Tuesday, December 11, 2012

8 Tips for Staying Well while Traveling

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8 Tips for Staying Well while Traveling  



You may be spending the days prior to and after the Christmas holiday traveling across the country, sitting in heavy traffic, busy public places, and crowded buzzing airports and planes. All of this mingling around with the general public means contact exposes you to many of the cold and flu germs that are being passed around right now. Your immune system may be challenged due to stress, lack of sleep, too much Holiday Cheer and an altered diet (usually poor food choices this time of year).

All of this is good reason to do what you can to keep your immune system healthy and strong this time of year. That will help insure your health and happiness and keep you ready for any festive events you may have planned when visiting family and friends!

With this in mind, I have compiled Top 8 tips for staying well while traveling. During all the hustle and bustle, remember to make yourself a priority and take the time and make the extra effort to keep yourself well! 


1. Frequently Wash Your Hands This is KEY when traveling. Airplanes are known to be one of the worst places for germs and bacteria, as are airports and other heavily traveled areas. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands, as these are portals for germs to enter the body. This is also true when eating out in restaurants, especially after touching the chairs, booths, menus, salt & pepper shakers, which are all known to be havens for germs. Carry Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier with you at all items. When you touch a handrail or another area you know to be heavily used, pull it out of your pocket, backpack or handbag and USE IT! Use soap and hot water to wash your hands frequently, then follow with Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier. Keep in mind, however, that for most airlines each liquid in your carry-on bags must be in a bottle or container with a maximum volume of 3.4 oz. Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier is only 1oz. so you should be fine to carry it in your purse or carry-on bag.   




2. Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of pure filtered water prior to entering your gate, where you know they have strict rules about liquids. Once inside, unfortunately, you will have to purchase the super-pricey bottled water to satiate your self during your flight. Drinking plenty of water can really make a difference in keeping your immune system strong throughout a busy vacation. Avoid coffee, black tea, and alcohol which can all lead to further dehydration. Pack a small bag full of various herbal teas to use on the plane and in restaurants. I keep a bag of teas in my purse at all times, traveling or not, for this purpose. That way you only need to request hot water to make yourself a healthy beverage! My favorites are: peppermint, chai rooibos, and ginger. Another great travel tip is to pack a small bag of chia seeds. Add a few to your bottle of water and drink throughout the day for added energy throughout the day as well as a dose of healthy Omega-3 fats and antioxidants! The chia seeds will actually also help to stabilize your blood sugar, an added bonus! Also, pack a fresh lemon in your bag and squeeze the juice into your water or tea to alkalize your body and for an added boost of vitamin C. 

3. Bring Snacking Supplies - Be prepared for day-long trips and travel munchies by topping off your carry-on bags with apples, cherries, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, almonds, homemade trail mix, avocado, quinoa salad, raw food bars, dark chocolate, flax crackers, rice cakes, or other snack foods you might enjoy. Bring a small container of almond butter for a nice spread or dip. Stay away from the airport and airplane offerings which may contain high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, preservatives and other poisons, and which can impair immunity. Before you leave, research where to find fresh organic food options once you get to where you are going and make a point to hit up the store upon arrival to keep yourself stocked with healthy options for the duration of your trip. 



4. Plan Your First Meal
- A very common mistake for most people is waiting until the last minute to get everything together and then rushing out the door without eating. This leaves you hungry and sitting in the airport or in heavy holiday traffic with only access to super-processed off-the-highway or airport industrial food, which is not only less tasty than real food, but also sorely lacking in nutritional value, and potentially harmful to your immune system (your whole body!). If you have to eat some processed food along your journey, look for as "close to the source" options as you can find such as mixed nuts or dried fruit. Avoid easy go-to's like potato chips and pastries. If you have to leave super early, make yourself a breakfast burrito, an almond butter and banana sandwich or green smoothie (or both) the night before and store in your refrigerator overnight. Leave yourself a note on your bags so you don't forget to grab them on your way out in the morning. Your tummy and your conscience will thank you for planning ahead. 

5. Remember to Breathe - When joining the millions of other people traveling this holiday season, patience can make the difference between a pleasant trip and a stressful one. Prepare yourself for delays in advance so that if things go smoothly and on-time you are pleasantly surprised! Understand that everyone around you is also going somewhere and that being impatient is only going to negatively effect your own energy balance as well as potentially that of others around you. Utilize your breath. When stress starts to build, take a moment to breathe in deeply through the nose, hold for 3 seconds, and release. Repeat. Deep breathing has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower stress in the body and anxiety of the mind. The best thing about this is the deep breathing can be done anywhere and costs nothing! Once you reach your gate or airplane seat, continue to calm your mind and de-stress your body through quiet meditation. The holidays are supposed to be a time of love and compassion for others (ideally so is every day life), not a time for projecting your personal stress on to strangers. Deep breath, in and out...and on with your day. 


6. Pack Layers & Dress Comfortably 
- This one may seem like a given, but many people forget how cold those overhead air vents on the plane can make your flight experience, even if only the person next to you is using it. Also, temperature changes from outside to the plane, to wherever you are going can lead to uncomfortable situations and added stress, so remember to wear something warm and comfy. Bring a zip up jacket or small blanket. The airport or the car are not the places to be worried about fashion, just make yourself cozy and you are more likely to remain comfortable and pleasant throughout your trip. 

7. Eat Well - Just because you are leaving home for a few days or weeks, doesn't mean you have to let go of all your typical food habits. Don't beat yourself up for having a piece of pie or Christmas cookie, but believe me when I say, it's no fun to make yourself sick by going overboard with things you normally wouldn't eat. I made this mistake earlier this year: on vacation in California I decided being at the ocean wharf meant eating a large bowl of fresh clam chowder would be ok, even though I have avoided dairy for over two years now. MISTAKE. I ended up feeling terrible and dizzy, and spending the next 10 minutes after our meal in the bathroom trying not to throw up the meal I'd just enjoyed. When we start making positive changes to our eating habits, our bodies adjust to this new way of eating, and your body doesn't know the difference between holiday vacation and not, so just be smart. Let yourself have a little fun, but don't make it a point to go back on all the positive progress you've made. You'll be happy you stuck to your conscious eating throughout the holidays, I promise.  

8. Consume Garlic - Garlic is highly immune-boosting and a perfect addition to meals during the cold and flu season. When I start to feel a sickness coming on, I make sure to get plenty of garlic (cooked and raw) into my diet to give my white blood cells the support they need to fight off germs! Another good tool to have in your germ-fighting tool box, by the way, is Thieves Hard Lozenges. Packed with the power of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal essential oils, they are perfect for travel and fit nicely into a purse or pocket. 


So, that's it! Do what you can to relax and have a good time. The most important thing to remember is to NOT STRESS. Everything will work out as it should, and the best thing you can do for your health and happiness is to take deep breaths, practice expressing gratitude and appreciation, and remember that you are beautiful and amazing. Have a Wonderful Holiday and Happy New Year!  

Article by Rachel Hoffman (www.goodnessmegoddess.com

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Goodness of Essential Oils

If you've ever browsed my website, you already know that I am a distributor and user of therapeutic-grade essential oils, but it occured to me that I've never discussed the oils much on my blog! I am currently working at a wellness center where our practitioners use the oils for chiropractic services, massage therapy, and biofeedback so I get to hear a lot of feedback from patients and clients as well as other practitioners about the oils, and I personally use them daily throughout my home and in my day-to-day life.



So, What are Essential Oils?
Plants contain complex and powerful substances known as essential oils. These are aromatic liquids derived from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. These distinctive components defend plants from insects, harsh environmental conditions, and disease. They are vital for a plant to grow, live, evolve, and adapt to its surroundings. Referred to as the essence of the plant, these oils are whare you smell when you pick a leaf of peppermint herb and rub it between your fingers to inhale that minty scent. Pure essential oils not only protect the plant, but also determine its aroma. A variety of chemical constituents make up each oil and are unique to each species of plant. This variety of chemical constituents work synergistically within the human body to help support it both physically and energetically, thus promoting health and well-being.



Essential oils have been used throughout time dating back to 4500 BC. From perfumes and aromatherapy to cooking and medicinal purposes, essential oils have been used in everyday life for centuries. Research today shows that pure essential oils can provide similar benefits to humans and animals that they give to plants. This is why essential oils are sometimes referred to as nature's own pharmacopeia. 

Importance of Quality:
Many oils, touted as essential oils and/or sold as perfumes, are derived with harsh chemicals, diluted, or copied and produced in a lab. These oils are not pure plant derivatives. The fact is that cheap copies bring cheap results and have the potential to be toxic. Therefore, it is imperative to take great care in choosing high-quality essential oils.

The Young Living Standard (and why I choose to use these oils in particular)
Young Living offers pure, unadulterated essential oils, essential oil blends, and oil-enhanced products. These oils, qualified as “therapeutic grade” based on laboratory studies, are made from the highest-quality plants, distilled properly to ensure purity, and put through rigorous tests to confirm quality.

You can tell just by smelling these oils that they are of higher purity and quality than perfume oils you can buy in the grocery store. Each drop is extremely potent and powerful. They say that one drop of peppermint or lavender oil has the strength of an entire armful of the herb or flower itself. 

How Do I Use Essential Oils?
There are 3 basic ways to use these therapeutic-grade essential oils: inhalation, topical application, and internal consumption.


Inhalation: 
Inhaling some essential oils can heighten the senses and have many positive effects on the body.

  • Inhale directly from the bottle
  • Diffuse with one of Young Living's essential oil diffusers, which use water to add the oils to the air, thus helping to purify the air of pathogens and toxins
  • Rub a drop or two of essential oil into your hands and rub them together, then hold your hands over your nose & mouth and inhale
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot, steaming water. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel to make a tent, and breath deeply & slowly

Topical Application:
Many oils are safe for topical application and can be extremely helpful when dealing with sore muscles, burns, cuts, scrapes, chest congestion, and a variety of other reasons.
  • Place 2-3 drops on your hand, or directly on to the desired application area and massage the oil into the skin with a circular motion. 
  • Do a test on a small area of skin first, if you have sensitive skin. 
  • If irritation does occur, you can dilute the oils by using a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or jojoba (or other vegetable oil) or one of Young Living's massage oils. 
  • Use one of Young Living's oil roll-on mechanisms or add an Aroma-Glide mechanism to any oil and roll directly onto the skin. I use my "Stress Away" roll on all the time in my daily life. It lives in my purse. 
  • Apply to the bottoms of the feet

Internal Consumption:
Some essential oils can be used as food flavorings or make for good dietary supplements. Refer to the user's guide to see which oils can be taken internally.
  • Put several drops of oil into an empty gelatin capsule and swallow with water. 
  • Add 1-2 drops to hot water for a tea-like beverage (peppermint is great for this!)
  • Add 1-2 drops into honey or onto a piece of bread.
  • Add 1-2 drops to Ningxia Red, rice milk, almond milk, yogurt or fresh juice. 


Read the Safety Guidelines and Tips prior to the use of any essential oil. Another excellent resource for the how's and to's of essential oils is the Essential Oils Desk Reference. This book  is a wonderful resource to have if you are regularly using essential oils, or just interested in learning more about the history, cultivation, and applications of essential oils and products made from them.

Essential Oil products I personally use on a regular basis: 


  • All of the oils, but most commonly: Peace & Calming, Lavender, Thieves, Peppermint, Valor, Purification, Lemon, Frankincense, Orange, Joy, Aroma Siez, and Stress Relief.
  • All of the Thieves Products - toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, hand soap, waterless purifier, spray, and household cleaner. The scent of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, rosemary & eucalyptus makes for a beautiful aroma as you clean your house with non-toxic products! 
  • Stress Away Roll On - my 2nd favorite go-to oil for stress
  • Peace & Calming - my absolute favorite blend, excellent for winding down & stress relief
  • Ningxia Red - a highly antioxidant juice containing wolfberries (aka goji berries)
  • Lavender, Grapefruit, & Cinnamint (my fave!) lip balms

For more information, I will be writing individual blog posts about specific oils and products. See my other blog posts to read more in depth articles about individual oils such as lavender, thieves, and peppermint! 

For more information on individual oils and products, check out my website's Essential Oils Section.  This is also where you can learn more about signing up as a member of Young Living and getting 24% off retail price for all oils and products. 

You can also email me (goodnessmegoddess@gmail.com) for more information regarding membership, or to learn more about how you can turn Young Living into a home-based business for yourself! The Essential Rewards program is how you go about starting your own Young Living business and starting to make money by sharing these amazing oils with your friends and family, and others! I am still new to the Young Living Essential Rewards program, but the longer I am a part of it, the more I learn about the oils and the more I love them and love to share them! It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but Young Living makes it easy to start slowly. 

You can start by signing up as a member to get the wholesale pricing for only $40. This is a one-time lifetime membership fee that will only become inactive if you do not order anything for an entire year, and even then it can always be reactivated again when you wish. You can also start by ordering one of YL's Start Living Kits, which get you started using products, to become more familiar with what they are and how to use them. I started with the "Start Living with Everyday Oils" kit, which gives you the Start Living Kit (comes with one lavender and one peppermint oil, as well as information packets, ningxia red samples, brochures and educational materials to get you started, and a compensation plan flier to explain how the home-based business works) AND the Everyday Oils Kit which includes 1 Lavender, 1 Peppermint, 1 Lemon, 1 Thieves, 1 Frankincense, 1 Valor, 1 PanAway, 1 Peace & Calming, and 1 Purification (all 5mL) bottles of oils to sample and play with. This kit is $150. The Start Living with Thieves kit is also one that I would highly recommend, as I use every single product in that kit on a very regular basis, as part of a non-toxic lifestyle. There are several other kits to choose from as well. I can help you choose the one that's best for your needs, or you can browse on your own and decide for yourself.

If you would like to go to Young Living's website to learn more, or to sign up as a member, please use my membership number to get you started: 
Young Living Distributor#1233089

Also, to read more about how essential oils can be used and how they have changed and improved the lives of people who've used them, check out this site: Oil-Testimonials.com


Remember: Use pure essential oils, proven safe and labeled as dietary supplements when consuming internally. Dilution and dosage varies with age, health, and size of the individual. Follow the recommended dosage on individual product labels to ensure safety and seek the advice of a medical professional of your choosing before administering oils internally.

DISCLAIMER:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

I hope this post has given you some insight into the world of essential oils, and I highly encourage you to visit my website to learn more: GoodnessMeGoddess.com

Thanks for reading and happy playing! :)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Drink Your Greens!!

Good morning! Start your week off with a nourishing green smoothie! This is the standard recipe for a smoothie I make almost every day. You can replace the green or add greens, other powders (like maca or cacao), leave out the juice, add fresh juice, or other types of fruit if you like, but this is the basic recipe outline for a green smoothie.  

My Monday Morning Green Smoothie: 

1.5 C Santa Cruz Organic Berry Nectar (or other juice - fresh if possible)
1.5 C Purified or Filtered Water
2 C Spinach 
1 Banana

Blend it up, divvy it up, and go about your day!  

I'm drinking mine right now, cheers! :)

By the way, for more smoothie ideas and other healthy recipes, check out the recipe section of my website by clicking here

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fermentation Experimentation #1: Coconut Milk Kefir

Greetings healthy-food fans! I am feeling particularly good this week, as the weather here has been so beautiful this entire month, and the sunshine's giving me plenty of vitamin D to keep me smiling! :) :)

I am also excited to share with you my journey into the world of fermentation experimentation! (really like the sound of that)

Recently I've been introduced to a local raw milk supplier who is supplying everyone at my place of work with this delicious white gold!! As you may know if you regularly read my blog, I do not consume dairy products generally. This has been true for about two years now (since I quit eating dairy in July 2010) Read my final conclusions of my "Dairy-Free Me," experiment from 2010 for more info on that. So now, for an update update on that: these days I do eat a bit of raw cheese from time to time (once or twice a month if that), and surprisingly (or maybe not-so surprisingly) the raw dairy food does not make my skin break out! I am sure this is due to the fact that not only does this raw dairy not contain any traces of growth hormones, as none were ever used, or antibiotics, etc etc etc, but also due to the fact that because it has never been pasteurized, or flash heated, it still contains all of the enzymes needed to help digest it. The enzymes which are naturally occurring in dairy are what help the body to assimilate nutrients in the milk, such as calcium. Although, side note: eating dairy can actually cause the body to lose calcium due to it's acidity (pH) and the body's balancing reaction to it - leeching calcium from bones to help balance out and alkalize the overly-acidic system. This is why I only choose to indulge in raw dairy on occasion. However, some bodies do better with dairy than others, so working with a trained nutritional consultant or just doing your own experimentation and listening to your body can be helpful in determining whether or not you should be consuming dairy. Every body is different and has different needs. Anyway, the point is (back to the point, please!!), I was chatting with the raw milk lady the other day about kefir and how I've always wanted to try making it with coconut milk! I've heard of other people doing this, and of the amazing beneficial bacteria that live in kefir, and have always wanted to try it myself. I'd never had any kefir (apparently pronounced keh-FEAR, but I tend to say KEE-fur) but I was really excited to try this beneficial probiotic beverage I have read so much about!

To my amazing luck, the milk lady is in the habit of making kefir on a regular basis and had a lot to say about it! Not only that, but she hooked me up with some of her kefir grains to get working on my very own kefir experiment with coconut milk!! She had never tried this, but was interested to see how it went for me. According to other people's blogs and articles about it, using regular milk kefir grains works perfectly well with coconut milk, so I decided to give it a go! This is my journey...

What it is:
Kefir is a cultured substance usually made from milk, cow or goat, but can also be made from coconut milk, water, coconut water, and probably a slew of other things that can ferment.

Why it's healthy:

Because kefir is cultured, it is packed full of beneficial bacteria. These friendly bacteria aid the body in digestion, help to boost immunity, and help your body to make certain vitamins. According to Dr. Mercola's site, the word kefir actually means "feel good" in Turkish! Awesome!

Ok, so now that we got introductions out of the way...on to the experiment!! :)


I happened to already have some coconut milk chillin in my fridge, so I had all the tools I needed to get started! To start with the kefir grains she gave me were sitting in raw milk, so I had to drain them...but before I did, I took a little sip just to see what "real" kefir tastes like. In my humble opinion, not too great...it tastes like (and basically is) sour milk. Milk is not my favorite flavor anyway to start with, so this I could easily leave behind, and happily move on to my coconut alternative...which I did! 


These are the kefir grains after I drained off the milk. They are kind of spongy whitish-yellowish things...interesting for sure. Next, I just added the coconut milk to the mix and stirred it up.

 

Apparently you are not supposed to use a metal spoon or strainer when you are working with kefir grains because metal is reactive and can harm your grains, or potentially kill them or change them or something (you like that scientific explanation there?), but I was unaware of this when I started, so I strained them off in my metal mesh strainer and stirred it up with a metal spoon. Ah well. 


So I just continued on, set the lid on the jar very loosely, and set it in the cabinet to do it's thing!


I let this sit in my cabinet for the appropriate 24 hours (24-48 hours is best), and was so excited when I found it the next day looking thicker, and separated a bit. I found after this first batch that the lid was not the best idea as it tightens when the milk is culturing. For the next batch I just covered it with a towel and rubber-banded it on. This worked perfectly.

I researched different recipes a bit online and decided I would make a sort of cinnamon smoothie-ish drink out of my kefir. Here are the ingredients I used: 


Ingredients: 

  • Coconut Kefir (1-2 C)
  • 2 T Mesquite Powder
  • 1 T Maca Powder
  • 1-2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp - 1 T Raw Honey
That's it! I tried stirring in the ingredients at first, but should have known the cinnamon wouldn't mix up so...


Mix it up in your blender! I am still using an old-school Crushmaster (don't yet have a fancy Vitamix) but it worked beautifully! 


And share with your friends/roommates/family or who ever's brave enough to try! It turned out surprisingly sweet and tangy, but super tasty especially with the other ingredients added in. 

I actually just did another batch using the canned coconut milk from Thai Kitchen. Apparently you want to use the full fat type as it ferments better than the low fat. This seems so much more natural and obvious as coconut meat is full of good healthy fat...why would you want to remove that?! But anyway, this next experiment went really well and actually better than the first! I like that the canned coco milk is thicker and thus produced a thicker, more yogurt-like kefir. You can use it in place of sour cream, yogurt, as a base for smoothies, substitute for milk in coffee, topping for fruit, as a base for coconut milk ice cream, or just dress it up with ingredients (like in this recipe) as a fancy drink!

My Tips in Coconut Milk Kefir-ing:

  • You want to put the grains back into regular cow's milk or goat's milk about every 2-3 batches to "refresh" them. I am planning on getting more raw milk this week to store the grains in between batches. 
  • The smell is a bit sour and a bit tangy, but don't be afraid!! Give it a taste, it is surprisingly sweet!
  • You can purchase grains from stores which will, from what I hear, work for a few batches but not indefinitely, or you can find other people who make kefir and ask them sweetly to hook you up with some grains, which will apparently last forever if taken care of properly. A good place to start asking around is people who have dairy cows or drink or purchase raw cow's milk. Also health food stores may have the packaged cultures you can buy, or know where you might find some. 
  • Try it with young Thai coconuts, making your own coconut milk first by blending together the water and meat of the coconut. This is the ideal method which I would be doing myself if I had a more high-powered blender. Look for that in future blogs. ;)
  • Last tip: have fun!! Don't sweat the details, just jump in and start trying it yourself! 
So that's it for today chill'ens...happy experimenting and I hope you enjoy these beautiful last days of summer, as I know I am!! Thanks for reading...cheers! :)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chocolate Banana Dream Smoothie!

Ladies and gents...I loooove chocolate...and I know I'm not alone here. I don't eat a whole lot of it from day to day, but I do thoroughly enjoy it when I do, and sometimes it's just what a girl needs to start the day off right!

The type of chocolate I like to use is raw organic cacao, from the Cacao Theobroma plant. This sugar-free form is still considered a stimulant, but carries many health-full properties as opposed to a eating a processed, sugar-loaded (and dairy-loaded) candy bar. You can purchase the whole beans or you can get raw cacao in powdered form from many health food stores.

With that in mind (and the fact that I had very little other smoothie ingredients in my house the other morning) I created this delicious (not to mention euphoric & antioxidant) smoothie which rocked my craving for something sweet! I hope you enjoy it!

This recipe can be altered depending on your tastes, but it's a starting point for something magnificent!

~Chocolate-Banana Dream~

2-3 C. Almond Milk
2-3 Heaping T Raw Cacao Powder
Dash of Vanilla
1-1.5 Bananas
3-4 Dates (soaked overnight)
Handful of Raw Cashews (soaked overnight)

Easy, easy...just add these ingredients to your blender, and blend until smooth! If there is anyone else around when you make it, you might want to share...as this delicious treat is something to get jealous over! :) Yum yum!! 

Happy blending! Have a magnificent weekend! :)



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Explosions in the Sky (not talking about the band here)

The summer is here and it is blazing and beautiful! Here in the Pacific Northwest days are long (light out until around 9pm) and nights are cool-ish, and I am absolutely loving the abundance of the season!

For one thing, I recently moved into a place with delicious raspberry bushes in the yard and they have been continuously fruiting for about a month now!


Raspberries on the bush. 

Raspberry Bounty!

We have been abundant in this beautiful, nutritious berry as well as another fabulous delight...

Raspberries and Strawberries fresh picked from the garden! 

Combine all of these with the hand full of leftover cherries I had in the fridge for snacking and this lead to the creation of one fabulous smoothie fresh from the summer yard! (drum-roll please...)

Ta Da!

The Super Berry Smoothie! 


1-2 C Almond Milk (or other nut milk of your choice)
1 Handful Wild Cherries (pitted)
2 C Raspberries
1 C Strawberries
1 T Raw Honey
2-3 C (or large handfuls) Spinach
1/4 tsp. Vanilla 
Blend all in a high speed blender until smooth. 

Makes enough for 2-3 people. Enjoy! 

Share with the house, of course!
Hmm, let's see...in other exciting news, I have just recently officially visited Cafe Gratitude for the first time!! I was visiting family recently back in the Midwest and made my way to Cafe Gratitude KC for some fantastic raw mint cacao cheesecake as well as "I Am Immortal" tonic, "Immune system enhancing, consciousness expanding, ancient tonifying elixir made from reishi, shilajit, and ormus. Served hot with coconut milk & raw honey" as it says on the menu. I skipped the additions and drank this tonic as is, and oh my...it was amaaazing. So delicious and warming. I had already been acquainted with and loving the Cafe Gratitude cookbook, but had never had the pleasure of visiting one of the locations. It was lovely!
The beautiful beacon of raw love and goodness...Cafe Gratitude KC :)


Amazing, magnificence...raw mint cheesecake topped with cacao nibs. I wish I could remember the affirmation that went along with this incredible desert. 

If you are not familiar with Cafe Gratitude, and you live near one, I highly recommend you go and seek yourself out some delicious goodness. This food is raw and melt in your mouth fabulous! If you do not live near one, like me, you can check out the cookbook and try your own hand at creating these raw goodies. I have talked about this cookbook before, last November when I was attempting to make my own swirly "I Am Heavenly" mudslide pie for Thanksgiving. 

Visit their website for locations:
http://cafegratitude.com/locationshours

Ah yes, and in one more bit of vegan/vegetarian exploration (this entire post is a reflection of me finally getting around to uploading pics from my phone) I have just recently experienced Tofurky for the first time ever. It was 4th of July, and we decided to have a barbecue...but what to cook for a main dish for those that do not consume beef?! I considered black bean burgers, vegetable kabobs, and more but decided to be brave and try out this strange meat-like substance. Obviously not a whole food, I was not super optimistic about the whole thing,  but I was actually happily surprised by the experience! The "dog" itself was fairly tasty (it's made with organic tofu and other non-GMO ingredients right here in the Pacific Northwest!) and had a nice hot-dog-ish, sausage-ish texture. Having been a long time hot-dog-on-the-4th-of-July person throughout my life, not to mention throughout each year, I wanted to thank Tofurkey after eating this, for bringing the joy of this experience back into my reality, at least for one day, without the meat, without one GMO or "bad" ingredient, and without guilt. Ketchup (Amy's organic), mustard, bun and dog...coupled with some incredible vegan potato salad and a pickle! Divine!   

Tofurkey Kielbasa, Potato Salad, Pickle - Vegetartian / Vegan 4th of July!


So that's about it for now...I'm looking foreword to our blueberry bush fruiting later this summer! More on that later! And one of these days I will finally post about my sprouting experiment. Have a beautiful week, everyone!

Kaboom!! 
(that's the sound of the 4th of July fireworks, use your imagination here) ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just 'cause.


 

:) enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

And the Beat Goes On...

It has been a long time since I posted a blog, as much has been happening in my life, which includes some exciting news! I have officially finished my Nutrition Consultation schooling, and I passed! Which means I will soon be officially certified to provide nutrition consultation to interested people. I'm excited to be finally in the real planning stages of my small business. More on that later. On a related topic, I was recently hired to work the front desk at a local wellness center, which I am loving. I get to work around essential oils all day and work in a healing environment. I am very happy with this progression. Deep breaths, lots of love. We have an incredible Far Infrared Sauna as well as Whole Body Vibration machines, which are fun! :)

In other exciting news, my partner and I and our roommate/friend are getting ready to move into an amazing house with 10 garden beds and a blueberry and raspberry bush!! This will be happening next month, so I look foreword to getting back into the gardening thing as much as possible. I really want to make more time for gardening and working on my business in the very near future. Hopefully I can find my balance this summer and be motivated to do so. But first, we move. I'll post pics of the new place soon.

There is so much happening and changing from day to day right now, but it seems like it's all for the positive and all moving me in exactly the right direction. I finally worked my last day at the bar, and can officially say with great happiness that I am no longer slinging liquor for a living! Huge sigh of relief. The job itself was way laid back and easy for sure, but just not really my scene anymore. Time to make way for more beautiful and prosperous things that more closely resonate with who I am as a person. I am making room in my life for this type of energy and bliss. 

So anyway, that's my update for now...loving sun, dreaming of the sea.


Oh yeah, and one more exciting thing...

I officially have my website up and under-construction. As of now it is pretty low on content, but I did post some really great recipes that I love, and I will be adding more content asap. But for now, you can check out what I have so far at this link:  GoodnessMeGoddess.com.

I am really enjoying the warmer days we've been having lately and it's the warmer days that make me want to pull away from city life and head into nature to collect my thoughts. I am really interested in taking some classes on wild-harvesting and other woodsy-ness sometime. One thing at a time though.

This weekend we are going to see  the Head & The Heart with the Shins and I am oh so excited for this beautiful music. We saw the Decemberists and Bright Eyes last year at this same spot, and it was fantastic! So anyway, with that I will leave you with a taste of what I'm in for this weekend. Both bands will be playing at Sasquatch Festival shortly after we see them, but we were just lucky enough to catch them on the way! Tenacious D and Beck are also playing at the same place this weekend. Whoooosh!!!! Good music blowin' in!!

Sending out love. Have a beautiful weekend web world.





Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ok, Moving on...to Green Juices in the Kitchen!

I figure it's time for a little update here. Things are moving pretty fast these days.

I am finally in the home stretch for finishing my nutrition consultation certification! Any time I get a free moment I am diligently working working working on finishing my school projects and papers, reading, and researching, and loving every minute of it! I really wish I could take the next couple months completely off work (and still get paid, of course, haha) and devote all of my energy to this, but alas I am dedicating as much energy as I can, as I have left, after and between working three jobs. Whew! But it's good, it's all good and totally manageable...which is lovely.

In the midst of it all, I am also working on building my website. I have already purchased the domain, but I'm not going to take it live until all the kinks are worked out. So, yes this is what I do with, you know, all that other time I have! Busy and somewhat stressful at times, but the momentum is there, and that is appreciable.

Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot of really great green juicing lately with plans to do lots more. But before we get into that, I want to talk a little bit about that amazing green stuff that we all learned about in elementary school, called chlorophyll! I just did a forum post on this beautiful stuff yesterday for school and I am still totally buzzing about the subject.

One of the most interesting things about this "liquid sunshine" is that it is very chemically similar to human blood. (put on chemistry hat now) The chemical structure for chlorophyll looks very similar to that of heme (the component of hemaglobin in blood that carries oxygen). One of the main differences is that chlorophyll has magnesium at it's center, whereas heme has iron at it's center. This is how chlorophyll gets the nickname "green blood".

Chlorophyll (and magnesium for that matter) are very alkaline forming, meaning they digest and produce what's known as "alkaline-ash" or have an alkaline effect on the body. Much of what many Americans eat these days is acid-forming. Do a quick search for acid and alkaline forming foods and you will see what I mean. What you'll find is that much of what most people eat: processed foods, sugar, alcohol, fried food,  etc. is acidifying to the body, whereas things like spinach, kale, broccoli, spirulina, and sprouts are alkaline forming. Green juices are very alkaline as well. I, myself, eat a fair amount of acid forming foods in my diet: lentils, rice, grains, oats, but I try to maintain a good balance here, if possible, which is where salad greens, rainbow chard, brussel sprouts, green leafy vegetables, and other alkaline forming foods come in. According to Victoria Boutenko in the book, "Green For Life," chlorophyll also: helps purify the liver, counteracts toxins eaten, regulates menstruation, eliminates body odors, eliminates bad breath, and helps sores heal faster, among others!

Needless to say, I love to take every opportunity I get to put  this green stuff into my body via meals, smoothies, snacks, and juice! Here is a recent smoothie I made for my breakfast and for my roomies that's full of fabulous chlorophyll!



2-3 C Spinach
1-1½ Banana (or handful of frozen bananas)
2-3 cups water  
Organic Pineapple Juice as base (1-2 C)
2-3 T Vitamineral Green
2-3 T Wheatgrass Powder

Then I topped it off with fresh organic blueberries (which are not technically in season, but someone locally is growing them cause they just recently got a lot cheaper at the most amazing local organic health food store here)  which immediately sank into the smoothie but made for nice little "nibs" in the drink. You could also top this with shredded coconut or dried pineapple chunks for a nice little texture addition.

I have also just tried another chlorophyll-rich food for the first time (by itself) and that is chlorella tablets!


With (taking this straight off the box) 2,080 IU of Vitamin A, 1 g of protein, 7 mg Magnesium, 19 mg of Mixed Carotenoids, and 60 mg Chlorophyll (among other vitamins and minerals), I wasn't sure whether to swallow them whole or chew them up, but after a couple of youtube searches (and watching Matt Monarch of The Raw Food World chew on a small handful of them) I decided I should just chew them...to familiarize myself with the flavor. I was definitely hesitant though to familiarize myself with the flavor because of a not-so pleasant experiment I had with spirulina last year. I was way impressed with spirulina (still am) and wanted to get the "full experience" so I added about a heaping tablespoon straight to water, stirred it up and tried to drink it. I could barely get half of this mixture down. This was when I realized that no matter how much I would love to like that fishy, oceany greens taste, it's just truly not my favorite. I was a bit pleasantly surprised with the chlorella tablets, however, as they have a nice nutty flavor to them right at first, but then while subsequently turning your teeth and tongue green they shift into a mild version of the fishy flavor. Still, not quite my favorite flavor but I'll take it over spirulina in water (now I just hide the spirulina flavor from myself in smoothies to ingest) any day! However, I have heard of a lot of other people who love the flavor of chlorella tablets as much as any snack, so to each their own I suppose! I think I can handle it on a regular basis, and hopefully like it more as time goes on. It's doable.

Anyway, I hope you are all having an incredible week. I saw a bush with pink flowers blooming on it today...it was an inspiring hint of the beautiful spring to come~ I am ready! We are looking for a bigger house right now, one with a bigger garden space and more room inside, so I am holding off on planting much as we look. More on that to come. Much love and fresh green juices to you this week~ cheers!!

Now you can...

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello 2012! Looking back on the pies that were...(and weren't)!

Greetings and Happy New Year!

Christmas was awesome, a great trip back home. Good friends and family and even a soul-quenching evening (for me) playing music with my Missouri band, Alice♥ Much needed. 


This new year started very calmly for me and it's exactly what I needed to set the tone for the year.

For the first time in about ten years, or more, I felt like celebrating the coming of the new year in a very laid back, reflective, non-party-ish kind of way. In the past I would have been planning to attend a big party or concert with fireworks, tons of people, party hats and other festivities, but this year the idea of coming home, putting on my pajama pants and relaxing with friends and loved ones in my home sounded best. We did get some decent invites to leave the house and hang, fairly low key, with other friends but simply the idea of leaving my house sounded like too much effort and just not right. We even casually invited a few people to stop by if they wanted to but it was a smooth and welcome let down when no one did. We had a friend from California visiting us, his last night in town, so we just ended up hanging, listening to music, watching funny shows, I spun some poi in the moonlight, and we had some laughs. It was an absolutely perfect way to ring in the new year...

thank you to my camera's timer & AJ's tripod! 

ok everyone, put on your gangsta face...


So, as I was uploading the pics from the end of the year, I found some pics I took way back at Thanksgiving that I'd like to share. I have yet to find a truly great raw pie or brownie recipe that I can truly master, but to honor the good'ol American tradition of feasting the day away, I tried again this year anyway...

I got this recipe from the amazing, "I Am Grateful," cookbook put out by Cafe Gratitude.


And, to clarify, it's not that this pie's layers didn't taste ah-maz-ing, because they did...it's that I somehow screwed up the final execution. I even got the swirls to turn out, but I think maybe I should have made this a day in advance. I made it the morning of Thanksgiving and by the time it was done we had to head where we were going, so there was little time for it to set. On that note, I wasn't sure how to get it to set! Was it supposed to be a pudding consistency pie that you just scoop out? I wanted a pie consistency, so I stuck it in the freezer to solidify the layers a bit. Anyway, it ended up getting frozen-ish and then tasting more like an ice-cream, albeit a tasty ice-cream, pie when all was said and done. 

Here was my experience: 

Recipe, check.

Got the crust, alright!

Kinda messed up the swirling a bit, but overall not too shabby...

Aaaand, the finished, frozen, product! I am...Heavenly? (hehe, yes!) We drove to where we were going and the layers sort of swirled together in the move, even more in the car ride over...pretty much just brown by the time we got there. Lol 

But sitting next to a vegan apple crumble after a full hearty meal, not a bad dessert at'all! Although I was the only one really trying to consume the leftovers as days went on and this pie kinda flopped in the fridge upon "setting" further. Not sure what to do about that. Ah well...onward!

Oh yeah, and while thinking of this I remembered that I actually did make a raw pie I was proud of this year! But again, really more like a raw pudding than a pie...it was my self-made and completely self-eaten birthday "cake" this year! It may look like a mountain of mush, but it was the tastiest mountain of chocolate mush evah!




I made up the recipe from combining a bunch of things I liked from other recipes. If I can find it, I'll try and post the final recipe I came up with on here sometime. 

So that's all I have for you folks, just some raw pies from the year 2011 and some enthusiasm looking ahead into 2012! I will make a better raw pie this year, among other resolutions.

Other resolutions for 2012: 

♥ Take a dance class
♥ Go to more open mics
♥ Obtain a fabulous green juicer
♥ Start growing sprouts
♥ Try to re-start and maintain composting
So that's it! I hope you all had a safe and fabulous new years and I'm excited to see what this year will bring for me, and for all of you! Much love & many blessings. 

My cat hopes you had a very enthusiastic new years...

Ps- What were your new years resolutions this year? (a cliche question, but I really am interested) :) Post below!