Reflections on Health

2018 #day58 ~ as good a time as any to share my recent Reflections on my health journey.

Health isn’t promised to us so why do I take it for granted?

Why do I choose what brings Ill-health and disease?

Yes I “can” eat whatever I want. But why do I want to? It’s not like I can say I don’t know better.

Every day I wake up with choices to be made. Every day I move in the direction of greater health and wellness or I decline, no standing still.

Food is fuel and the type of fuel I put in the tank is up to me, no one else.

NOTHING tastes as great as health FEELS, this I have learned personally. It’s not a sacrifice to say no to sugar laden foods, it’s not even about being deprived. So what if you ARE deprived? Would you rather be sick ? ? ? and satisfied with eating all you crave or Healthy and deprived of sugar, dairy, toxins, chemicals?

Its not about the challenges experienced trying to eat out, it’s not about explaining to friends who don’t understand, its not about dealing with cravings, it’s not about having to wait 10 hours for flax crackers to be ready, it’s not about taking snacks with you everywhere you go, it’s not about going cross-eyed reading labels, it’s not about disliking to exercise….

The plain and simple truth is, its saying YES! to health, mental clarity, rejuvenating sleep, vitality, joy, laughter, being ALIVE, full of passion and living a vibrant life. If that matters enough to you, then you’ll do WHATEVER it takes, without question.

I am choosing to celebrate saying yes to my health, with every choice I make, with every bite of food I put in my mouth, with every way I move my body, with how I show myself love and grace. I will focus on what I’m doing right, not the challenges or difficulties; they are only there because I let them be, because I focus on them.

Curry Sweet Potato Pasta

Sharing this most amazing sweet potato pasta recipe, courtesy of Cara Brotman here. This is a go to recipe when you need a change up from fresh green leafy salads and are craving something rich, savory, super filling that is packed full of flavor. It is one of my raw favorites!

Recipe:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped raw nuts (almonds & hazelnuts are great)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (spring onions work well too!)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mint

Curry Almond Sauce

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 6 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce / Liquid Aminos / Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, or to taste

Start with the Curry Almond Sauce, adding all of ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients, sweet potatoes – mint, stir well and Enjoy!

*due to the coconut oil, if not eaten right away the sauce will harden in the fridge. Just take it out and let it sit on the counter a bit to warm up before eating. I like to make it the same day and leave it out on the counter until dinner to allow the flavors to marinate and so the noodles are able to be twirled on my fork, like spaghetti. lol

Kerwin used the angel hair blade on the spiralizer to make the pasta in the photo and it turned out fabulous! More noodle for the sauce to cling to. ??

I haven’t tried this with the pomegranate seeds yet but I’m sure it’s wonderful!

Raw Unroasted Almonds

Top Secret Reveal!

Here is my tried and perfected recipe for making The Best Unroasted Almonds. It’s all in the details.

~Start with RAW Almonds ?

~Soak them overnight in fresh water. The nuts will absorb a lot of water and expand so put plenty of extra to keep the nuts covered.

~Drain and rinse them in the morning. *If you are pressed for time, just put new fresh water covering the nuts, place them in the fridge and you can get to them later. With daily rinsing and fresh water the nuts will keep in the fridge for 5 days so you can always have a batch soaked and ready to go for various recipes.

~Place rinsed nuts on a dehydrator tray, spread out so they are in a single layer. Dehydrate for 1 hour at 105°.

~Dump dried nuts into a big bowl

~Drizzle Olive Oil (cold pressed) and mix. You only want to “lightly” coat the nuts so the seasonings will stick, too much oil and they’ll never get the ‘pop’ or light crunch you’re looking for. So start slow, mix, and add more oil as needed.

~Add Seasonings. Below is my all time favorite mix but this is customizable to your taste buds of course.

Pink Salt – FINE Ground

Garlic Powder

Chipotle Powder

Cayenne

First 3 are pretty equal amounts, the cayenne I use about 1/4 the amount, just to give a tiny kick. Don’t worry about the quantity of salt, Himalayan Pink Salt is good for you. ?? The nuts honestly won’t taste the same without enough salt, it brings out the flavor of the other spices and once you bite in the flavors all blend with the nuts to create a mouth watering savor burst of flavor.

*One thing to note is Be Generous! Put on way more seasonings than you think you’ll need. Taste the nuts and keep adding until the balance is there and it’s bit too strong. Some will fall off as it’s dehydrating and the flavors will soften. Bland nuts are just no fun, trust me. Also, you want to taste the spices, not the oil. Add more spices if you taste mostly oil. Or add more nuts to thin out the amount of oil.

~Put back on the dehydrator trays and “roast” at 110° until the cows come home. Seriously, just leave it going for 2-3 days, periodically testing them. When you like the pop and crunch pull them out, let them cool and store them in the pantry. They won’t last long enough to get old LOL. Way to yummy.

*I like glass canning jars to store them. Ziplock bags makes the nuts not look as appealing and I swear they don’t hold the crunch the same way. ?‍♀️ They are good though to use for carrying nuts with you for on the go snacking.

I was excited to find them on sale at Sprouts this week in the bulk section. So I made a big batch! Not sure if I’m going to show them to Kerwin or not. Haha ?

After many soggy, chewy, bland batches of nuts I am excited to have found a recipe that WORKS!! I want you to skip past my failures ? so feel free to ask questions! I hope you give these nuts a go and share how they turn out for you!

Mostly Raw Carrot Cake Muffins

Muffin Base

  • 1 cup walnuts (not soaked)
  • 1 cup Medjool dates
  • 2 cups grated carrots, squeezed tightly through a nut milk bag to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp pink salt (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Icing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked 1+ hours
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (you could use agave instead or probably honey too)
  • Few shakes of pink salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Water (reserve)

Instructions

Base

  • Blend the dates and walnuts in a food processor till they are crumbly, but holding together.
  • Add carrots and spices. (I pulsed the carrorts innmy food processor to save manually grating baby carrots. Lol) Process till the mix has taken the form of a smooth “dough.” It will take a minute or two.
  • Add raisins and pulse or stir in to combine.

Icing

  • Drain and rinse cashews, put in a food processor with maple syrup, salt and lemon. Process until the mixture is well combined. With the motor running, add just enough water as the motor is running to get the consistency you want. Keep checking. Tasting helps too. ?
  • Push the carrot cake dough into six muffin tins or ramekins, gently drop a heaping Tablespoon of icing to each and put in freezer for about two hours so they’ll set enough to be removed from the muffin tin while holding their shape.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • These can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

Tip – if you stretch the base to make 7 muffins you can set one aside to be sure of having a “leftover” while still having an even number to put out for guests. ?

This is me doing that very thing and having a muffin for breakfast the next day. Lol. It filled me up for hours!

Ice Cold Wet Sock Treatment

Want to say goodbye to a migraine? Or perhaps you have a cold or flu? Does healing without drugs, shots or vaccines that destroy your immune system sound good to you? If so, read on!

And nope, this solution doesn’t require any gross concoctions, juices or hot toddies either. lol. Although those can be supportive too. 😉

This treatment however, does tap into nature’s powerhouse to rally your own body defenses to work FOR you to combat the sickness or eliminate the migraine.

It’s FREE too.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pair of very thin cotton type socks
  • 1 pair of thick wool socks
  • 1 bowl of ice water

Seriously. This has been tried and tested by yours truly.

How does it work? It stimulates your immune system, helps you to sleep, and makes the migraine go away! As crazy as it sounds what have you got to lose by giving it a go? You don’t have to tell anyone else what you did. LOL

It works because your body now has a new job, to heat you up, so it shifts focus (forgetting about your migraine) and increases blood circulation, which also stimulates the immune system. Viruses stand no chance against an immune system that is ready to go!

By increasing the circulation it also decreases congestion. Congestion, runny nose and sneezing are the top reasons cold sufferers hit the medicine cabinet for those over the counter drugs that numb you up, right? You can’t breathe and that’s a mite important. Challenge with those over the counter drugs is they numb you up and block your body from doing it’s job to heal you. Runny noses and sneezing are beautiful things! They get the junk OUT of your system.

Another bonus is the amazing sedating effect, you’ll find yourself dosing off 20 or 30 minutes after putting the wet socks on. Hallelujah! Perhaps because the pain is going away, you can breathe better, the fever is working itself out, or because your body is busy working and knows you heal better when resources don’t have to be spent keeping you up and about…either way, sleep is a wonderful thing.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Soak the pair of thin socks in the bowl of ice water.
  • Soak your feet in a hot bath for 10 minutes. This is very important for treatment to work, the hotter your feet and the colder the ice water, the better. *If you’ve already been cozy in bed and your feet are very warm, no need to soak.
  • Wring out the soaking socks so they do not drip.
  • Place ice-cold wet socks on feet.
  • Cover with thick wool socks.
  • Go directly to bed, snuggle up and try to relax. Do not pass Go! and do not collect $200.

You’ll fall asleep in 20 minutes or so and wake up headache free. Or be well on your way to relieving your ailment.

*If you have a cold or flu wear the socks overnight. During the night, you may wake up with your whole body wet from sweat. Fever is a great thing! It’s how your body fights off invaders. Simply change into dry PJ’s, leaving the socks on. The wet socks will be dry in the morning.

Repeat daily for colds and flu as needed. Start using at the first symptom to get a jump start and lesson the overall severity of your ailment.

I keep a few pairs of socks always on hand for whenever they might be needed.

Random side note: If you have dogs, I recommend keeping old socks on hand for them too as they are the best for wrapping injured paws and preventing licking. 😊 They have been a lifesaver for me.

I don’t wish a migraine on you by any means, but…I hope you’ll keep socks in mind the next time!

Reishi – The Queen of Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms, like Reishi, are adaptogens and celebrated for their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Reishi has long been revered as a magical elixir in Chinese medicine, reserved for royalty.
The healing benefits of Reishi are so off the charts it’s worth teaching yourself to LOVE it and finding creative ways to use it in delicious meals, teas and infusions. Even if you’re not a fan of the taste or texture or mushrooms (I’ve hated mushrooms my whole life till I learned how beneficial they are and discovered unique ways to prepare them.) Many of the medicinal mushroom are more commonly found in an extracted intense powder form that can be used in numerous ways and taste quite unlike the mushrooms you find on a standard pizza. ?

So what exactly are Adaptogens?

It’s a naturally occurring nontoxic substance that protects the body from stress by stabilizing and optimizing it’s physiological functions. Which means they protect you from disease, boost your immunity and promote overall health and wellness. Other adaoptogens are ginseng root, holy basil, cordyceps. The really brilliantly amazing function of an adaptogen is that it helps in a non-specific way, so it “adapts” to what YOUR body needs. How cool is that??

Here’s a recap of some of the benefits you can experience with consistent usage, again though, depending on what help your body is in need of. If your blood sugar is already stable, or you don’t have allergies….

Summary of Reishi Benefits:
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Seasonal allergy relief
  • Anti-Aging, both Internally AND Externally (it’s also called the “mushroom of immortality” for a reason ?)
  • Helps prevents tumor growth and cancer
  • Improves liver function and detoxification
  • Stabilizes Blood Sugar
  • Supports cardiovascular system for heart health and lowering blood pressure
  • Balances Hormones naturally. Supporting and balancing the endocrine system ensures your body is able to repair itself at night, leading to an increase in quality and duration of sleep and peak functioning during the day.
  • Boosts immune function to protect against pathogens – like bacteria, viruses and parasites.
  • Improves cognitive functioning

Consuming medicinal mushrooms should be a part of your daily health & wellness routine.

Here is my super yummy Hot Chocolate recipe using Reishi

For more information on Reishi, Chaga and a few of the other medicinal healing mushrooms, including recipes, check out this book:

When looking to purchase the most effective and beneficial Reishi powdered extract here are a couple things to note:

  • The label needs to state 1. “fruiting body extract” (NOT mycelium) and 2. “dual-extracted”.
  • Look for brands that have been tested against pesticides, even if they are certified organic.
  • Extracts with at least 20% polysaccharide content to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of the active ingredients.
  • Powdered EXTRACT form is the most effective delivery system, as capsules (while still great) usually have fillers and lubricants added.

Here are the two I recommend:

Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary

 

 

 

 

And:

Raw Hot Chocolate

On the search for a perfect cup of “not coffee” I found this yummy ? concoction that is a delicious Hot Chocolate. It’s healthy, it’s raw, it’s creamy, frothy and super rich. Everything a real cup of hot chocolate should be without all the processed sugar and inflation/mucus generating dairy milk.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup cashew/almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp Reishi powder
  • 1 T Cacao powder
  • 1 tsp coconut butter or oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (adjust to taste. I use date sweetened milk so didn’t need much)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Blend it all together in the Vitamix on high for 5 minutes or so till it gets to 105° (used a Kitchen liquid thermometer ? to test). I also heated the cup in the microwave for a minute. Serve immediately. Makes 1 extra large cup. And if you want a more bitter/strong taste just up the amount of Reishi.

Lots of options to customize this drink. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

And if you have the go-to substitute for a cup of coffee, I’m all ears! I don’t even like the taste or acidity of coffee anymore, but its the habit I’m looking to replace. I do like tea, a fall harvest spicy or camomile are my favorites with a splash of honey (though honey doesn’t really splash does it LOL), but I want something with more kick and I don’t mean caffeine, a more intense, light, flavor. The habit of holding the warm cup in your hands, drinking while chatting with friends, while traveling in airports between connections, sipping while walking the streets playing tourist…that’s what I want.

Hot Chocolate is for cozy nights at home watching a movie, sitting in front of a backyard fire, a lazy morning….aaahhhhh yes. ? What’s your favorite time/place to drink hot cocoa?

Simple Sweet Potato Salad

This salad is so simple to make, tastes light, refreshing and oh so tasty! The sweet potato noodles hold up well to being marinated in the dressing, actually tastes better after a bit, no wilting mush here.


Written Recipe????

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes – Medium, spiralized
  • 1/3 cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, Medium, rough chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp Cumin
  • 3 large garlic cloves (I used pickled cloves. Garlic Powder can also be used if you prefer)
  • A few dashes of Cayenne Pepper
  • A few dashes of Turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 cups Spinach, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cups Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Nutritional Yeast- sprinkled on top of each bowl as you serve. Yummy cheesy flavor.

Mix together greens and noodles in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix up the dressing ingredients Olive Oil – Salt & Pepper. Then pour over the noodles, stir and let marinate for 10 minutes before serving. An hour or two or three makes it even tastier. ☺️

If not adding the greens, the Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar can be reduced to 1/4 cup each.

This is a great base so get creative! Add other spiralized other root veggies like beets or daikon to add some contrast with the sweet potato ?. Chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds would be great toppers too!

I’d love to hear how you enjoy this salad and what changes you make! ?

Raw Oatmeal

Want more than the standard Oatmeal?


This yummy breakfast had:

•Oat groats, Raw – soaked overnight in dehydrator to keep the water warm.

•Almonds, Raw – soaked overnight on the counter, skins mostly come off the wet nuts on their own while being chopped for a nice smooth texture.

•Hemp seeds

•Cinnamon

•Cashew milk, Raw

•Bowl of fruit

Wild Maine blueberries

Half a banana

Raisins

*i put the fruit bowl in the dehydrator for a few minutes while making the cashew milk and it thawed the blueberries just perfectly.

•Pecan Streusel (optional) – pecans, coconut sugar, coconut oil – blended together. Streusel was leftover from my Apple pie.

This dense bowl of nutrients was easily enough for 2!

If you don’t have a dehydrator, putting the the oat groats in warm water to soak overnight works too.

If Raw Oats are too much for you right now, no worries, you’ll still get loads of benefits from cooking your oats, plus all the added “extras”. Oat Groats are less processed but need a longer cooking time; Rolled Oats are another option.

While you can get cashew milk at the store, fresh is sooo much tastier and doesn’t have preservatives, carrageenan, fillers and sugar. Plus, the % of nuts you’re getting isn’t listed on the label but I assure you it’s WAY less than homemade, closer to 6% according to an article I read. Homemade is 25% and so easy to make!

Night of the Super Moon

Here is what the breakfast I made looked like “before” I decided to made a moment of it and enjoy some Self Care Sunday time.

Doesn’t the “after” look much nicer? It was fun to make it a little fancy and only took 2 extra minutes, maybe 3 while I hunted for where I left the tray. Lol

I enjoyed every sip and bite while watching the latest episode of a TV series I’m watching – Designated Survivor. ?

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Later, while out for lunch with a friend, I had a Caesar Salad with a boost powder in my water. It was a lovely afternoon! Side note…writing off your fun is the icing on the cake! It is now my goal to have more lunch dates in the future with other wonderful women.

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I was heading out to walk Ian, just as Kerwin came home from work. I was in a hurry to beat the quickly approaching dark as the sun had just set. A daily dog walk is part of my 3 for 30 Challenge this month and I couldn’t miss it!

Kerwin tells me its a Super Moon tonight and the largest we’ll see for the next 16 years. We watched from the driveway and then a bit later headed out to The Strip as everything is more fun there. lol

No Bellagio Fountains, our favorite, as the wind was seriously GUSTING. It was a fun adventure being out, enjoying the night lights, the breeze and finally some cooler weather so I could put on my Red Wings jacket and my cherished ?scarf from Ushuaia, the World’s End. ?

Dinner was at Cheesecake Factory (no we didn’t eat any cheesecakes) where we were seated at a table in the ‘indoor’ patio, as in common in Las Vegas casinos. We had an entertaining view.

Our meal was a loaded veggie salad with pomegranate vinaigrette dressing that we shared. Not your standard salad, it had very interesting flavors- but yummy.

We’ll be back another time for the Lettuce Chicken Wraps Mexican style, without the chicken and add extra avocado. ?

Talk about an “after dinner walk”, we had a 2+ mile stroll to get back to where the truck was parked.

Note to tourists: distances appear closer than they are due the enormity of the landscape and the return walk is always longer. ?

No Digestive Enzymes with dinner. ?

No Detox Clay drink before bed…too tired??