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  • Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    There's nothing better than getting presents in the mail!

    Am I right?!

    And if you're as enthusiastic about raw honey, beautiful loose leaf teas, hemp hearts, and turmeric as I am (and that's pretty darn enthusiastic, let me tell you), then you're going to love today's feature! 

    Last month, my friend and fellow culinary nutrition expert Julie Tadeson, wrote to let me know her incredible company, Jule's Wellness, had officially begun shipping to the United States!

    Cue happy dance!

    What it comes down to is this: If you love sampling and collecting carefully curated health + wellness goodness (food, skincare, supplements, and more), you will definitely want to check them out. (And their monthly subscription box is only $34.32!)

    Happily, I got to sample the April Anti-Inflammatory box (thanks, Julie!), and I thought you might like a little peek at what was inside. 

    If you read my blog, then I have a feeling you'll appreciate each of these items just as much as I do!

    Food is powerful, and we can harness that power for good: Overall wellness, immune support, and more! That's what this box is all about. So let's dig right in, shall we?

     

    1 - APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

    And they weren't messing around! They sent me a whole bottle of the good stuff: Certified Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It's my favorite brand, and this bottle even comes with "the mother", a strand-like sediment that contains raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria! ACV (as it's affectionately known) is majorly anti-inflammatory, supports a healthy immune system, supports healthy weight management, and maintains healthy looking skin! Try it in this addictive Garlicky Kale recipe!


    2 - TURMERIC

    I like to think of turmeric as "the king of spices". It packs a serious anti-inflammatory punch, as it's rich in curcumin and other phytonutrients! This beautiful little package appears to have been sealed with a personal touch, and it's from Fairtrade certified Cha's Organics! I use it in lots of things, but probably most often in my favorite immune-boosting Turmeric Powerhouse Tea.


    3 - RAW HONEY

    I admit it: I have a little bit of a raw honey obsession. The new and most impressive honey section at our local MOM's Organic Market makes me swoon. I was so excited to find a jar of Dutchman's Gold Raw Honey in the box! Because it's raw and unfiltered, we get the extra benefits of the tiny bits of beeswax and bee pollen. I use raw honey in a lot of my sweeter recipes. Try it in my Get-Happy Ginger Cookies or Blackberry-Pear Chia Jam!

    4 - OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

    It's been mainly just in last two years that I've dug into and discovered the value of high quality omega-3 fatty acids. The average American gets about a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, while a healthy ratio is more likely around 2:1! Fish oil is one option, and it's a good one for those who consume seafood! But for those who are strictly plant-based, there are other great options to consider, like chia, spirulina, walnuts, and flax. Beyond promoting strong bones and teeth, fish oil offers many other health benefits. Check out this awesome article for more on its many benefits! My April subscription box came with a brand called NutraSea+D, which appears to be eco-friendly and to have been sourced sustainably! 

    5 - CINNAMON + CAYENNE

    But more specifically, loose leaf tea that's got the anti-inflammatory giants of turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne in it! I am loving this gorgeous blend from Lemon Lily

    6 - HEMP HEARTS

    Hemp hearts are a constant in our home, and Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand! Impressively, hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas (plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber) in every 30 gram serving. They're also super versatile. We use them in smoothies, dressings, dips, salads, and so much more. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere, guys! Try them in this Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    BONUS:

    There was also a bonus item, which I devoured immediately. These Martin's Crispy Apply Chips hit the spot!

    Interested in learning more about snagging your own Jule's Wellness monthly subscription box? I loved this one, and I hope to try many more in the future!

    Keep that real food love alive, my friends!

    And if you need a little extra love + support along the way, reach out! 

  • Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    This one's for when you're under the weather and need a little BOOST. 

    I'm sharing my favorite Turmeric Powerhouse Tea, originally inspired by this gem.

    The base of it is suuuper simple to make ahead of time - and makes it easy to quickly whip up multiple cups of this goodness, when you otherwise don't feel like doing much of anything. (Like me, today.)

    Ingredients
    Raw honey, organic and local is best
    Turmeric, ground
    Black pepper
    Raw apple cider vinegar, aka "ACV" (I love Bragg's.)
    Freshly squeezed lemon juice
    H2O

    How-To

    • Prep a BASE: Equal parts honey and turmeric, with a generous addition of freshly ground black pepper (crucial, if you want to take advantage - and you do! - of all the benefits turmeric offers). You can save this base in a mason jar, taking a bit here and there when you make the tea.

    • For 1 mug of tea: To the mug, add a spoonful of the base honey-turmeric-pepper mix. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon). Top with warm-to-hot water, stir to combine, and sip away!

    Feel better soon, love! 

    XO

  • Butternut Kale Salad

    Butternut Kale Salad

    I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend. Something's hit me - and it's hanging on tight.

    The good news: I've got everything I need to tackle this thing, and I'm loading up! Garlic and raw honey. Ginger + echinacea tea. My turmeric powerhouse concoction. Miso soup. My oils. And rest!

    The bad news? I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend.
    Wallowing a bit, if I'm being honest.

    I can't smell.
    And I can only partially breathe (through my mouth).

    And I figure maybe if I do basically nothing, my body will have the energy to heal and recover faster.

    But it's getting boring.
    And a little frustrating.
    And: You'd think my aim would've improved by now. But, sadly, you'd be wrong.
    I guess I'm mainly just sort of throwing things in "that general direction" at this point.

    Eddie's away at his annual Alumni Soccer Game (they won!) day-long extravaganza, and our housemates are out, so it's just me here. And as much as I'd love for someone (Mom?) to come take care of me, it's just not gonna happen. 

    I decided it was time for a change of pace.
    (1) I was craving kale (need those healing greens!), and
    (2) it looked gorgeous out. (Figures.)
    Sunshine and fresh air and...kale. All good things.
    And it was up to me to make it happen.

    So I did. 
    I got dressed.
    I tied my hair up in a knot on top of my head.
    And I savored the walk (in the sunshine and the fresh air) to the market.
    It was lovely!

    And then I came home - to make a kale salad.
    I was hoping someone would bring me this one or make me this one.
    But since I never actually communicated that to anyone...
    And since it's just me here...
    I decided to throw something else together.
    And here's what I got:

    It's a winner! So I'm sharing it with you:

    BUTTERNUT KALE SALAD
    Serves 2

    Ingredients 
    4 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
    1 apple, diced small
    1 small-ish butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced small
    1 tablespoon olive oil + a drizzle for the diced squash
    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I like Grade B.)
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    How-To

    • Toss diced squash in a light drizzle of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and bake at 350F for about 25 mins, until just soft.
    • While the squash bakes, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: Olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
    • In a large bowl, combine kale, apple, baked squash, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and dressing. Toss well to combine.

    Grab a fork and enjoy!

  • Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    It's that time again. 
    But don't worry, I've got you covered!

    I feel your pain. A few years ago, I too was struggling to build and support a healthy immune and respiratory system, to combat irritating (to say the least) seasonal and environmental threats.

    After quite a bit of time experimenting with various options that made me feel foggy, sleepy, and just generally like I wasn't myself, I was fortunate enough to learn that by changing my diet, I could change a lot of other things, too. Including my health issues.

    This blew my mind. And I knew, immediately, that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore.

    Since then, I've been on a mission to learn as much as I can about natural healthcare, and to share my experience and knowledge with others. Here, I'm sharing what I've learned about managing seasonal threats naturally.

    There is hope!
    And if you have something awesome to add, please, leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

    1 - EAT + DRINK CLEAN FOOD

    It always starts with food. That's been my experience, anyway. Transitioning to clean eating has been hugely beneficial to my overall wellness. Why? A massive portion of our immune systems is located in the gut. Clean up what you're putting in there, and you'll start to notice a shift in how you're feeling pretty quickly.

    What can you do right now? Begin to move in the direction of a whole food, plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegan. Or paleo. Or anthing in particular, really. But it does mean paying attention to where your food comes from and how it was grown/raised. Some of the most common triggers to avoid include processed/packaged "foods", overdosing on sugar, conventional dairy, and (for some) gluten.

    We are all different. This is the concept of bioindividuality. What makes your body feel amazing might do the complete opposite for someone else. If you think you could use some help sorting that out, consider hooking up with a health coach for a seasonal cleanse (elimination diet approach) or a few personalized sessions. Every body is unique.

    2 - SPOONFUL OF HONEY

    Wild, raw, and local, to be more specific. And just a quarter (tea)spoonful or so at first. Why? Those beautiful bees, as they're buzzing about doing their thing, pick up pollen from their environment. The result: By consuming a bit of wild, raw, local honey, a little at a time, you may help to desensitize your body to the pollen. You'll want to start with a smaller amount in the beginning and gradually work up to the full spoon.

    3 - ESSENTIAL OILS

    Until about a year ago, I had no idea how significantly these guys would change my life. When a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils, touting, specifically, their therapeutic properties, I was hesitant and skeptical at first. But I just kept hearing more and more good things about them. Eventually, wanting to really understand the why behind essential oils and their theraperic properties, I took a leap and ordered myself a kit.

    And I am so glad I did. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils are known for their ability to support clear breathing and a healthy inflammatory response when combined together. Used by both veteran and novice essential oil users, this well-known blend is frequently diffused or mixed together for its respiratory health benefits. A little goes a long way.

    4 - HERBS & SPICES

    In conjunction with eating clean, a couple of standout herbs and spices that are really worth mentioning here are turmeric and nettle. 

    Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with many beneficial properties. One of my favorite simple turmeric recipes is "Turmeric Tea", from 101 Cookbooks. Super simple, soothing, and delicious.

    Nettle is another great one, as it contains ingredients believed to support a healthy inflammatory response. Used regularly, many report significant improvement. And it's wonderful for lots of other things, too. Side benefits. My preference is nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals

    5 - OIL PULLING

    Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the science of life. I love it because it's an age-old, all natural option for improved overall oral health, clearing out toxins hiding in the mouth and sinus cavities, combatting seasonal threats, supporting a healthy respiratory system, and freshening breath.

    I also love how simple it is. All you need is oil! Coconut, sesame, and olive oils are great options. But stick with the cleanest, most natural version you can get your hands on. 

    How does it work? The fat cells in the oil pull out the bacteria and other harmful toxins from your saliva and around your teeth, tongue, and gums. It’s super easy, painless, safe, and affordable. See the simpe how-to right on over here.

    6 - BREAK OUT THE NETI POT

    The neti pot is another old standby when it comes to respiratory health. The concept is simple: Flush out the problem before your body's had time to mount a major attack. Most folks recommend using the neti pot morning and night to most effectively clear the invading substance(s). 

    Have you explored any of these natural options for combatting seasonal and environmental threats? Any others you swear by and would love to add? Please share, if you like. I love reading your recommendations!

  • Superfood Hot Chocolate

    Superfood Hot Chocolate

    It's another snowy morning here in Baltimore, but I'm warm already just thinking of how much I'm going to enjoy this totally awesome hot chocolate recipe I created a few weeks ago.

    MindBodyGreen is featuring the recipe on their website this week.

    It's all the good stuff. None of the bad!

    With warming spices like cinnamon, cacao, and just a pinch of cayenne, you'll be feeling cozy and energized in no time. Maca, coconut oil, and turmeric are few more of the powerhouse ingredients you'll find here. 

    Don't be put off by the turmeric! This one's a winner, my friends.

    When you're feeling like you need a little afternoon pick-me-up (power up!), this will do the trick. Works every time. 

    Whip one up this afternoon and let me know what you think!