Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter Cold Got You Down?

Who's over winter? ---> this girl <---

I feel like someone in my family has been sick almost every other week this winter. And just when the promise of spring was dangling all around me, I woke up to this yesterday morning:

Cruel. Cruel joke.

The good thing about being sick this winter though (cause you know, I always have to find the "bright side" of things) is that I've had plenty of opportunities to find natural remedies to cure the common cold. And remedies I did find. I've only gotten two colds this winter (that I can remember) and both times, it was over within 2 days using these remedies. Now, anytime I feel like a sore throat is coming on, or a tickle in my nose begins, I jump on these remedies. I don't even know how many colds I've completely avoided, just by doing these simple things! Oh, and most of them are kid-safe, too!

TIU's Get Well Smoothie
This smoothie is delicious! The only thing I recommend is that if you're diabetic, then cut this recipe in half. There are too many carbs in one-sitting in the full recipe. Also, add in the optional protein powder to help stabilize your blood sugars.

Umcka Children's Cold Care
This homeopathic cold syrup is supposed to "shorten the duration of common colds, brochial infections & sinus infections". It's supposed to reduce the severity of the cough, congestions & sore throats. It won't make your kids drowsy, either! It's safe for ages 2 and up. The only thing I don't like about it, is that it's got some maltodextrin in it, but given the other cold care products on the market for our children, this is one of the best.

Honey/Cinnamon Cough Suppresant
Make sure your honey is truly raw when making this recipe. Only raw honey has the benefits that honey can offer. Also, a note when giving this to kids: it can be a bit spicy from the cinnamon, so if they have a hard time with it, add a bit more honey to dilute it. But, my extremely picky kids had no trouble with this.

1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together. Eat.

Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Essential Oils can be used for so many great things! Make sure you are getting a good quality essential oil. Here's a great article on what to look for when searching for essential oils.

  • Both can be added to a vaporizer while you sleep
  • 1 drop of Peppermint can be added to each foot. Cover with a sock. Sleep.
  • 1 drop of Peppermint can be added to your temples or the front of your forehead to help relieve a sinus headache.
  • 1 drop of Eucalyptus can be rubbed on your chest to help you breathe better while you sleep.

"Melatonin is produced naturally in your body and helps maintain healthy sleep patterns as well as antioxidant and immune activities." We love this product in your house, cold or not. We all occasionally have issues with sleep and this product is safe and effective and keeps you from feeling drowsy the next day.

Fruit-Infused Water
Strawberries and Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C. Instead of giving your kids sugar-laden juice (which will actually make their illness worse and last longer), stick some fruit in their water and get them to drink, drink, drink!

Never underestimate the power of water! Water flushes toxins and bacteria out of the body, so the theory is: the more you drink, the faster you'll feel better. So, drink up!

Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is said to "protect against pathogenic microbes, including bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites". It also, "provides antioxidant protection" and "reduces inflammation" as well as "relieves seasonal allergies". I'm not going to lie, even though this product is "blended in a 1:4 ratio w/organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil", this stuff is POTENT! I've tried it in smoothies. It ruins the smoothie. I've tried it on skin. You smell like oregano. The best way to get this sucker down? Put 4 drops under your tongue and wait for the warming sensation. Then, chase with water! Though it's unpleasant to take, I swear it does the trick to take care of my cold!

Emergen-C Immune Support
Embergen-C "provides key nutrients your body needs like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and a proprietary immune complex." I love this product, but there are a few "other ingredients" that I am not so enthused about. For now, this product does the trick to give me those added immune support and vitamins that my body needs to fight a cold fast!

Readers: What are some of your favorite natural ways to overcome a cold?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

I recently watched the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer and instantly felt a connection with Kris' story. While my condition probably won't kill me, there is still no cure. And I've felt led to seek natural methods to try to get relief (and medical methods only when necessary). I became further intrigued and decided to check out her cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, from the library.

The first thing that I'll say about this cookbook is that, overall, I've loved almost every recipe that I've tried. And they are incredibly healthy! Below, I'm going to share a couple of my favorites with you.

Shredded Kale & Carrots 
with Almond Butter Dressing
This recipe is listed in the cookbook as a "Side Dish", but I eat a bigger helping and eat it as my main dish. The dressing has a sweet flavor and the salad has a tangy flavor. Together they are sooo delicious!

Almond Butter Dressing:
1/4 c almond butter
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c dates, pitted
1/2 c purified water
1 clove fresh garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, and process on high until the dates have fully broken down into a thick, smooth, and creamy dressing.

Kale & Carrot Salad:
1 bunch lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur kale)
1.5 carrots
1/2 c sliced celery
3/4 c hemp seeds
1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
1/2 c tightly packed fresh parsley, minced
1/4 c tightly packed fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 c tightly packed fresh mint, minced
1/4 c raisins

In a food processor fitted with the slicing disc, run whole leaves of washed and dry-spun kale through the machine, stem and all.

Switch out slicing disc for shredder disc and process carrots.

To serve: Place all ingredients in a bowl along with 3/4 c dressing, and massage and toss gently until the dressing is evenly distributed. (I added a tablespoon or two of more dressing to my bowl, right before eating it).


Walnut Falafel 
with Garlic Tahini Dressing
"Crazy Sexy Kitchen's falafel will fill you up, although it's much lighter and healthier than the traditional fried version. These are great wrapped in a collard leaf, stuffed in a pita, or on top of a salad." ~Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Note: I don't own a dehydrator (yet) so I tried the oven recipe. Mine didn't cook at the 250-degrees, so after cooking them at that temperature for the full 35 minutes, I upped the heat to about 300-degrees and kept checking them every 5-10 minutes.

Walnut Falafels:
1 cup raw almonds, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water, to soften
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water, to soften
2 dates, pitted
3/4 cup sesame seeds, finely ground
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
3T minced fresh oregano
2T olive oil
2T lemon juice
1/2 T cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
5-6 leaves of butter lettuce

If using oven, preheat to 250-degrees-F. In a Champion Juicer or other juicer with a solid plate, homogenize the almonds, walnuts, and dates to a thick puree. Alternatively you could use food processor to puree until fine as possible. In mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (except butter lettuce) to the nut puree and mix by hand. When thoroughly mixed, form a ball and pressing with your thumb in center. Dehydrate for 3-4 hours in dehydrator at 115-degrees-F or in the oven at 250-degrees-F for 30-35 minutes. Once the walnut falafel is crisp and/or golden if using oven, serve 4-5 on a bed of butter lettuce or your favorite delicate greens with Garlic Tahini Dressing.

I served mine by filling a coconut wrap with 2 falafels, mixed greens and drizzled with Garlic Tahini Dressing.

Garlic Tahini Dressing:
3/4 c tahini, raw or roasted
1.25 c water
3 cloves garlic
3T lemon juice
1T toasted sesame oil
2.5T tamari*
1.5T nutritional yeast (optional)

*I used coconut aminos, for a soy-free option.

In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.


Now, go check out this cookbook!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Product Review: Balance, a PMS & Menopause Relief

AnuMed-Intl contacted me awhile back asking if I was interested in trying out a few of their products. I will be doing posts here and there to let you know about how their products tested out. Today, I'd like to share a review of their product called Balance, a PMS & Menopause Relief.

I wasn't comfortable trying out this product myself, because I'm pretty reluctant to try anything my Nautropath hasn't personally recommended for me. However, a friend of mine had just gone through a hysterectomy and was having some trouble with some of the symptoms that accompany that procedure. So, I asked her if she'd be willing to try the product and write the review and she agreed. So, consider this a guest post, by my friend, Nikki.


Due to my fight with stage 4 endometriosis I had a radical hysterectomy within the same month of my 40th birthday. I got a bottle of Balance before my surgery to try since I wouldn't be on hormone replacement pills. I know hysterectomies are quite common nowadays, however "common" isn't a word us Endo sisters are graced with. It was a long surgery, with a long hospital stay, followed with a long recovery time; over 10 weeks, to be exact.

I started getting hot flashes about 6 days after surgery with weeks 3-9 being the worst. They came on strong; about 10-15 flashes a day, ranging between 10 seconds to 25 minutes long.  At night it brought its evil friends, night sweats and insomnia.

Honestly, I was afraid and intimidated of this bottle at first.  I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all know that sometimes these brown bottles contain nasty smelling/ tasting things (can I tell you a trick? Put a stick or two of mint gum in the bottle and B vitamins don't smell like B vitamins. Thanks to that idea from pinterest)! Or, maybe like my fish oils will make me burp nasty tasting burps? All I knew was that I didn't want to deal with yet another unpleasant thing! I was maxed out and over stimulated in this area of not being in control of my body! On top of being in pain, stuck to the only comfortable spot I could find at the moment which was the living room chair, sweating as my body was regulating my hormones, or lack there of, my hair in a pony, still in my comfortable yoga pants....again.

I gave myself a good pep talk and read the directions...

I had no idea I ate or drank so much, or should I say, so often. It's a bit challenging to take it when you should because my hot flashes (my biggest complaint) happened so sporadically.  However, when I could try it, I was pleasantly surprised it didn't taste bad at all! And it worked okay, too!

Did it completely take away my hot flashes and reduce my ravenous appetite? No, not completely.  However, it was a weapon that came with hope and provided comfort and relief. And it sure was nice knowing there are these little goodies out there when we need them. I know my body was thrown into this "stage of life", so it was bound to be a pretty bumpy ride.
It really was nice to have this bottle by my side.

Would I recommend it?  Yes!!
Is it worth the money?  Yes!!
Am I glad I tried it!  You bet!!

Thank you for the opportunity to try your item and please let me know if you have any questions.  I'll do my best to answer them.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

According to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese today, nearly triple the rate in 1963. A new report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation advises that if adult obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, 13 states could have rates above 60 percent; 39 states above 50 percent; and all 50 states above 44 percent.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity, based on research at 10 universities, points to the use of hormones in factory meat production as a major reason for this trend. Pesticides are another culprit; the average American is exposed to 10 to 13 different types each day via food, beverages and drinking water, and nine of the 10 most commonly used are endocrine disrupters linked to weight gain. Genetically modified U.S. food crops are also sprayed heavily with biocides. Findings presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science linked bisphenol A (BPA) - an industrial chemical contained in plastic soda, drinking and baby bottles - with abnormal estrogen function.

To win the battle of the bulge, Americans need to eat balanced diets and exercise regularly, but additional steps can further help: choose organic, grass-fed meat instead of corn-fed; use glass instead of plastic containers for beverages and food storage; avoid canned food unless the label states BPA-free; and consume yogurt daily or take a high-quality probiotic to help restore healthy intestinal flora.

The above article was written in the Natural Awakenings magazine, Twin Cities Edition, March 2013. NAtwincities.com