you're using) to cook in. Cook grains according to their specific needs, for quinoa pasta use 2 C water for 1 C dry quinoa pasta. Rinse with cold water & set aside (or if you're able, cook this all at once - grains & veg).  Add all chopped ingredients to another pan and fill with about 1-2 in. water and 1 T Olive Oil, salt & pepper. Leave a spot where you can keep an eye on the water. Turn the burner to high and wait for water to boil. When water boils, lower the temp to med. and cover, letting simmer for about 2-3 min. or until broccoli & Brussels are bright green. Remove lid & stir vegetables in pan and continue cooking until vegetables are soft but not overcooked. Remove from heat. Place a layer of cooked grains in a bowl and add vegetables on top. Use some of the cooking water for nutrients that were lost to water in cooking, or if you like the flavor. Add a bit of Ghee or Earth Balance Butter to the top and stir in to melt. Add a dash of Coconut Aminos or other sauce to taste. One last topping I love to add to this, not pictured, is Parma (vegan Parmesan) which is only made of raw organic walnuts, nutritional yeast, and Himalayan crystal salt, or the Garlicky Green variety which also contains organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, kelp, organic garlic, organic hemp seeds, organic sesame seeds, & organic herbs. Whoa, some flava' to your face!
Time to prepare & cook: about 15-20 min.

So, there you have it. My very much staple meal for when I don't know what to make for myself for dinner, but I am craving something warm & home cooked. It's also a really handy meal for those long work days when I just want to be home, eating something yummy that doesn't take too long to cook. I also like to vary it up a little bit by switching out the veggies, like red bell pepper instead of broccoli (although I almost always have broccoli because I love it!), carrots, celery, rainbow chard (add this or other leafy greens in when it's just about finished so they don't overcook), spinach, and zucchini.

In other news, it seems like EVERYONE has been sick lately!! And I mean calling in to work, unable to move (except to run to the bathroom to puke or...) crazy, couch-ridden sick! Yuck! Well, I have been bound and determined not to catch any of this wild sick-flu that's going around, which has led to me doing a pretty good job of sticking to my healthy lifestyle habits. These are things like taking my vitamins every day, eating plenty of green leafy vegetables (every day), eating mostly only organic whole foods and products made from whole foods, using the far-infrared sauna 1-2 times each week, and juicing when I can. About a week before I got back to being so diligent with this, I went through about a week-long period where I felt "the sickness" creeping in on me. To this I said...NO!

Rose Tea (high in vitamin C) & Green Supreme juice
I got my green supreme juice rocking and loaded myself up with healthy, immune-boosting foods and teas like garlic, ginger, lemon, elder-berry, and rose. I was also using Thieves Hard Lozenges twice a day, which really seemed to help as well.  As everyone else was running out to get a flu shot, THIS was my flu shot! And guess what...the "sickness" felt like it was coming on, off and on, for about one whole week (occasional weak feeling, warm feeling, foggy-ish head, etc.) and then one day, it was gone! People around me continued to fall into the sickness, but I was feeling good! This has been very motivating in keeping up with healthy patterns. So far so good, and still feeling well! Another (what I believe was) KEY element of not getting sick has been remembering to take my daily probiotic. One of the chiropractors at my work mentioned that she thought probiotics were the best defense against whatever's been going around (and I happen to agree), so I have been diligently staying on top of eating my fermented veggies (kimchee, kombucha, sauerkraut) and taking my daily probiotic. With all of this combined, and with trying to keep stress-relief activities like meditation, saunaing, and exercise as part of my weekly routine, I am so far staying out of the way of this bug, and hoping to stay on the up and up!

If you've already caught it,  you can still work on boosting your immune system by taking probiotics, using lemon, ginger, and garlic, Thieves hard lozenges, Thieves oil on your feet throughout the day or at night, eating organic whole foods including lots of green leafy vegs, and drinking fresh vegetable and some fruit juice on a regular basis. I also highly recommend using a far infrared sauna if you are working on detoxifying your system (however, probably not the best thing to do while you are actually sick and puking).

Hope you all are having a happy and healthy weekend and looking forward to the week ahead!

Much love and wellness to you!

PS- this signature thing is a work in I need to work on making one without a white background. Baby steps ;-) Til' next time.

*The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Jonny Bowden, Ph.D, C.N.S. 
11 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Year, New Me!

It's been a while since my last post. The holidays have come and gone and I am settling in nicely to the joys of the new year! My holiday trip back home to Missouri was super refreshing. I got to play music with friends that are so dear to my heart and see family, which always makes me feel grounded.

While we were home, we took some time to visit the amazing Chinese Art exhibit at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, which was so incredible. Corey has been taking classes and studying Buddhism and Chinese art in school, as well as personally reading tons of books on the subject, and it was so enlightening (no pun intended, lol) to walk around with him in the museum getting deep explanations of many of the exhibits and stories about the history of the culture. 

Corey & Nik (his lil' bro) talking Buddhism at NAMA
Giant statue of the Buddha

Still much to see!
Size comparison of the giant statue!

A very fun day with Corey's parents & brother, so glad we went!
I had so much fun seeing my friends and family again and enjoying the holiday, I felt totally revitalized and re-grounded heading back home.

When I was in Missouri, I realized something...For a long time I had been growing my hair out long with the hopes of eventually dreading it. I had even put 4 dreadlocks into the underside of my hair already as kind of a "test run" to see how my hair took to it, and how I took to the whole process of dealing with them. After the trip I realized that I just wanted something fresh and new. I realized that I really don't have the patience to work on having beautiful dreads and that I didn't want a hairstyle that will take months and months (even years!) to look the way I want it to. Normally I don't fuss much with my hair. Having been blessed with what my mom calls the "good hair gene" my hair can be curly/wavy or straight and not take much styling to just dry and go. So, that's when I got a better 2 days after being back home, I called the salon to set up an appointment to chop it all off and donate it to Locks of Love (something I had always wanted to do but had always had bleached or color-treated hair in the past)! The day I went in, the stylist said that she would NOT cut my "virgin" hair if I hadn't really thought about it. So, I took a week and gave it some thought and the next week found myself in the same salon, different stylist, ready to make the chop!

The before...
One final pic before heading to the salon...

And...BAM! 12 inches of hair for someone who needs it!

And a very happy "new" me :)

With a wonderful new feeling of lightness and sense of self, I'm officially ready to face the new year ahead! With that in mind, here is the song I dubbed as my Anthem for a New Year:

Feel free to solo-dance-party to this tune to get more aligned with the way it feels...I know I did!

I think as this is already a fairly personal post, I will just continue in that fashion with a little more looking back at the museum trip...

and seeing good friends!

and playing with my friends from Alice!

and then coming home...

to ridiculous and adorable kitties :)

 Hope you all had a fun holiday as well, and I look forward to posting more often as I move into this new year (I promise, I will try!) Things here are good and I'm already getting excited for the upcoming spring.'Til next time!