Month: November 2010

Berry Good News

According to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, daily snacking on fresh blueberries may help to prevent hardening of the arteries aka the main cause of heart attacks and strokes! The effectiveness of these little blue guys is most likely due to their high antioxidant content, which reduces inflammation that harms the walls of the arteries.

So what are you waiting for? Starting today, add some blueberries to your morning oatmeal, have them as an afternoon snack, or as a healthy dessert – whatever works for you!

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Face First Into Fall

So I had this post (and title) in mind for the end of September, but time went so fast that here I am posting it with just three weeks left in the season! I figure if you’re a lover of fall like me, these products are great way to keep the season alive, not to mention keep your skin looking its best into the winter months.

Check out a few great products from Naturopathica and June Jacobs Spa Collection that will quickly have you looking radiant and thinking of this wonderful time of year!

PERFECT PUMPKIN PEELING ENZYME MASQUE™ ($78)

This paraben and preservative free mask seriously smells just like the pie. Pumpkin is naturally rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc – an excellent combination to rebuild the elasticity of the skin, as well as to heal it. This one also has a powerful anti-oxidant blend of white, red and green tea extracts combined with goji berry, pomegranate and grapeseed extracts to help neutralize free radicals and prevent visible signs of premature aging.

PUMPKIN PURIFYING ENZYME PEEL ($56)

Another excellent, pumpkin-centric option.  Using this peel is just like putting pumpkin puree on your face, but with a much better consistency and scent and of course, many more therapeutic ingredients.  The natural pumpkin enzymes clear and brighten the skin while ingredients like cinnamon bark and oregano go to work as natural antiseptics. It really works wonders for dull and/or congested skin. This peel has quickly become one of my favorites and Naturopathica is definitely one of my top 3 fav natural beauty companies as well.

CREAMY CRANBERRY CLEANSER ($44)

A hydrating creamy cleanser with a burst of cranberry in every drop. It’s excellent for normal to dry skin. Formulated with natural humectants of algae extract and jojoba seed oil, it retains the skin’s natural lipid barrier (key to optimal skin health). At the same time, it definitely does the job of removing any surface impurities. Skin is left feeling clean and nourished.

PEAR FIG POLISHING ENZYME PEEL ($52)

Another Naturopathica peel that seems so, so fresh and natural as if it was made moments before you opened the jar. This one in particular has a really unique fruity scent and is best for normal to dry skin. Pear and fig make for such a fun and effective combination. This peel refines skin without causing irritation. Definitely another A+ for Naturopathica.

Natural Beauty Buyer’s Guide

This list contains some of my favorite natural brands and items in a variety of categories. They are perfect natural choices for yourself or someone you really love (I say “really love” because these products are EXCELLENT) Happy shopping! :)

REN ~ Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream ($55)

A supremely rich and therapeutic night cream with one of my favorite natural ingredients – frankincense! Frankincense is anti-inflammatory and highly effective at healing scars. The scent has also become one of my favorites.  Back to REN – I love so many of their products and I’m making it a point to try them all!

By Nieves ~ Face Fix ($32)

This is my latest face scrub. It’s super earthy – ingredients include organic white willow, organic neem leaf powder, & organic rose petal powder just to name a few. The consistency is perfect for exfoliating skin effectively, which to me means that it’s not too rough, but it definitely feels like you’re accomplishing something! I love that it can also double as a mask – just add water, honey, or yogurt.

The Organic Pharmacy ~ Carrot Butter Cleanser ($50)

I adore the look of their website and packaging, not to mention the high quality of all of their amazing products. This cleanser is perfect for the winter with skin softening ingredients like jojoba oil and cocoa butter. It even takes off eye makeup! I’ve also tried their Flower Petal Deep Cleanser and Exfoliating Mask – it’s multi-functional (like the By Nieves), which I love because why buy 2 products if you can buy 1 really great one?

Buddha Nose ~ I Booster Spray ($24)

For the germaphobes in your life (half joking) or just anyone who likes spraying lovely smelling mixtures that are also beneficial to your health. I’ve mentioned it before here and I’m talking about it again because it’s definitely one of my favorite natural products, especially in the winter months. A spray or two of this mixture and it just instantly perks you up internally and externally!

eos ~ lip balm in pomegranate raspberry ($3.29)

Great flavor, great packaging and a great price! This one is 95% organic, 100% natural and 100% effective at keeping lips moisturized. It really takes lip balm up a notch without upping the typical price tag.

California Baby ~ Welcome Baby Tote ($34.99)

One of my fav brands for babies. This is perfect for the new moms in your life. Set includes Calming™ Shampoo & Bodywash, Diaper Rash Cream, Non-Talc Powder, on-Burning & Calming™ Diaper Area Wash Spray, Natural Wool Sea Sponge, and Calendula Cream.

Aubrey Organics ~ City Rhythms Face Scrub ($8.93) & City Rhythms Shave Cream ($7.30)

And last but not least, some natural products for the men.With a fresh and woodsy scent (think cedar, sandalwood & bergamot), this scrub is ideal for smooth skin – it clears pores and loosens ingrown hairs hence preventing razor burn. Combined with Aubrey’s shave cream, it’s the perfect pairing to keep the guys naturally beautified as well!  There are other scent options (North Woods & Spice Island), but Dylan and I both agree this one is the best.

I could go on and on (and maybe I will in another post soon), but here’s some natural favorites to get you started!

Spice of the Season – Cinnamon

This is the time of year that we probably consume our greatest amount of cinnamon between the fall desserts, beverages and side dishes.  Good news – we’re doing ourselves a big favor because cinnamon is said to have a very positive effect on blood glucose levels. Consuming cinnamon helps to stabilize our blood sugar, which in turns helps keep our energy levels and moods stable. In addition, stable blood sugar levels help prevent us from overeating.

If you know someone suffering from diabetes, cinnamon is a top spice to include in their diet. I recently told my dad about this (he has type 2 diabetes) and he has been trying to incorporate cinnamon into his diet on a daily basis. I’m hoping we’ll see an improvement soon if he keeps up with it!

Need another more reason to add cinnamon to your next meal? Cinnamon has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all herbs and spices. So with Thanksgiving right around the corner, don’t hesitate to add some more cinnamon to those sweet potatoes – hopefully you’ll be feeling less groggy and less full than usual by meal’s end!

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43 Ways to Simply

I think basically everyone today could use some more simplicity in their lives. Don’t you agree? Well here are 43 ways to make your days more simplified from zenfamilyhabits.net.

I just love this list – it has so many small and easily doable changes that can make a huge difference to your quality of life! I’ve bolded some of my favorites…

1. Turn off your cell phone.

2. Process email only twice a day.

3. Go to bed early.

4. Get rid of (or at least reduce) commitments that you do out of obligation.

5. Create a weekly meal plan.

6. Automate your finances.

7. Purge as much unneeded clutter as possible.

8. Keep your paper shredder on top of your recycling bin.

9. Add items you want to a wish list as you think of them.

10. Get a label maker or write labels out by hand.

11. Set your clothes out for the next day the night before.

12. Make your lunch for the next day the night before.

13. Make time to catch up with an old friend.

14. Just say no.

15. Ask for experiences not things for your birthday and Christmas this year.

16. Tell the truth.

17. Keep your list of addresses and phone numbers up to date.

18. Consolidate debt.

19. Create an organizing system that works for you.

20. Keep a bag for garbage in your car.

21. Cary a notebook and pen with you where ever you go.

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22. Unsubscribe from emails, newsletters or RSS feeds that don’t provide value anymore.

23. Apologize immediately when you realize you’ve done wrong.

24. Enjoy the present moment as much as you can.

25. Take time to really see the little things in life.

26. Reduce the amount of TV you watch.

27. Get outside.

28. Create morning, daytime, and evening routines.

29. Ask for help.

30. Do things at home as much as possible (eat, date nights, entertain etc.).

31. Don’t get caught up in other people’s drama.

32. Let go of the self-imposed need to be perfect.

33. Focus on a simple, but healthy, eating plan.

34. Share responsibilities.

35. Reduce your wardrobe to a few versatile items.

36. Be positive.

37. Start a gratitude journal.

38. Finish old tasks before taking on new ones.

39. For every new item that enters your home set two free.

40. Want what you have not what you don’t.

41. Revisit what you carry with you in your purse or wallet.

42. Focus on one thing at a time.

43. Store new garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can.

Cozy & Gorgeous Interiors

Doesn’t this time of year just make you want to be in rooms like these? I’m LOVING these images from houzz this morning… Makes me want to have a huge mug of tea and a pile of magazines by a fireplace :)

Hope everyone has a beautiful fall day!

Montana eclectic living room
Montana mix eclectic dining room
Graham Simmons, Architect and Builder traditional living room

Naturally Soothe a Sunburn

I know it’s a little late for a sunburn tip, but there’s still sunny weather in some parts of the world plus there’s always those tropical vacations! Next time you catch a few too many rays, try this natural remedy – apply a washcloth soaked in cold black tea to the sunburned areas. The tannic acid from the tea will calm the inflammation and some studies say it even helps prevent cancerous cells from forming. After applying the tea compress, cover the tender spots in an all natural aloe vera gel (it shouldn’t be neon green) or even better, break off the leaf of a live plant.

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HealthDesigns.com

I recently discovered this site called Health Designs and decided to place a rare online order.  I have to say that I am loving this site now for two main reasons: (1) the wonderful selection of some of the best natural health and beauty products and (2) the awesome prices.  I found so many of my favorite brands at the lowest prices I’ve seen. Love that and love how you get to pick an unlimited amount of available free samples!

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I’ve never been one for online shopping, but this is one website that makes me want to skip the health store.  Shipping is currently free on First Class USPS orders over $25 and it’s just so fun to see how much you can put in your shopping cart for that price point (my order below).  Also, if you’re a first time buyer use Discount Code FTC5DO to get $5 off your first order. Writing this post is really making me want to place another order today! I highly suggest checking them out - healthdesigns.com

This is exactly what I got for $25:

  • Avalon Organics, CoQ10 Facial Cleansing Milk 8.5 fl oz
  • Yogi, DeTox Tea 16 Tea Bags
  • Now Foods, Unsweetened Medium Coconut 10 oz
  • ShiKai, Hand & Body Lotion Honeysuckle 8 fl oz
  • Chandrika, Ayurvedic Soap 2.64 oz
  • Queen Helene, Aloe Deodorant 2.7 oz
  • 6 free samples (like Nordic Naturals, DHA Sample Pack 500 mg Strawberry 2 softgels)


Carrot Soup

I haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds pretty easy and delicious (if you like carrots).  It’s loaded with beta carotene, which is excellent for boosting immunity, healing infections and preventing macular degeneration among many other positive health benefits.

All Natural Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • 2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 organic carrots
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 2 egg yolks
  • seal salt & black pepper to taste

How to:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and leek for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring to prevent burning
  2. Add stock, carrots & almonds
  3. Turn down to simmer and leave veggies to soften (about 15 minutes)
  4. Beat yolks in a bowl
  5. Blend carrot & almond mixture in a blender
  6. Pour into bowl with eggs yolks & beat
  7. Pour all ingredients back into saucepan, heating mixture gently
  8. Add salt & pepper to taste
  9. Serve with organic bread or croutons
  10. Enjoy!

{image via inspired2cook.com, which has another delicious sounding recipe for Roasted Carrot Soup}

Have a wonderful weekend!

And I want to wish an especially wonderful weekend and happy birthday to my fabulous friend & fellow blogger Monique! Best wishes & lots of love! xo

Guest Blogger – Hannah Daniel

Teeth are incredibly important, and you only get one permanent set in a lifetime. Eating certain food can be an easy way to help maintain the enamel on your pearly white smile.

Strengthen Your Teeth with These 5 Foods:

  • Cereal grains – Grains like rice, corn, oats, wheat and barley are a great source of magnesium, which helps with jaw and tooth enamel formation.
  • Fish – Fish contains Vitamin D, which helps the body use the calcium it receives.
  • Citrus – Fruits like oranges, limes and lemons are full of Vitamin C, which helps the cells involved in tooth formation and strengthening.
  • Dairy products – Milk products are known for being a significant source of calcium, which strengthens bones, including tooth enamel.
  • Foods high in protein – Protein contains phosphorous, which is key in strengthening the jaw structure and teeth. Try eggs, meat, beans or nuts.

Eating these five foods can help strengthen your teeth. If you take care of your pearly whites, they could last a lifetime, so you should do your best to keep them as strong and healthy as possible!

Hannah Daniel writes for a dental blog backed by 1Dental.com, which offers discount dental plans nationwide. She enjoys keeping people up to date on dental news and helping them save money on dental care.

Favorite Natural Moisturizers

It’s always important to keep our skin well hydrated, but now that the weather is turning cooler for many of is, it’s especially important (and challenging) to keep dry skin away.

Here are a few of my absolute favorite body moisturizers. I now have my sister in love with the Shikai Gardenia lotion too. Are you a fan of any of these or do you have some other natural favorites?

Shikai (around $7.99)

I especially adore the Gardenia (it truly smells JUST like the flower), but there also a lot of other fun scents (yuzu, honeysuckle, etc)

Hugo Naturals (around $10.99)

This lotion is SO rich without being greasy. The Shea Butter & Oatmeal is such a delicious and comforting scent.

Rainbow Research Inc. (around $7.99)

Best choice for really sensitive skin!

Dr. Hauschka (around $12.99)

So rich and perfect for dry, winter hands! Specifically helps to keep the appropriate pH balance of skin.

Desert Essence (around $8.99)

Can’t forget the feet! Often one of the hardest areas to keep moisturized, but this foot cream does wonders. And it’s pistachio – a fun & unique scent!

A Top Cancer Fighter

The bright yellow spice known as turmeric is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. So already there are two great qualities. Now, in addition, turmeric is believed to attack the core pathways that allow cancer cells to develop.

Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet on a regular basis? An easy way to sneak some of this bright yellow spice into your life is by adding a pinch to stir fries, sauces and soups – you won’t even taste it! If you are a bigger fan of turmeric, well then your options are much more broad. My personal favorite is sprinkling turmeric (and cumin) on scrambled eggs. Whatever you choose – start adding it to meals today to reap some of the very healthy benefits!

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Monday Already?!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Our weekend was so great, but it went so fast! While I catch up with email and everyone’s posts, here is a pic I took on our way to a beautiful winery in Haymarket, Virginia (only about 1 hour from Washington, DC)

My dad loves red wine (well pretty much exclusively Merlot), but he had never done a tasting before so it was really fun to surprise him with a visit to a winery and to see him do a tasting (“Only the reds, please.” -my dad). Sure enough we ended up getting a bottle of Merlot after the tasting and enjoying the beautiful weather and live music for the rest of the afternoon.. such a perfect day!

Happy Friday!

My dad and sister arrive today and we’re looking forward to showing them around and having a belated celebration of my dad’s birthday. It will be really nice to have him here for his first visit and my younger sister’s second!

Here are a couple of fun pics Dylan took yesterday, which will probably be included in our tour. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Photo Credits: Dylan Price

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet

Here are several items that I strongly recommend stocking up on and upping your intake of, especially during cold and flu season:

  1. Garlic (a natural antibiotic & antibacterial)
  2. Honey (no germ can live in honey!)
  3. Lemon (See use for #2 & 3 here – Nature’s Cough Syrup)
  4. Ginger (great for inflammation & circulation)
  5. Spices (like Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper, which are both believed to kill cancer calls among other benefits so clearly they’re excellent for you in general!)
  6. Herbs (like Thyme)
  7. Sea Salt (great for gargling)
  8. Veggies (lots & lots of all kinds, especially the deeply/brightly colored ones to keep your immune system in tip top shape!)
  9. Fish high in omega-3s (such as 2 of my favs – wild salmon & sardines)
  10. Tea (White, Green, Black – in the order of their antioxidant levels from highest to lowest – and herbal teas. Hot liquids are where it’s at this time of year)

Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” ~Hippocrates

Be well my fabulous readers!

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Another Reason to Soak Your Feet

I’m so excited to tell you all that I have yet another reason to keep up one of my favorite daily habits – soaking my feet. I just read in this month’s Natural Health Magazine that according to Chinese medicine, the meridians (or channels of energy) that run through the ovaries and uterus begin in the feet.  By soaking your feet in warm water, you dilate the blood vessels hence shifting the blood flow to that area.  Good blood flow to the ovaries is crucial to ovarian health and follicular growth. If there is a lack of blood flow then there is usually a corresponding lack of egg health. The same goes for the uterus. This means that soaking your feet can be added to the list of natural things that have a positive effect on fertility!

So what are you waiting for? Whether it’s filling up the bath tub just enough to cover your feet, using an actual foot bath (like this one) or any other container that can fit your feet, foot baths are so easy to do, so relaxing and so good for your overall health! Very warm water alone is great, but I also love to add Epsom salt, sea salt, baking soda, essential oils (especially lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus) and even some flower petals or dried lavender.  It makes the foot bath even more fun and therapeutic!

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My dad started me on this habit when I was a kid and I’ve loved it ever since. When I was little, it was followed by slathering our feet with Vaseline and putting on cozy socks right before heading to bed. Now it’s still followed by cozy socks and usually before bed, but these days it’s usually an all natural shea butter (like Organic Essence) instead. It’s especially great to do when you’re feeling stressed or run down. I just love how much better it ALWAYS makes me feel.

I already have Nikki and Dylan on board (did you both smile at this post?) and maybe you next!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

The kale and bean soup  last week apparently began a soup making rampage of sorts for me. Just ask my husband – I’ve been a cooking machine lately, but all I want to make is soup! The latest (and maybe 1 of my greatest I’m told) is this roasted cauliflower soup, which provided the two of us with two nights worth of dinner. FYI – it could last longer/feed more mouths if a certain someone (me) didn’t have about 3 bowls each night! What can I say? I love my soup :) Hope you love this one too! Last  night we had it with a huge mound of organic collard greens sauteed in garlic and oil. Did I also mention how much I love garlic?

All Natural Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic butter (optional, but definitely makes it creamier)
  • 7 cloves garlic ( 2 chopped + 5 roasted)
  • half an onion chopped
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 head of cauliflower roasted
  • 1 32 fl oz box of all natural chicken stock
  • dash of hot sauce (doesn’t make it spicy, just adds a touch of vinegary goodness. I like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Heat oil & butter in large pot
  3. Add onion, garlic (2 cloves) & celery
  4. Add sea salt, pepper & oregano
  5. Cook mixture on medium heat until soft/translucent
  6. Meanwhile, place cauliflower (broken into chunks) & garlic (unpeeled) on a baking sheet drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper
  7. Cook at 450 degrees for about 20 mins (or until tops start to get a little brown)
  8. Add chicken stock to pot
  9. Add roasted cauliflower & roasted garlic cloves (peeled)
  10. Add a dash of hot sauce
  11. Bring to a boil
  12. Let simmer on low heat for 45 minutes – 1 hour
  13. Emulsify with a hand blender (ideal) or a regular blender/food processor until smooth
  14. Enjoy!

love the smell as this soup gets started…onions…garlic… yummmmm

Threw in the cauliflower leaves and stem too (with the onions, garlic & celery) No waste and more nutrients!

Roasting the cauliflower & garlic cloves. Especially loved sampling the crispy, brown bits – delish!

The final product with lots of fresh pepper on top :)