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The 52 New Foods Challenge – Basil

basil in bowl 1000pxWhile working at the Campbell Farmer’s Market, basil was always a top seller for Tomatero. Tomatoes, strawberries, and basil always brought folks to the booth. In fact, one of my coworkers would often wave some basil through the air to release the scent to help lure them in like Yogi Bear. I love basil. I like making traditional caprese salads, basil pesto, and my awesome sister-in-law Amy, makes a watermelon caprese salad (watermelon subs nicely for tomatoes for those avoiding nightshades). Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests trying a nut free pesto – using sunflower seeds or adding fresh peaches and basil to ice cream! YUMMMY! What’s your favorite use for basil?

Food Facts:

  • Sweet basil is the variety that we typically eat, however Holy basil or tulsi is a variety that is coveted for its medicinal purposes and is native to India.
  • Excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C and maganese.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids.
  • Basil’s essential oils are antifungal and antimicrobial and have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • It is also an anti-inflammatory and can be used to support conditions where inflammation is a factor.
  • Basil should be stored with stems in a glass of water on the counter. Putting basil in the fridge turns it black.
  • There are more than 60 varieties of basil.
  • It belongs to the mint family.
  • Some of the major medicinal uses include: digestive support, a mild sedative, headache relief, kidney support, poor circulation, and intestinal spasms.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Featured

YL Essential Oils + After Sun Care

Hey Oily friends!

While on vacation in Cabo San Lucas a few months back, I got a bit too much sun. Uh-oh!

While my goals are always to get a healthy amount of safe sun exposure so that I can make vitamin D, I also try to avoid getting too much sun. I usually try to stay in shaded areas as much as possible and then apply sunscreen when I can’t avoid the sun. Everyone has a system that works for them, and this works for me. Well most of the time. [Insert guilty face here ;-).]

I researched oils to help with my sunburn and luckily enough I had brought some oil blends with me on vacation that would help with After Sun Care. In my daily moisturizer I had frankincense, lavender, geranium, and tea tree. And in my radiation blend were oils, that, Duh!, help with burns. (I rub this blend on my skin that has gone through radiation treatment and after all, radiation is essentially a sunburn to the deeper tissues.) My radiation blend has: melaleuca quinquenervia, melrose, German chamomile, lavender, and coconut oil (and it would have Roman chamomile if it was ever it stock!). I applied the lotion and the radiation blend to the sunburned areas and within a day, I was back on track. The skin wasn’t red or irritated and it healed really well. And an obvious bonus here: there wasn’t any “junk” in my after sun care!

Fast forward to present day. This past weekend, while training for my Avon 39 Mile walk, I thought I put on enough sunscreen, but there was one part of my shoulder that still got sunburned. Since I am home and have access to all my oils, I didn’t have to improvise. I made an After Sun Care Rollerball and my sunburn is loving it!

I added about 10 drops of lavender, tea tree, and helichrysum and then about 7-8 drops of peppermint and frankincense. I filled the rest of the rollerball up with coconut oil.

I have been applying the blend at least twice per day. The sunburn is fading and the skin is feeling much less irritated.

 

As always, be sure to test these oils before using them on a sunburn.

Have you used any oils for After Sun Care? What are your successes?

Happy SUMMER!

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Featured

YL Essential Oils + Body Wash

After deciding to add essential oils to my unscented body lotion [recipe located here], the next step to upping my skincare routine was reevaluating my body wash, hand soap, and shave cream (and dishsoap too!).

Again, part of the reason why I’m using essential oils is to limit the amount of toxins that I’m exposed to everyday by choosing more natural alternatives to support my health. There are things out of my control (like the air I breathe), but there are things within my control that I can improve (like the foods I eat and what I put on my body). Because your skin is your largest organ and because it absorbs what we put on it, I needed to change the products that I use in my skincare routine each and every day. Artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. In addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body wash, hand soap, and shave cream. Other “oily folks” prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Dr. Bronner’s seemed like a great place to start. I’ve seen this this very wordy bottle of soap in health food stores for years and just never tried it out. A friend finally convinced me. 🙂

Here are the main reasons I like it: 1) It’s been made in the good ol’ USA since 1948 by a family of soapmakers that has been making soap since 1858. 2) There are 9 ingredients and they are regular old ingredients (hemp oil, jojoba oil, water, etc.). 3) They use organic and fair trade ingredients (although not all of the ingredients are both organic and fair trade). 4) It’s economical. 5) It’s multi-use. They claim 18 uses; I’m currently using it for 4 things.

Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

  1. IMG_0240For a full bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, tea tree, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!
  2.  The options for fragrance combinations are endless. I choose oils that are good for skin and antimicrobial/antibacteria. Some other options would be lemon/citrus*, purification, thyme, thieves, melissa, and cinnamon bark.

* Citrus oils can begin to deteriorate plastics, so if using lemon or citrus oils, be sure that the soap is not being stored in a plastic container.

I would recommend testing oils and the soap first before using this all over.

Let me know if you try adding essential oils to your bodywash and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Featured

YL Essential Oils + Body Lotion

Hey Oily friends!

If you’re like me, one of the reasons why you decided to try Young Living essential oils was to reduce the toxins that you are exposed to in your everyday life. For me, that means reevaluating the products I use in my skincare routine each and every day. And artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. In addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body lotions. Others prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

  1. IMG_7656For a full bottle of lotion, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!

 

 

 

 

IMG_76552) Here’s a new recipe I’m trying: For a full bottle of lotion: 10-15 drops of lavender, geranium, and frankincense, and then 5-10 drops of peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary. Again, shake like crazy to mix! 🙂

 

 

 

I like this lotion because it’s fair trade, lightweight, and paraben free, but I’m sure you could add these oils to other lotions that work well for you. I would recommend only using oils that agree with you before you lather it on. 🙂

Let me know if you try an essential oil blend in your lotion and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Detoxing Armpits! Say what?!

I first switched to Tom’s of Maine deodorant when I was about 21 years old. It worked well for a few days and then I broke out in a crazy rash. I had avoid wearing deodorant or shaving for about a week. Boy, did I stink!! [I’m normally kind of a stinky person, or at least I was…]

Fast forward about ten years. I had given up the natural deodorant quest during my 20’s. But as we began eating healthier and being more mindful of the toxins under our control, I went back on my quest for a more natural deodorant. I tried basically every brand that Whole Foods sells, including Jason and Nourish. I also tried Primal Pit Paste. None of them worked for me and most of them gave me a rash. I finally settled on a few days of my Dove deodorant and then a few days of my natural deodorant.

Then a friend gave me a recipe for a homemade deodorant. It used essential oils, shea butter, and cocoa butter. It didn’t give me a rash like the others, but I didn’t like the way it smelled (ylang ylang, yuck!) nor did I feel “fresh”.

I kept using my rotational method, toxic deodorant for a few days, natural deodorant for a few days. Then came L-Day [lump discovery day]. On April 30th, 2014, I found a lump in my right breast. After I picked my crying self up off the bathroom floor and after calling my husband sobbing, I did two things. 1) I threw my conventional [aka toxic] deodorant in the trash and 2) I recycled any plastic food containers we had [we never heated food in the plastic containers, but I didn’t even want them near my salads anymore]. My reasoning behind this logic: if it’s not Cancer, this is a wake up call for you. You might get a second chance, don’t blow it. Well, it turned out that it was Cancer [more about that can be found here].

I resolved to use only “hippie” deodorant [as my husband calls it] from there on out. Stink or no stink.

About 10 months later, after I got my Young Living Essential Oil Starter Kit, one of the first things I decided to make was deodorant. I really liked the blend that I made and was quite happy with it. Until I went back to work. I went back to teaching after Cancer treatment [chemo, surgery, and radiation] and I noticed very quickly that I was really stinky. BY 10AM!!! I really hadn’t even done much by 10 am, but it didn’t matter. I stunk.

I remembered having seen a pin on Pinterest floating around about detoxing armpits. So I found the long since buried pin and decided to give it a try. I had nothing left to lose.

Often times, when switching from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant, people often complain that natural deodorants don’t work for them. That was me every time I tried to make the switch. Our sweat glands can get clogged with toxins, especially when using conventional deodorants with chemicals in them. When the sweat glands get blocked, the armpit is more odorous. Using a bentonite clay mixture can helProcessed with VSCOcam with m3 presetp to clear the glands of the blockages and can prevent your armpits from stinking. Here is a link to the bentonite clay. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing, 1 Pound. Here is the Pin from Wellness Mama.

Detox Recipe

1 T Bentonite Clay

1 T Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 32 Ounce – 1 Pack

water, as needed for consistency

Mix all three ingredients together in a glass bowl with a non-metal spoon. It should be the consistency of a smooth paste. Apply to armpits and leave on for 5-20 minutes. Wash off with warm water and a washcloth.

This is a bit messy, FYI. I did this for 5 days in a row before bed. I would mix it up, apply to my armpits, put a towel on the couch, and watch TV while it dried. It did not irritate my skin, but I would suggest doing a test run on a small area of the skin first.

Deodorant Recipe

10 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil

10 drops Young Living Purification essential oil

10 drops Young Living Tea Tree essential oil

10 drops Young Living RC essential oil

5 drops Young Living Joy essential oil

5 drops Young Living Eucalyptus essential oil

Add all essential oils to a roller ball and fill with fractionated coconut oil (or your favorite carrier oil). Enjoy!

Hugs and Health <3,

Katie

Ten Food Swaps

As I read more, listen to my lectures, and talk to friends and clients, I have come to the belief that there are about 10 recommendations that I often suggest to people. These same 10 suggestions apply for most people and for most health concerns. If you were trying to make healthier choices in your diet, this is a basic list that can be your jumping off point. Here are my recommendations for 10 things to add to or replace in your diet. But not until Friday. 😉 After all, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and life is for living and enjoying. You have to live your life and holiday foods most definitely qualify.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 9.19.33 PM

Eat This 🙂 Instead of That 😦
Grass-fed Butter

Butter is great to cook with because unlike most vegetable oils, it does not oxidize at low temperatures. It reduces inflammation and is rich in conjugated-linoleic acid and vitamins A, D & K2.

Margarine

Margarine is made of crop oils that are partially hydrogenated, turning them from liquid into a solid. This turns the fats into trans fats, substances that our bodies have trouble recognizing and processing.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, which are antiviral and antibacterial. These medium chain fatty acids are easily absorbed by the body and protect against heart disease and promote weight loss. It is a great high heat cooking oil, as it doesn’t oxidize at low temperatures.

All other Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils oxidize at lower temperatures, meaning they become damaged and inflammatory when used in cooking. They are also highly processed using high heat, so they are likely damaged even before used in cooking. When exposed to light (through the clear bottles the are packaged in) further oxidation occurs.

Honey, Maple Syrup, Date Sugar, or Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a low-glycemic sweetener. Both coconut sugar and date sugar are not as heavily processed as other sugars. Raw honey and maple syrup are not processed either. These all make great sugar alternatives when used in moderation.

Sugar, Agave, Artificial Sweeteners

High blood sugar is a problem with many health concerns. Artificial sweeteners are linked to declines in kidney function, brain tumors, autoimmune conditions, and are potential neurotoxins. Agave, while a low-glycemic sweetener, is heavily processed, making it similar to high-fructose corn syrup.

Raw Nuts and Seeds

Seeds contain all the nutrients for that the plant needs to start life, making them nutrient dense. They are often rich in omega-3s, great sources of protein, fats, and vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds have a “season” like all other produce, and can go bad like all other produce, so they should be eaten raw.

Roasted Nuts and Seeds

Similarly to crop oils, nuts and seeds oxidize when exposed to high heats, therefore roasted nuts and seeds are likely to cause oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. Nuts and seeds are also often roasted to preserve them, but also to hide the rancidity of the nuts or seeds.

Sparkling Water

For a treat, sparkling water is a nice alternative to regular filtered water. Adding fruit, a squeeze of lime juice, or some grapefruit essential oil to the sparkling water can also help to break up the repetition.

Soda

Sugary drinks actually cause the taste buds to crave more sugar. To process sugars, vitamins and minerals must be taken from the tissues, therefore repeated exposure can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Sea Salt

The best salt choices are not white – either grey, pink, or other colors. These salts contain trace minerals that we need and can be hard to find.

Iodized Salt

Iodized salt often has added sugar and aluminum. It is also processed to remove all other trace minerals.

Spaghetti Squash, Zoodles, or Kelp Noodles

These are nutrient dense substitutions for pasta and are low in calories. Zoodles are zucchini that have been spiralized into spaghetti-like noodles.

Pasta

Pasta is a refined food that is rich in calories, but low in nutrients. While it may be tasty, it’s a modern convenience food that isn’t needed.

Tea

Herbals teas are a great alternative to coffee. Teas do not create the stress response that coffee does and are often filled with nutritional benefits.

Coffee

Coffee stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol and adrenaline, keeping the adrenals on overload. It also raises blood sugar and depletes vitamins and minerals.

Full-fat Dairy

Dairy is a good source of protein, healthy fats, calcium and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2.

Nonfat Dairy

When you remove the fat from dairy, you are left with a lot of dairy sugar, lactose. Nature would not package something “bad” with something good just for us to wait thousands of years for scientists to learn how to separate the fat out of dairy.

Pasture-raised Eggs

Eggs do contain cholesterol and fat, and the reality is that we need both. Both are in every cell of the human body. Cholesterol supports brain function, serotonin production, and it acts as an antioxidant. Your heart gets 60% of its energy from fat and you brain is mostly fat.

Egg Whites/ Egg Substitutes/ Non-Pasture-raised Eggs

Nature did not package something good for us with something bad for us just to wait thousands of years for humans to invent egg-beaters. You are what you eat, so if you’re eating poorly raised eggs, you are not getting the nutrients that you need.

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

 

References:

Axe, J. (2015). Step away from the diet coke. Retrieved from http://draxe.com/step-away-from-the-diet-coke/

Bauman, E. (2014) Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman Press.

Bowden, J. & Sinatra, S. (2012). The Great Cholesterol Myth. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Knoff, L (2014) Personal Communication.

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Wolfe, L. (2013). Eat the Yolks. Las Vegas, NV: Victory Belt Publishing.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Eleven Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

I originally wrote this as a handout for my Nutrition Classes. I wrote up a Condition and Nutrient Report for Anxiety Disorder Management and decided to focus on Sleep for my Educational Handout. Since SLEEP is elusive for many of us AND since almost any health concern can be helped with a better night’s sleep, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. What tips help you to get a good night’s sleep?

Here it is!

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is good for you. It is your body’s time to repair and regenerate. But not only is sleep good for you, but it can also help with managing Anxiety Disorders.

Eleven Steps to Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep:

  1. Humans thrive on routine and having a nighttime routine can help to get your body and your brain ready to power down for uninterrupted sleep (Ramos, 2015).
  2. Reserve your bed for sleeping and making love. Avoid watching TV or working in bed because the brain will associate those things with the bed and have trouble powering down (Scott, 2010).
  3. Sleep in a room that is as dark as a cave by getting rid of lights from alarm clocks and other devices. In order to produce enough melatonin (and therefore serotonin), your body needs it to be dark. If you can’t get your bedroom pitch black, try an eye mask (Scott, 2010).
  4. Shower or take an Epsom salt bath before bed because it raises your body temperature. After, there is a slight drop in body temperature that signals your brain that it’s time for sleep (Breus, 2006). The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is also relaxing.
  5. Noise can make falling asleep challenging. Being awoken in the middle of the night also makes it challenging to fall back to sleep. Try earplugs, a noise machine, SleepPhones with music or meditation music to help fall asleep or to fall back asleep when woken up in the middle of the night (Scott, 2010).
  6. Meditate for at least five or more minutes before bed to create a relaxed state of mind (Bauman, 2015).
  7. Keep your bedroom cool (Scott, 2010).
  8. Avoid technology (especially tablets and smart phones) for about an hour before bed. The lights emitted really disturb sleep patterns (Breus, 2006).
  9. Keep a consistent bedtime, preferably around 10pm (Scott, 2010).
  10. Try diffusing essential oils for relaxation. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Valerian can support relaxation and sleep (Higley, C. & Higley, A., 2013).
  11. Count backwards by threes (400, 397, 394, etc.). Dr. Breus (2006) suggests that this is challenging enough to keep your interest but boring enough to put you to sleep. I have also tried an “appreciation body scan” where I start at my feet and legs, thanking them for their hard work for the day and work my way up. I almost always fall asleep before I get to thanking my head.

Things to Avoid:

  1. Caffeine is a common sleep disruptor. Depending on the person, even caffeine consumed early in the day can disrupt sleep. It is stimulating to the body by raising cortisol and adrenaline levels and it depletes serotonin and melatonin (Scott, 2010).
  2. Alcohol often causes people to have disrupted sleep. It is best to minimize alcohol intake to improve sleep (Bauman, 2015).

Supplements to Try:

  1. Try drinking Calm – a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is a natural relaxer and is stress reducing (Bauman, 2015).
  2. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, which supports sleep (Breus, 2006).
  3. Melatonin is the precursor to serotonin, so supplementing with melatonin can help support a restful night’s sleep and less anxiety (Bauman, 2015).
  4. Vitamin B6 supplement can help to improve the quality of your sleep (Scott, 2010).

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

References:

Bauman, E. (6/20/15-9/30/15). Personal Communication

Breus, M. (2006). Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.

Higley, C. & Higley, A. (2013). Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health.

Jacobs, A. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Scott, T. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Ramos, M. (2015, September). Sex Food Therapy retrieved from: http://www.sexyfoodtherapy.com/

Bye Bye Dryer Sheets!

Bye bye dryer sheets! Hello organic wool dryer balls and lavender oil. (Actually, I said good-bye to dryer sheets long ago, but I had been using Trader Joe’s lavender dryer bags and the hard plastic dryer balls.) While that was ok, I the dryer balls eventually start to fall apart, so I had to throw them away. And the lavender dryer bags was still creating some waste also. I like this newest option the best because the clothes smell great and very little waste is produced. And not much static either! Have you gone dryer sheet free?

Organic Dryer Balls and YL Lavender Oil
Organic Dryer Balls and YL Lavender Oil

#oilylife #cleanlivingwithkatie #younglivingessentialoils