Month: March 2011

Bring the Spa to Your Shower

Want a spa-like experience, but can’t even find time to make yourself a nice, hot bath? Well there’s another option! Try these shower infusers by bath by bettijo for some instant aromatherapy. Simply add one of these little wafers to your next hot shower and you’ll instantly have the scent of sweet peppermint infusing the air and melting your stress away.

Now you really don’t have any excuse not to treat yourself! I just love how it makes a shower that much more therapeutic and fun! This peppermint variety is especially great for when you’re having sinus issues or are just plain old tired.

How to: (1) Wet a tablet, (2) place it on the shower floor (*out of the direct water stream*) and (3) let the at-home spa time begin!


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DOLLY&MILA

Dolly and Mila originated in a tiny kitchen in NYC after the founders traveled through Central America and spent years studying Indigenous remedies, anthropology and holistic nutrition. The founders are best friends from childhood, but they’re names are actually not Dolly and Mila. The line was named after two special women who inspired them throughout their lives (so sweet!). Having always dreamed of starting a company with a best friend, I especially love the story and bond behind this fabulous line. And of course, I also love that everything  is 100% natural and wild-crafted using organic, free and fair trade ingredients.

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So far, the Blossom Honey and Organic Coffee Intensive Facial Exfoliant is definitely my favorite from the line. Talk about a perfect morning beauty product! It truly perks you up inside and out. If you like natural products, you’ll just love how unprocessed and raw this scrub smells and feels. Its ingredient list is superbly clean and pure with not a single questionable ingredient.  It also doubles as a natural cellulite treatment – use it as a mask and scrub for any current or potential areas of concern. What a great bonus, right?!

Giveaway Winner Announced

And the winner of last week’s giveaway is Sarah Fetchet! Congrats, Sarah!! Hope you enjoy and get inspired to do some healthy, spring cleaning ;)

 

Here is a preview of your reading to come…

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Stay tuned for another great giveaway very soon…

Coffee or Tea?

I have always (since 16) predominantly been a tea drinker. Then around age 21, I started dabbling in the world of coffee…regular coffee, flavored coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, espresso shots… you know how it goes.  I had really never expected to come a regular drinker of coffee, but the again, it was always in my blood (mom and dad both love their coffee).

Recently, I decided that I wanted to try going back to drinking strictly tea – specifically black, green and oolong. I’ve been wondering if I was generally just better off with tea… maybe my skin wasn’t as dry for starters? Well, if you look around you can find plenty of information on why you should avoid coffee, and caffeine in general. Then again, you can also find tons of info/research on caffeine’s benefits.

I’m certainly not here to demonize coffee. I think everyone is different and moderation is always key. But I do think that coffee drinkers can benefit from going organic with their coffee since it is a highly pesticide-ridden crop. Other than that, I think most people do fine with coffee as long as they don’t over do it.

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For me, I wanted to see what it was like even attempting to avoid coffee completely. Could I do it? Well I’m now on day 24 of no coffee (or espresso) and I have to say that I surprisingly don’t really miss it. My goal was to see if I could do 30 days minimum. I actually think I might continue to stick with my daily tea time long term (with an occasional tasty coffee or latte thrown in here and there).  As with dieting, being rigid never works and I’m not trying to deprive myself.  I just think I feel better with tea. Plus, my skin isn’t as dry/dull and I no longer have any afternoon slumps. Those 2 benefits alone are enough for me to want to stick with my new coffee-free routine.

Plus, I’m also sticking with tea for another reason. I always enjoy a cup of tea, but when it comes to coffee I feel like it’s hit or miss, especially when you don’t make it at home. Too many times, the aroma alone has made me want a cup, but then the actual cup of coffee does not taste at all as delicious as it smelled. Do you know what I mean?

Well no matter what you choose, I hope you enjoy every cup and feel good after consuming your caffeinated beverage of choice!

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Factual Caffeination:

  • White, green, and black tea (in order from least to highest) all contain caffeine
  • The caffeine content of white, green, and black tea is lower than the caffeine content of coffee
  • The caffeine in tea is balanced by L-theanine, an amino acid that is naturally calming. It actually reduces mental and physical stress, and improves cognition and mood in a synergistic manner with caffeine {read more}

Do you drink tea, coffee, or both? Or neither?! (the answer to which I am always fascinated) Any specific favorites? Do you think you could benefit from decreasing or switching your source of caffeine?

Think you’re consuming too much caffeine? Then read this:How to Detox from Caffeine

The Vegetable of the Day…

…is definitely cabbage! I am a huge fan so I am really looking forward to dinner tonight. I like the corned beef and potatoes too, but I am definitely most excited for the cabbage.

If you happen to enjoy it too (or want some incentive to give it a try), you might appreciate knowing that cabbage is very high in both vitamin K and vitamin C. In addition, studies have shown that consuming cabbage can help lower cholesterol and even prevent cancer.

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Another reason I’m excited for today – after years of eating and loving my Aunt Ellen’s Irish Soda Bread, I just got my hands on her recipe (originally my 100% Irish grandma’s) so I think it’s time that I give it a try…wish me luck! :)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Quick Black Bean Soup

I have always loved black bean soup and most of the time I get it out, but every so often I like to make this quick recipe. Of course, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s still very tasty, very filling and also very healthy (lots of protein and fiber). I like my black bean soup really thick, but if you don’t then just add a cup or so of water/veggie stock/chicken stock. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I recommend saving a little for garnish)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (or more cloves if you love garlic like I do)
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) black beans
  • 1 tomato, chopped OR 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Chop onions and mince/press garlic
  2. Saute onions, garlic, salt, pepper & spices in olive oil over low-medium heat until onions are tender
  3. Add black beans and tomato to the pot, cover, and let simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or chopped onion
  5. Enjoy!

(unfortunately, I didn’t have any fresh cilantro, but the chopped onion is great too)

p.s. In general, forgive me if I don’t give enough specifics with my recipes. I am just so big on not following recipes EXACTLY (except when it comes to baking) that I know I probably leave some key info out at times. Please ask away if anything is unclear! :)

Book Giveaway!

Grandma’s Cleaning Recipes
By Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz, with Emily Alaniz

Next time you clean house, try one of these natural cleaning recipes:

Window Cleaner: Add 3 cups of water, plus ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Try wiping this mixture off of windows with crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels to avoid leaving lint on the surface. If the glass appears streaky or has residue on it afterwards, it’s probably buildup left from those synthetic blue window cleaners you’ve been using for years. Try washing with vinegar a few more times and the residue should come right off.

Drain Cleaner: Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to flush out any remaining clogs caused by food particles, soap, and grease.

Stainless Steel Polisher: Use baking soda and a soft-sided sponge. Toothpaste works, too.

Carpet Stain Remover: Baking soda combined with water or club soda.

Heavy-duty Cleaning (for large jobs): Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons liquid soap to 1 gallon of hot water. If it’s a particularly stubborn project, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of borax.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible, then pour 1 cup vinegar around the inside of the rim and scrub to remove buildup. Repeat if needed.

Refrigerator Cleaner and Deodorizer: Mix a few teaspoons of salt with two cups of soda water to clean your fridge without getting synthetic chemicals close to your food.

If you need a little extra incentive, just look at the price tag. These natural cleaners are a fraction of the price of those brightly colored products you’re used to. And in the long run, your body will thank you.

© 2011 Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz, authors of The Healthy Home: Simple Truths to Protect Your Family From Hidden Household Dangers

Want to learn more? One lucky reader will be receiving a copy of this book!

HOW TO WIN:

  1. Be a follower of AllNaturalAnnie.com
  2. Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

  1. Tweet about this giveaway (again, separate comment)
  2. “Like” this post (separate comment)

You have until 6pm EDT on Thursday, March 24th to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, March 25th .

Good luck and have a great start to your week! :)

Herb Superstar: Oregano

Did you know that a half teaspoon of dried oregano has the antioxidant benefits of a spinach salad? It does! And aside from it’s super high levels of antioxidants, it also acts as an expectorant – clearing congestion – and it can also improve digestion!

I use dried oregano a lot in sauces, soups and stir fries, but I don’t think I have ever had fresh oregano in a meal until this past weekend when my husband made quite possibly the best greek salad I have ever had. Let me tell you – I have SO been missing out. The fresh oregano, dill and parsley gave the salad SUCH incredible flavor along with a powerful boost of antioxidants. I am officially all about the fresh (and dried) oregano now!

Are you a fan of oregano? What are your favorite uses for it?

Nutrient Rich Molasses

Amongst the likes of honey and maple syrup exists another less popular, natural sweetener by the name of molasses.  A single tablespoon of this dark, rich, gooey substance provides at least 20% of the US RDA for calcium, iron and potassium!  I particularly like this Blackstrap Unsulphured Molasses by Plantation, which also comes in an organic version.

I have bravely (it’s not as lovely tasting as honey) downed a tablespoon of this each day for a boost of nutrients (particularly iron), but you could also use it for plenty of natural sweetening — think oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, muffins, cookies, etc! I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it sounds tasty and I like how it uses just 2 sweeteners (applesauce & molasses): Spiced Gingerbread with Coffee & Molasses

*FYI – If you want to try replacing sugar with molasses in a recipe you need 1.25 cups of molasses for each 1 cup sugar (molasses is about 65% as sweet as sugar), but beware again that molasses has a VERY distinct flavor :)

Have you tried molasses before? If so, are you a fan?

SOS for PMS

One of my favorite natural beauty companies, BUDDHA NOSE, makes this seriously awesome Girl Balm. It’s specifically meant to aid the common woes of PMS. Simply rub the balm on your lower belly and/or lower back to ease cramps and brighten your mood. The warming and mellowing mix of Clary Sage, Rose Geranium, Ginger Root and Black Pepper are sure to leave you feeling noticeably calmer and skin noticeably softer within minutes. The smell of it alone makes me feel better – it’s definitely one of my favorites!


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Unfortunately, so many of us females deal with the negative side effects of fluctuating hormones, but in addition to this magical balm there are other easy efforts you can make on a daily basis.

Some other tips to ease PMS and help stabilize hormones include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Stress reduction (yoga, meditation, just plain old relaxation, etc)
  • Reducing your intakes of refined sugar, salt, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Increasing your intake of complex carbohydrates, omega 3-rich foods, fruits, and veggies (especially leafy green ones).
  • More tips here: 5 Natural Tips to Take the Syndrome Out of PMS

The Girl Balm is currently on sale and the price ($21.60) is really worth every penny for the high quality ingredients and therapeutic benefits. Plus, a little truly goes a long way. If you give it a try, I would love to hear what you think!

Fish Oils – Part II

I should have added to the previous post that a fishy smell and fishy burps are often the unpleasant side effects of a fish oil supplement that is RANCID. I know – how could I have left that out?! Taking rancid fish oil is clearly not what anyone is aiming for so definitely opt for a high quality supplement (suggestions in previous post).In addition, fish oil supplements stored in dark bottles in the refrigerator are less likely to be rancid. I’m guessing there might be some people throwing out their supplements and getting new ones right about now…  :) It’s worth the expense though!