It’s an exciting day at our house – and that is because I finally got to get my hands dirty playing with a new supplement!  (I am such a nerd!)  Today’s post is all about dietary gelatin, and what it can do for you!

pvr 001

This container may not look like much, but it packs a very unexpected nutritional punch!  This particular gelatin is porcine (pork-derived), but unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the health food store options today.  Next go-around, I’m springing for the grassfed beef derived gelatin.  :)  But whatever the animal source, gelatin carries very similar nutritional benefits.  For one, gelatin is a very rich source of a broad range of amino acids, including alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, hydroxyproline, hydroxylysine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylaline, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophane, tyrosine, and valine!  This concentrated source of amino acids aids your body in a quick reproduction of blood cells, that helps your body heal bones and joints.  And because it is such a rapid, highly absorbable source of rich proteins, gelatin also helps hydrate the connective tissue within the body.  Gelatin is also very rich in collagen, making it a formidable supplement to combat age-related cartilage damage, and skin degeneration!  Collagen is, after all, a very necessary nutrient for supple, tight skin – and guess what?  You absorb it better internally than you ever could externally!  So all those fancy collagen creams, well..suffice it to say, wasted dollars.

 Impressed? It gets better..

What else can you take dietary gelatin for?  Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, or for weight loss, hair health, or recovery of  physical injuries.  Gelatin is even known as a hormone-balancing nutrient that can help eliminate excess estrogen within the body, due to environmental exposure to chemical hormone disruptors.  Not sold yet?  Gelatin shows promise as a digestive aid, especially in conditions that involve inflammation, such as constipation.  This is a nutrient that packs a punch!

Now, you’re probably thinking “this is too good to be true!  This stuff must be hard to integrate into your diet.”  Absolutely not!  Incorporating gelatin into your diet is so incredibly easy, and I’ll show you how:

1) Dissolving it into water, tea, or juice

2) Making your own homemade marshmallows!!  How cool is that!  And it won’t have any nasty preservatives!  Imagine a marshmallow that is good for you and your kids!

3) Make your own gummy treats!  Now I’m getting excited about this option, because the possibilities are ENDLESS!  Especially if you want to consider herbal supplement options!

4) Make your own jello!  Again, the possibilities are pretty limitless – and you control what goes into it!

Ok, who’s ready to go out and buy some??  Because next post, we’ll be going over some recipes to put this awesome nutrient to use!  So get yourself a good, quality gelatin source, and next week we’ll hit the kitchen!

 

 

 

Written on September 15th, 2013 , General, Informative

Today we’re going to talk about a good “friend” of mine – burdock.  I am so impressed with this herb, as it is quite the underdog in terms of uses and how beneficial it is to us.  Used for thousands of years for a variety of health conditions ranging from blood sugar issues, to cancer, to acne, this is one herb to make a mental note to take more of!

Let’s start with the nutrients.  Burdock is high in chromium, magnesium, and inulin, making it a great go-to herb for all issues of blood sugar levels, including diabetes and insulin resistence.  It is also high in cobalt, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, thiamine, vitamin A, and zinc.

Burdock helps to strengthen the immune system, the kidneys, and the liver.  Because it has such an affinity for helping the liver to detox, it is highly recommended for treating skin eruptions such as psoriasis, eczema, herpes, acne, and boils.  In addition, it has commonly been used by herbalists in conjunction with red clover as an alternative cancer/tumor therapy because of its ability to help your body cleanse its circulatory system.

Not sold yet?  Due to its inulin content, burdock acts as a prebiotic, which helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut, making it a powerful ally against the negative effects of antibiotics.  It also acts as a diuretic for those days when you seem to be holding your weight in water.

I’m getting excited just thinking about all these benefits – hope you are too!  I actually have a jar of liver cleanse tincture infusing on my counter right now – containing, yep, you guessed it!  Burdock.  I also have a “calcium and Vitamin B” glycerite infusing in my crock pot with.. well, I’m sure you already figured it out.

Now, a treat!  Here is a recipe for burdock root pickles by herbalist Eaglesong in Monroe, WA:

You will need:
Several stalks of fresh burdock
1/3 pt tamari
1/3 pt balsamic vinegar
garlic cloves
fresh ginger

Start by slicing the clean burdock root into bite sized pieces.  Simmer the sliced root in just enough water to cover the pan but not fully immerse the root.  It is done when the root is slightly soft, but still crisp.  Remove from heat and keep the cooking water for later.  Fill a mason jar with the cooked root and add your garlic and ginger.  (For a pint mason jar, use about 3 cloves garlic and 4 slices of ginger, or to taste)
Next fill the jar with 1/3 tamari, 1/3 balsamic vinegar, and 1/3 water.  Store in the fridge, and in a couple weeks, your burdock root pickles will be ready!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Written on April 7th, 2013 , Informative, Recipes

This is a great day for a post on making your own cultured goodness!  I cannot stress how important it is to have a healthy gut – specifically the beneficial bacteria in your intestines.  I had already covered making your own kefir, and in comparison, yogurt will have just a couple more steps, but it really is worth the time!  Especially considering the savings to you – at a health food store, a typical cup of organic yogurt will run you on average $1 per 6 oz container – or roughly $4 for a 32 ounce.  To me, that sounds decent, but considering our daily smoothie routine, we go through a LOT of yogurt!  I’d have to spend about $20-30 bucks a month just on yogurt!  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m all about saving where I can so other things can fit into the budget.  With the DIY yogurt, you will get about 42 ounces for about $2 – that’s about $6/month.  (Remember guys, I’m a SAHM, every dollar counts!)

So to make your own yogurt, you will need your own yogurt maker.  (That’s the bad news)  The good news is they are not too expensive – on average $30, so you will more than make up for the cost in 2 months time.  I got mine at Target, and it’s a very basic culturing machine – and it has served me well for years now!

Most yogurt makers come with the culturing chamber, and the jars.  First, you will need enough milk to fill the number of included jars.  My yogurt maker comes with 7 jars, so I will start out by measuring out 7 jars worth of milk, then pouring it into a pot.  Slowly warm the milk until it begins to simmer and/or climb the sides of the pot.  Remove from heat at this time, and allow it to cool to room temperature.  (I usually speed up the process by putting the pot in the sink with a little cold water – and ice.  It’s just enough to cool the milk quickly, and not enough to make it cold again (you don’t want it cold!)

Once your milk is room temperature, you will pour it through a strainer into a pitcher.  This is to catch the clumps of milk that have formed during the heating process.

You may be wondering, “why do you even heat your milk anyway?”  Truth is, you don’t need to.  If you wanted to skip that step, simply use enough milk that you have allowed to warm to room temperature, and skip the heating process altogether.  But, this will make for runnier yogurt.  If you want a firmer yield, as in the consistency of most store-bought yogurt, you will have to heat the milk.

So you’ve strained your milk into the pitcher.  Now the easy part.  Take 1- 6 ounce cup of yogurt (unless your yogurt maker has different instructions, of course), and pour it into a bowl.  Add a little bit of your strained milk from the pitcher, and stir until the yogurt and milk make a smooth, combined consistency.  Why do we do this??  Easy – you are “borrowing” the active cultures from the existing cup of yogurt so that you can allow them to multiply into your larger batch of yogurt.  Easy enough, isn’t it?  Now, you’re probably thinking, THAT makes sense!

Once you have your yogurt-milk mixure combined, slowly add it back to the milk in the pitcher, stirring to combine it all.  Make sure it is well mixed, then pour it into your yogurt maker’s jars.  Do NOT cover the jars with their lids!  Place them into your yogurt maker’s culture chamber, flip it on, and time it for the recommended time (based on your machine).  FYI for most 6 ounce jar machines, 7 hours for whole milk yogurt, and 10 hours for skim milk yogurt is typical.

When the time is up, simply remove, cover, and refrigerate your homemade yogurt!  Imagine that – cultured, healthy yogurt with NO added preservatives or processed flavorings!  (Don’t worry, honey makes a GREAT sweetener!)

One thing to keep in mind – you may use one of your homemade jars as a “starter” for the next batch, but it is generally recommended that you only “recycle” an old batch to make a new one once.  After that, get a fresh cup to start your next batch – and don’t worry, I did include the cost of the yogurt cups into your cost for the homemade yogurt.

Voila!  Homemade yogurt that neither broke the bank – nor took half an afternoon.  You can use it in smoothies, as a base for homemade popsicles, or straight out of the jar.  And the good news guys, you know EXACTLY what went into it!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Written on January 7th, 2013 , General, Informative

We are nearing mid-October now, which I’m happy to say, means goodbye to 100 degree weather, and HELLO 80 degrees! (That’s supposed to be a joke, but it’s accurate here in TX) Sad, right? As much as I love Fall-time (it is by far, my favorite season), I can’t help but look forward to winter with the typical dread of any mother. Cold and Flu season! But that’s the reason for today’s post – to get you all ready and stocked with your herbal remedies so that hopefully, we can lessen the effects of the inevitable germs that find their way into our homes this time of year.
Now, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. This is not going to be a substitute for doctor advice – or doctor visits should you or your kiddos get very sick. I am hoping, however, to eliminate the need to go to the doctor in the first place. Because bottom line is only your body can heal itself, and a properly functioning immune system can do a world of good when it comes to getting (or not getting) sick.
Let’s tackle some of the telltale symptoms of sickness, and address them appropriately, shall we? Because when it comes to Fall – and Winter, don’t we all have better things to do than stay home sick all day?? (Unless, of course, you just want that lay in your jammies, on the couch, watching movies kind of day. In that case, I understand completely! But you don’t really have to be sick to do that. :) )

Firstly, let’s address the immune system. What a powerful, amazing system we have, that was designed to protect us from germs, and heal just about any malady you can think of. A properly functioning immune system is absolutely necessary for optimal health. So how do you keep yours up to par? Here is a couple tips:


Vitamin D! Have you had your sun today? This hormone is utilized by just about every cell in your body, and deficiencies have been linked to just about anything from disease to cancer. As you probably know, your body produces this hormone from direct exposure to sunlight – but many of us still don’t get enough! So what next? Supplementation is key.

Next, avoid sugar! Did you know that eating sugar-laden foods freezes your immune system AND compromises it for a minimum of 5 hours after you consumed it? When you’re around sick people at work, or on the bus – maybe you should think twice about that doughnut, can of soda, or candy bar. That could be the difference between you getting sick as well, or not.

Vitamins and herbs – I’ve covered several herbs up to this point, so I won’t drone on about this too much. Vitamin C does wonders – as does nourishing foods, including Bone Broths. What in the world is that?? And how do you make it? EASY! Every time I purchase a whole (organic, hormone free) chicken – or happen by the local grassfed meat market, I make my own chicken/beef stock using the bones. I just throw the bones into my crockpot, along with some organic carrots, celery, onion – and raw, organic apple cider vinegar (helps to break down the bones and extract the trace nutrients from the bone marrow). You can also add some organic astragalus root, which is a Chinese herb known for supporting the immune system, as well as having adaptogen properties similar to ginseng. Cover it all with water, turn the crock pot on low, and let it cook for 24 hours. The next day, you can strain it off and use or freeze your healthy goodness! This is an incredibly easy, nourishing way to keep your immune system in tip top shape, and it is especially good for anyone who is already sick and cannot tolerate solid foods!


You can also try this recipe from well known MD, Midwife, and Herbalist, Aviva Romm, for an immune boosting beverage:
1) Crush 2 cloves of garlic into a 1 Qt. Mason jar.
2) Cover with boiling water, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
3) Strain; Add honey and lemon to taste for anyone over 2.
For children under 2, you can substitute the honey for maple syrup.
You can drink this incredibly easy-to-make beverage anytime you like to help strengthen your immune system! Better yet, make it a daily affair and get that much more ahead of the game!

Then, of course, we have our common sense tips:
Washing hands, getting plenty of rest, and eating a healthy diet full of organic fruits and vegetables!! This all goes without saying.

Now..what do you do when you actually GET sick? Next post, I’ll have several recipes and tips to help you get back on your feet in a hurry! So be ready with pen and paper in hand, it’s going to be a goodie!

Written on October 11th, 2012 , General, Informative, Recipes

Well, I held back as long as I could. But all this talk about homemade shampoos and soaps finally got to me. I know I had mentioned the herb Soapwort in a previous post, but I never did get far into it as far as the “how to”. And considering my geeky leanings, that’s just wrong!
And so today, we’ll briefly get to know our good herb, Soapwort, then I’ll leave you all to get acquainted afterwards. :)

Soapwort has been, for the most part, used as a cleaning agent (sources debate that it may be toxic when used internally – but others say it is safe to use for mostly laxative/diuretic uses). It was discovered useful when, aptly named, the herb was found surrounded by puddles and producing a sudsy action in them. To be honest, if I were to come across an unknown plant sitting in a soapy puddle, I may not have been as eager to see what was going on.. but, as they say, someone’s always got to be first. In this case, obviously, it was a win!

So I was incredibly excited to have a surprise package arrive this week, with none other than dried soapwort in it! (Imagine my giddiness!) Now, you can use fresh or dried – obviously, the dried will keep longer for “off seasons”, but fresh works better if you have it available.
And what did I do with this goodness?? I made liquid soap – and herbal shampoo! And believe me, guys, it’s incredibly easy! So I’ll get right to it..

For soap uses: Simply boil 2 C water. Add several Tbsp dried soapwort to it. (To be honest, I went overboard and used 1/2 C).

Simmer this for about 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Once cooled, strain off and put into a bottle. Now, here’s the important part – it won’t keep more than a week, so use it, optimally, within a few days.

To use soapwort as a shampoo (this is the fun part!), you are going to begin the process the same way as making soap. But while it is simmering, get together some hair health-enhancing herbs. Below, you can see I added about 1 Tsp of the following: Horsetail, Nettle, Marshmallow, and Maiden’s Hair Fern.

Now, when your soapwort is finished simmering, you will pour it into a heat resistent bowl containing whatever herbs you have chosen to supplement. You will not strain off the soapwort at this time, just like you did above.
Allow the “infusion” bowl to cool, then strain off all the herbs. Pour your homemade shampoo into a bottle – and the expiration date will be the same as the soap. Use it soon guys!

Look at those awesome suds!

So, how does it measure up? Well, first, let me tell you, if you are comparing to soap, it may not measure up in your expectations. Take that into consideration. There is some soapy action going on, but (for me), it wasn’t a whole lot. (Also remember I used a dried form).
As for the shampoo – you may want to consider using a floral fragrance herb to cover the “herb scent” from the soapwort. But me, I’m not as concerned with aesthetics as I am functionality. So my hair did come out smelling “herby”, but it also felt stronger, smoother, and the curls were looking very happy indeed. So I give this herb a thumbs up – I will definitely do this again – rating.
So remember, soapwort is a free-soap alternative that could be your best friend in a pinch, especially if you’ve got kids – or pets – or a husband. But we won’t get into that one.. :)

Written on September 17th, 2012 , Informative, Recipes

Yarrow has got to be one of my favorite herbs, hands down, because it is such a useful, versatile plant to have around – and it is so incredibly easy to grow! The scientific name for this specie of herb is Achillea Millefolium, and it is aptly named so for its incredible healing abilities. If you notice the first part of the name, “achillea”, this herb was said to have protected the Greek mythological character, Achilles throughout his life – excluding his weakness, his heel, of course.

Isn’t this a beautiful herb? The flowers can also be white as well, so don’t judge based solely on hue. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, this herb has quite the affinity for healing. If you were to place yarrow leaves on a fresh cut, not only would it stop the bleeding almost instantly (obviously slightly more time for a deeper wound), but it would also promote skin regrowth within a matter of minutes. This sounds like crazy stuff, I know, but the first time I had a nice cut going, I had to put it to the test. I picked one of my yarrow leaves, rinsed it off, then put it straight on my cut. I removed the leaf 1 minute later just to see what was going on. The bleeding had stopped already. I put the leaf back on for about 5 more minutes, and after removing it a second time, I saw new skin beginning to heal over the wound. Wow!! Parents with kids – imagine the possibilities!

In addition to healing wounds, yarrow can also help dull pain associated with the cut. Does it get better? Yep. Yarrow has antiseptic properties as well, so as it is helping your body to heal, it is also helping to prevent infection in that cut!

Did I mention this herb was useful? Not only does it help with healing, but if taken internally – or used externally, it also has the added benefit of helping increase circulation. This, in turn, can promote blood flow in varicose veins, and help to heal bruises faster. If used internally exclusively, it can help relieve a fever quicker by opening your pores for your body to cleanse itself. It also is known for helping fight off bladder infections due to its anti-microbial properties. Lastly, it also has the added benefit of being a natural insect deterrent. If you plant them close to your house, you may just have less insects trying to find their way in!

What’s the best way to use this amazing herb? As I mentioned before, if using on a cut, externally is best. And fresh leaves are preferred, though if the “yarrow season” is over, you can also sprinkle some dried, powdered yarrow where needed, and it will work nearly just as well.
If taking it internally – you’ve got your choice! Tincture, tea, syrup. Easy stuff! And if you choose to make a tincture, after straining it off, throw the yarrow “leftovers” in your garden to help keep pesky insects away. This summer, I tried this in an attempt to ward off the ever-present ant population in my strawberry garden. Not only did the ants seem to vanish within a couple days after the first application, but they didn’t come back the whole summer! (This is coming from someone who has ant piles in the strawberry garden every year – unless applying beneficial nematodes) Win win!

So as you can see, yarrow is quite the herb to have around. If looking for a few for your home, they actually carry them at Home Depot – as well as most garden stores. Trust me, they are not hard to find. They do like well drained soil, so if keeping them in a pot, don’t overwater. I made that mistake this year, and they didn’t start looking happy until I put them in the ground. They also like full sun. Aside from that, they’re a pretty independent specie so there’s not much work involved once they are established.
So if planning an herb garden, or just wanting some useful flowers decorating your property, yarrow would be a great way to go!

Written on September 3rd, 2012 , General, Informative

Bugs. Pests. We all get them. In the garden, in your yard, nibbling on your meager harvest that you’ve been trying to keep alive all year. The problem is, taking care of the undesirables without harming your plants, the environment, pets, or children who may be playing in that area. There’s a very fine line between getting the job done – and overkill.
Luckily, there are organic options that have been tried and true since long before chemical pesticides were invented – it’s just that we’ve forgotten about them.
Here are some excerpts from an article written by Doc and Katy Abraham that you may just find useful:

For Apple Maggots – Mix one part molasses with 9 parts water, then add yeast to produce fermentation. Pour this mixture into wide mouth jars and hang in nearby trees around your apple trees.

For aphids, mites, leafhoppers, or other garden insects – Daddy Longlegs! These guys are most active at night, preying on these common pests. (Yes, there are actually companies where you can purchase live bugs for this purpose).

Crawling Insects that prey on your fruit trees – Wrap your tree trunk with 6-8 inches of tape, and apply Vaseline or other grease to the tape. Take care not to get the Vaseline directly on the tree, though, it may cause damage.

Red Spider Mites – These guys love to attack tomato leaves, when the weather is hot. To kill this pest naturally, make a spray of 2% oil of coriander, or a spray of anise oil.

White flies, spider mites, aphids, and other various vegetable-consuming insects – Mix 1 tsp liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 C vegetable oil. Shake well and add to a quart of water. Use at a 10 day interval as an all purpose contact-insecticide. Be sure to test on a single plant first, as it may cause tip burn.

Mites – Lime sulfur can be applied to kill most species of mites, as well as their eggs. It also has fungicidal properties and can be used on fruit trees. Note: Lime sulfur will stain paint if you apply it on plants near the house, so take care when applying it close to buildings.

Squash and Stink Bugs – Sabadilla (made from the seeds of a South American lily. It is irritating to eyes and lungs, so take care during application, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Worms – Ryania (made from ground stems and roots of a South American shrub). See directions on container.

Fungus gnats, symphylids, centipedes, root lice, and other underground pests – Tobacco water. Mix a solution of tobacco and water so that it is the color of brown tea; pour on the soil. DO NOT drink it or let anyone else drink it by mistake!!

Cats, dogs, snails, and other munching insects – to discourage them from consuming your vegetables, dust powdered hot pepper or a spray of hot pepper sauce onto your plants.

Ants and grubs – beneficial nematodes. These little guys are great at tackling ant problems, and they eat away at the grubs to keep your gardens free of these common pests. They actually arrive in soil, and you will not see them since they are microscopic.

Other Chewing Insects – Blend 1 C of chopped spearmint leaves, 1 C of green onion tops, and 1/2 C chopped hot red pepper, and 1/2 C water together, and put into a gallon of water. Add 1/2 C of liquid detergent (preferable lemon scented). Dilute by adding 1/2 C mixture to a quart of water. Spray directly onto your plants.

These are just a few of the organic options available to you. I encourage you to do some research, try a few a things, and see what works best for your gardening needs. Remember, pest control does not have to be detrimental to your health. Happy Hunting!

Written on July 24th, 2012 , General, Informative, Recipes

When I first started learning about herbs, I overlooked slippery elm because, initially, it didn’t “jump out” at me. It didn’t seem flashy enough to keep my attention. Of course, I wasn’t sick at the time. :) Since then, I’ve learned that it’s often the underdog that comes out on top, and this herb is no exception.

Slippery elm bark is an incredibly healing herb, and frankly, one of the first I turn to now, when I feel any kind of sore throat or mucous buildup going on. And like magic, the sore throat is soothed, and the mucous begins to break up, almost immediately after taking this amazing herb.
You may notice the powdered bark smells almost of maple, but the taste, not so much. The best way to take this herb, in my opinion, is as a gruel or a drink. Just take a spoonful of the herb, and mix it with water, and eat it right off the spoon – or take a tablespoon and mix it with a pint of water. Either way, you will notice, as it absorbs the water it becomes a grainy consistency similar to a cream of rice cereal.
If I’m giving it to my kiddos (or even if I want additional soothing to a sore throat), mix some raw honey into your slippery elm-water mixture. Bet they can’t say no then! Last resort, it works well mixed into your oatmeal, and you won’t even know it’s there!
Slippery elm can also be used topically as a poultice to help draw out infections from the skin, heal rashes, and protect wounds. To do this, you will simply mix the herb with water, as if you were taking it internally – then place directly on the skin. Voila! How easy is that??
And, of course, no herb post is complete without a recipe, right? This recipe comes from “A Kid’s Herb Book” by Lesley Tierra:

Slippery Elm Sore Throat Drops
You will need:
Licorice Root*
Slippery Elm Powder

First, make a tea of licorice using 1/2 C water and 1 Tsp of chopped licorice root. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, then strain. You should have roughly 1/4 C of tea – if you have less, add the water to make it 1/4 C.
Put 1/2 C slippery elm powder in a bowl and make a hole in the center. Pour your licorice tea in the hole and gently mix into the slippery elm powder to make a dough consistency.
Sprinkle some slippery elm powder on a clean flat surface and roll out your dough to 1/4 ” thickness.
Cut your dough into small circles, using a bottlecap or small lid about the same size – or roll them into balls and flatten and smooth them with your fingers. Make sure all of the edges are smooth, as you do not want it irritating your mouth when you suck on them.
Set your discs evenly spaced on a plate, and leave uncovered 12-24 hours, or until completely hardened.
Store your lozenges in a dark container or tin in a dry place, and use as needed.
Suck each pill so they dissolve in your mouth and coat your throat, healing your throat and lungs.

*If you do not have licorice, you can use plain water as a substitute.

Written on July 19th, 2012 , Informative, Recipes

It’s a great day for a post on juicing! I am a huge fan of juicing fruits and veges, for the sole reason that I can sneak in an amazing variety of vegetables I (and the kids) would otherwise not eat – then add some fruits to cover the taste. Yea, some would call that cheating.. but I don’t. :)

When I was pregnant with my son, I actually hated the taste of vegetables. (Yes, even then I knew he was going to be trouble just like his Daddy) This really bothered me, because my first pregnancy was ALL about organic fruits and vegetables – and it just didn’t seem right to not eat as well (regardless of what I liked/disliked) while growing my little man. So, I relied heavily on my juicer, and I was so glad I did! Back then, I had my trusted Jack Lalanne juicer, and I’d throw my greens in, then the fruits to cover the taste. Great stuff! And he loved it too, because he’d always get quite active after I drank it down.

For those of you who have not seen the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, I would highly recommend it. It really covers the benefits of juicing, and follows the lives of a few people who used juicing to get their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and all other manner of health maladies under control. It helped them to reduce, if not omit drug prescriptions altogether, and they were completely changed people.
So..what’s the big deal about juicing? Well, for one, it condenses many, many nutrients into one glass that you otherwise may not get. So the next question usually is..
“So, why don’t you just EAT the vegetables?”
Ok.. why don’t you?
And therein lies the problem. Even the most motivated of us have a hard time creating a nutrient-dense diet – and sticking with it. Juicing makes health more attainable. Don’t like the taste of turnips? (I really don’t either) – juice them! Don’t get enough greens? Juice it and add something you do like to encourage you to drink it!

In addition to the benefit of a more variety of nutrients, is the bioavailability of them. When you convert the fruits and vegetables into juice, those vitamins in liquid form are absorbed more readily and distributed throughout your bloodstream – less digestion. Actually, within 15 minutes, all those vitamins are already absorbed and being distributed where they are needed!

With juicing, there is also the benefit of getting more bang to your glass. For example, even when you are your absolute hungriest, can you eat 15 pounds of produce? (I hope not!) Can you even eat 15 pounds of produce in a single day? I highly doubt it. But, you can drink it!

Now, there are several kinds of juicers, and I’ll go over a few. Firstly, there is the traditional citrus juicer:

This little guy is great for citrus, and not much else. It’s very affordable, and a decent starting place.

Then you move on to the centrifugal juicers – that is, they use high speed rotation of a blade to grind down the fruits and vegetables you want to juice. My old JLL falls into this category, and it’s a great category to start in! It’s a fast juicing process, and the juicers can generally juice most anything you throw at them. The drawback, I’ve learned over time, is that the high speed blades produce an oxygenation effect in the juice (thus the aeration fizz at the top), which means the nutrients in the juice are already compromised. You actually have to drink your juice right away after making it, or the nutritional value is much lower than it should be. Here’s a shot of of my “old bud”:

This juicer is also very affordable – and easy to clean, again, making it a great place to start.

Next category will be your masticating/cold press juicers. They actually use pressure to crush the fruits and vegetables, rather than spinning blades. The pros to this group will be a more stable juice, that will last a couple days, rather than a few minutes. That makes it possible to juice larger batches – thus having to juice less often. You will also be yielding a more nutrient dense product – and getting more juice from each fruit/vegetable you use. The downside to this category, mainly is price. Most juicers in this category will run in a large range of $250-2,500 (the highest, being a Gerson-Therapy approved juicer for healing malignant cancers). Here’s a shot of a typical masticating juicer:

Despite how this juicer looks, it’s actually very easy to clean and assemble. Don’t be intimidated by the extras!

Now that we’ve gone over the juicers – and I’m sure you’re all ready to run out and buy one, right? .. I hope so!
I’ll share a few recipes with you from the “Food Matters Recipe Book” (and remember, shoot for organic!):

“Green Juice”
3 Celery Stalks
1 Lebanese Cucumber
2 Stems Kale
1/4 Fennel Bulb
1 Peeled Lemon
1 Green Apple
1/2 Slice of Ginger
Optional – Pinch of Parsley or Cilantro

“Cleansing Lemonade”
1 Liter Water
Juice of 2 Lemons
Pinch of Unrefined Sea Salt
1″ Knob of fresh grated Ginger (Squeeze juice from pulp & discard)
1 Tbsp Raw Honey

“Summer Juice”
2 Small Cucumbers
1/4 Pineapple
Large Handful of Mint

And remember everyone, kids LOVE juice, right? Why not give them real juice! Why not give yourself real juice! You’ll be amazed at how you feel once you incorporate juicing into your life, so give it a shot!

Written on July 14th, 2012 , General, Informative, Recipes

Didn’t I say I’d get to this Essential Oil blend? Believe me, I was chomping at the bit, waiting for a good time. Because when it comes to Thieve’s Oil (a.k.a. Four Thieve’s Oil), it can do no wrong in my eyes – and plenty of right!
The term “Thieve’s Oil” was coined during the times of the Black Plague. Story in short, there was a band of 4 thieves who looted the houses of the sick, dying, and deceased (and their graves), and yet, did not contract the disease themselves. Now, this was during a very dangerous time, when people believed it to be the end of the world due to the death toll by this one disease alone (rough count is topping off at 75 million!). The unsanitary living conditions, as well as the improper disposal of the dead only made the communicability of this dease that much more raging. But, despite their presence in direct contact with these conditions and people, well, needless to say, people began to wonder what their secret was..
Finally, the Church caught the thieves, and in exchange for their secret immunity, they would receive beheadings instead of being burned alive. Does that sound like a good deal to you..? I think they got the short end of the stick, personally.
But, they did agree, and so we have “Thieve’s Oil”! This amazing, synergistic blend of essential oils is antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-infectious. It stimulates the respiratory system, circulatory system, and immune system, as well as protects against pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, bronchitis, colds, and the flu (oh yea, and the Black Plague, too). Thieve’s oil is also effective enough to kill airborne bacteria as well, making it a great choice for use in diffusers.
So how were the thieves using this amazing blend? Basically, they were rubbing it over their skin, and wearing airmasks laced with the stuff. Now, we may not need to go that far, but I’ve found a very effective way of using Thieve’s oil is by mixing some into jojoba oil, then rubbing it on the bottom of my feet whenever I feel “off”, or if someone I was around was sick themselves. Within just a few minutes, it will have crossed the skin barrier and travelled through the bloodstream up to your salivary glands, doing it’s job all the way through.
After you’ve done that, inhale it for a few good deep breaths (I LOVE the scent!), and let it get into your lungs as well. You can also add some to your bath water, or if you are congested, drop some onto a washcloth, then turn the hot shower on. The steam, combined with the Thieve’s Oil vapors will help kill the crud that ails you.
Another great use is as a surface cleaner. And by surface, I mean countertops, furniture, and hands. It also doubles as a deodorizer! I was not exaggerating. This blend does no wrong!
Now, where you do get this amazing stuff??? I’ve got good news! It’s incredibly easy to MAKE! Now, remember when we talked about purchasing essential oils? Go organic, and go therapeutic grade. It won’t be the cheapest method, but if you are going to do this, you’ve got to do it right. Otherwise, you could be sending concentrated pollutants into your bloodstream, and that would do much more harm than good.

Now to the recipe! (www.mountainroseherbs.com)
You can change it around a bit, to your liking, but the general ratio is as follows:
40 Drops Clove Oil (Syzgium Aromaticum)
35 Drops Lemon Oil (Citrus Limon)
20 Drops Cinnamon Bark Oil (Cinnamomum Verum)
15 Drops Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus Radiata) – not to be confused with the more common Eucalyptus Globulus
10 Drops Rosemary Oil (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
Once creating your own Thieve’s Oil blend, keep it in a glass amber bottle, away from heat and sun. Don’t mix it with any other oil until you plan to use it, as that will cause it to go rancid within a couple months.

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this essential oil blend! Get cracking, and let me know how you like it!!

Written on July 7th, 2012 , Informative, Recipes

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