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Simple ways to lead a healthy and nutritious life!


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Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Medicine – Part 2

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Cold and Flu Tonic

When feeling a little under the weather, reach for this soothing concoction to boost your immune system and fight that cold/flu with natural ingredients.  Your body will thank you!

2-3 organic lemons, sliced

6 green tea bags, use good quality tea

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

1 “thumb” ginger, peeled and sliced (about 1-2 inches)

5-6 cups filtered water

Raw, local honey, to taste

Instructions:

Pour water into large pot and bring to a boil (or you can also make this in the crockpot)

Add all ingredients except the apple cider vinegar and raw, local honey

Cover the pot (or put a lid on the crockpot) and let the mixture steep for 20-30 minutes

Wash and sterilize a large, wide mouth mason jar and pour the apple cider vinegar in

Add the lemon, tea, and ginger mixture into the mason jar with the ACV

At this point the mixture is ready to cool and store in the fridge (or let cool and drink a mug full right away)

The raw local honey can then be added after the mixture has cooled, as the hot liquid would destroy the beneficial enzymes present in the honey

When needed, take out of the fridge, gently warm, and add the honey

This mixture will last in the fridge for about a week.  Drink up and enjoy the relief!

 

 

 

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A recipe I have yet to make but am very interested in comes from this site: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cough-Drops/?ALLSTEPS

I have the exact tea sampler as the post suggests so today I will give it a go! Making your own herbal cough drops is a great way to know what you’re putting in your body, not to mention it looks fun!! Just a couple things I noticed from the steps:
-Don’t use regular white sugar or agave nectar. These are both processed to heck and I would not use them at all. I suggest using honey or unrefined, organic sugar cane.
– I also would not add any artificial flavors or colors at the end of the process. Not needed. I would stick to the tea and sugar only.

Have you had success making your own cough drops? This should be quite the experiment for me and I do not own a candy mold so I am off to the store to get one! Let me know how yours turn out! Happy and Healthy medicine making everyone! 🙂

**UPDATE 1/17/2014**
I made the above mentioned cough drops and was very impressed! I used Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Tea and some fresh ginger for the tea. Let that steep for 15 minutes and added the sugar. I didn’t have a candy thermometer so I decided to try it anyway, which was extremely bold I don’t recommend it, and let it boil until I thought that it was done. I used the cold water method and put a little in some cold water to see if it would harden right away and it seemed to hold together well so I took it off the heat and poured into my powdered sugar molds (never did get to the store to buy a candy mold so the sugar had to do for my first attempt). I let them cool and put into a jar. I immediately tried one, along with my 8 year old son, and we were pleasantly surprised! Not bad for my first attempt at candy making and cough drop making. I am looking forward to using different ingredients and also using a candy thermometer, which I know would have made the end result more lozenge-like. All in all, SUCCESS!
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Drink the Rainbow Smoothie

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I whipped this bad boy up in my Nutribullet and MAN was it delicious! I had to post the recipe right away.  I usually use whatever I have left  in my kitchen to make my morning smoothies.  Some are winners and some, not so much.  The flavors are perfect and the nutrition benefits of this smoothie are plentiful!

Kim’s Drink the Rainbow Smoothie:

  • 1 ripe banana (wait until it has the brown flecks..I’ll explain why in a minute)
  • handful organic red grapes
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • handful frozen (or fresh) pomegranate seeds
  • handful organic mixed berries (I used raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • handful of mixed greens (I had baby kale and spinach in my fridge)
  • a few slices organic lemon, with peel
  • 1 tsp. spirulina powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds (or hemp or flax)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup liquid of your choice (coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk)

Blend in whatever kitchen appliance you have and ENJOY!!

Now to get to the wonderful benefits of each ingredient!

Bananas, as most of know, are fantastic sources of potassium, providing about 11% of the Daily Value.  Potassium in the body resides mostly in the cells where it protects intracellular water and also balances with sodium maintaining normal fluid function.  Potassium is also important to both cardiac and skeletal muscles where it regulates a number of muscular and nerve activities.  Along with reducing blood pressure and maintaining electrolyte balance, bananas are a quick way to get a ton of nutrients.  Now to get to those little brown flecks that appear when the banana ripens: those are called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and they are cancer fighting compounds that you can read more about here:  http://ezinearticles.com/?Anti-Cancer-Wonder-Fruit—Bananas&id=2895405

Red grapes are cancer fighters.  They contain a phytonutrient called resveratrol, a polyphenol, which stimulate protective enzymes.  These phytochemicals are known for their anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being great for heart health.

Peaches are rich in potassium and iron.  Iron is essential for blood health and cell formation.  They also contain a number of antioxidants that deter free radicals from wrecking havoc in the body.  These antioxidants are lutein, which is beneficial for eyesight, and zeaxanthin, which also protects the eyes from damaging free radicals.

Pomegranate arils, or seeds, are considered a superfood.  They are an excellent source of vitamin C (providing about 17% DV), vitamin E, and various minerals.  They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber, that helps regulate our digestive tract and aid in weight management.  These seeds are beneficial to the heart, lowering blood pressure, as well as increasing blood flow to the heart.  They have also been found to combat prostate cancer.  You can read more about these awesome seeds here: http://www.naturalnews.com/042282_pomegranates_history_superfood.html

Berries contain a substance called ellagic acid, which is thought to combat cellular changes that lead to cancer.  It is a powerful antioxidant.  They are high in vitamin C, which is beneficial in preventing the oxidation of the eyes (cataracts).  Berries also contain a large amount of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to our stool, decreasing constipation.

Greens pack a powerful punch.  Whether it be kale, spinach, or dandelion greens, you can be sure you are getting a ton of nutrients! Iceberg lettuce doesn’t make the cut here, people.  In fact, dark leafy greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there.  They contain a bunch of minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium), lutein and zeaxanthin as described above, and also provide B vitamins.

Lemons are powerful detoxifiers.  They contain flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants.  These antioxidants combat inflammatory issues that damage cell membranes and also boost the immune system.  If the lemon is organic, then the peel can be eaten as well and also has nutritional benefits.  The peel contains calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

Spirulina powder is a blue-green microalgae that contains essential amino acids, linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin K, and chlorophyll.  Spirulina boasts a 60% protein content.  You can read more about this awesome algae here: http://spirulina4nutrition.com/

Overall, this smoothie brings a lot to the table when it comes to nutrition! I think it’s delicious and I hope you do too! 🙂

 


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Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Medicine

ImageI can still remember exactly how it was as a kid, on the couch with some sickness, sipping on some herbal tea that tasted like grass.  I now find myself as a mother, calling my mother asking what teas did she give me as a child.  Natural remedies and holistic healing has been a part of my family as long as I can remember.  I may not have understood as a child, wondering why they didn’t just give me some cough syrup.  As an adult, I am intrigued by the idea of making medicines, salves, tinctures, etc.  I still haven’t been able to re-create my grandmother’s Swedish Bitters recipe (although I am confident I’ll get it). 

As I began to learn about our bodies and their amazing abilities to fight infections and viruses, I realized that I didn’t need over the counter medicines that only masked the problem.  I also didn’t need the disgusting chemicals that are added to those products.  Here is a sample inactive ingredient list for Nyquil Cold and Flu from a government website:(http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=38575)

“acesulfame potassium, alcohol, citric acid, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, flavor, high fructose corn syrup, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium citrate”

Well, well, well.  Pretty gross, huh? And that’s in medicine! So this is why I have made my own medicine for the last couple years.  I have had great success with the few different recipes I have come across on Pinterest (LOVE that site!).  Before starting your own medicines, make sure you have glass jars that have been cleaned and sanitized.  The size of the jars will depend on the amount of medicine you plan on making.  Another important tool in natural medicine making is a fine mesh strainer, or I like to use cheesecloth that you can find in your local grocery store.  Alright…let’s make some medicine!

Elderberry Syrup (Recipe from A Blossoming Life)

  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup raw, local honey
  • 2/3 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

Fill a pot with water and add the dried elderberries.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 30 minutes.  Take off the heat and mash the elderberries well (a potato masher works well).  Strain out the liquid into a separate container using the cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.  Once strained and cooled, add the local honey to the elderberry liquid and mix well.  Then add the apple cider vinegar and stir.  Place in a jar and put into the fridge for up to 6 months.  Adults-1 tbsp/day Children-1 tsp/day

*Elderberries have a high antioxidant capacity that enhances immune function*

Homemade Gingerade (From Cottage Life on Pilgrim’s Farm)

  • 1 medium sized root of ginger, grated
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • raw local honey, to taste

Steep the grated ginger in 4 cups of hot water until the water cools.  Strain the ginger juice using cheesecloth.  Add the juice of 1 lime to the strained ginger liquid.  Sprinkle in lime zest (or you can steep with the ginger in step 1).  Add enough raw honey to taste.  Store mixture in the fridge. 

*Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a powerful antiviral agent *

The last of my favorite medicines is a simple one.  It’s an easy-peasy lemon and honey “marmalade”.  For this all you need is about 2-3 organic lemons, raw local honey, and a clean, sterilized jar.  Wash and slice the lemons thinly and put them into the jar.  Pour enough raw honey to cover the lemons.  Put on the jar and store in the fridge.  Ginger slices can also be added to the mixture, if desired.  When cold/flu symptoms hit, add a couple spoonful’s to a mug of warm/hot water and enjoy the relief!

 

 

 

 

 


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HEMP! It's not just for hippies :)

HEMP! It's not just for hippies :)

Hemp has so many uses! From textiles, to jewelry, to food, the hemp plant is a versatile one! The first time I used hemp seeds in my smoothies, I was hooked. This seed has so many nutrients I don’t know why everyone hasn’t heard of it or used it! One of the first things I tell my clients is to go out and get some shelled hemp seeds and experiment away. You can grind them into a powder and use it just as you would whey protein in your smoothies (only without the yucky processed additives). You can add them to your favorite granola recipe or sprinkle them on a salad. From protein to essential fatty acids, these hemp seeds are packed full of nutrients that are extremely beneficial to a healthy body. These seeds provide a one-stop shop for a plant-based protein option for vegetarians and vegans. Not to mention its a complete protein! Score! Click the picture above for a GREAT site on hemp seed nutrition 🙂

 


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Lentils, and Quinoa, and Beans OH MY!

I have never been a big meat eater.  Something about ground beef always gave me the willies. It looked gross and smelled horrid.  As I grew older, I began to search for ways to get the protein our bodies need without the usual animal sources.  Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a meat eater tired of the same old dishes, you can be sure that you are getting a ton of nutrients with your meal with these meatless options!

Most Americans are becoming hip to the nasty secrets of the meat industry (and dairy, for that matter!).  Chickens with arsenic?  Pink Slime?  Not to mention their feed is entirely genetically modified.  No, thanks.   The big meatless winner here is quinoa.  Quinoa contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and an excellent choice to add to your next dish.  One cup of cooked quinoa boasts 18 grams of protein!  This is my personal favorite recipe to use quinoa: 

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/04/crunchy-cashew-thai-quinoa-salad-with-ginger-peanut-dressing/#comment-5123

   Beans provide iron, protein, fiber, iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium.  There are so many different beans to try in different preparations and I am confident that you will enjoy each and every one of them!  My 6 year old daughter’s favorite bean dish is a black bean taco.  Beans with red onion and cilantro? Count us in!

http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2012/04/04/cornerstone-cooking-crunchy-black-bean-tacos/#more-33746

Lentils are my latest craze.  I sprouted some and I was the only one in my family that liked the taste of the sprouted lentils.  Like quinoa, lentils pretty much absorb the flavor of whatever you are cooking it in.  It is very versatile.  Lentils have the same nutritional awesomeness as beans and are a great choice for burgers, tacos, and pretty much anything  else you wanted to turn it into!  I made the tacos the other day and they were DELISH! The other lentil recipe I am posting is in my “gotta make this” file but they look so good! Give ’em all a try and let me know what you think!  Happy and healthy eating!

http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/04/lentil-tacos/

http://www.bethenny.com/2012/05/01/vegan-lentil-burgers/

 


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Meal Replacement Shakes?! Please. How about some REAL NUTRITION!

ImageAnyone that knows me knows full well that I do not advocate for any pre-made, pre-packaged health products.  Yes, I’m talking Herbalife, Advocare, South Beach, Special K, Slim Fast, etc.  I have had it out with numerous Herbalife coaches (or whatever they want to call themselves since they have no education on nutrition for the most part) that their products are not healthy and I would please ask them to stop giving health advice to people.  So, you’re telling me that you are going to sell your product to people and not know what’s wrong with the product? Then WHY are you selling it to people?! The American consumer is already far too confused on what they should and should not be eating as well as deciphering between the marketing hype and what are true facts.  I am sure this blog will receive the same auto-typed response to my hatred for Herbalife and companies like it.  “Do my research and I’ll change my mind” I have had this response VERBATIM from a few of their distributors.  Sounds to me like they’re trained to respond the same way to the naysayers.  I am truly getting off my point that we need to stop buying this crap.  If there are vitamins, minerals, and protein in their “amazing” shakes then make your own NATURAL shake with the same vitamins, minerals, and protein.  Save yourself the sucralose.  Yes SUCRALOSE! When I was approached years back to become a distributor I went to try out the shakes and learn more.  I looked on the label and stopped at the artificial sugar and asked about why it was in there if their products are SO healthy.  They shrugged it off with a kind of Ron Burgundy response – “it’s science”.  The bottom line here is NO I do not need to do more research or go back to school to know that I wont buy, sell, advocate to my clients to EVER buy these products.  Let’s start a REAL FOOD revolution, people! Ask your Wellness Coach if they have a degree in ANY nutrition/health field and I’m sure you will be surprised.  Keep your money, folks.  Try this all natural protein shake instead (found on Pinterest).  And throw that can of whatever you bought away!

 


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Find Your Support System and Keep Them Close

Since starting as a nutritionist, I have found something that seems to ring true for most people that come to me looking to make a change.  They are all dealing with a “non-supporter”.  When making a lifestyle change, a positive attitude and outlook is a must.  You must WANT to change and you must know that it will take some time.  This is where the “non-supporter” can become detrimental to the progress of the person wanting to change.  A tight-knit team of supporters behind you or right there with you is a key component to being successful.  Here are some tips to make sure you are supported 100% on your health journey:

  • Don’t be afraid to ditch the “Negative Nancy”.  If someone has a problem with your desire to better yourself or is constantly making rude comments about your healthy choices, then don’t feel bad about letting them go.  Maybe only for a while, maybe for longer, but someone that supports you won’t make you feel bad about your new decisions. 
  • Find new friends that share the same visions as you.  Surrounding yourself with positive influences and role models are a sure way to keep yourself motivated and positive about the changes.  Join a fitness class or look into community activities that go right along with your new lifestyle. 
  • Talk with the people who may not be so supportive and communicate to them how much it means to you.