Easy Recipe: Make organic pickles at home!

Are you ready to make your own fermented foods at home? (Answer: Yes!) Pickling cucumbers is a great start to build up your confidence with fermentation. And who doesn’t love a crisp tasty pickle on a hot summer day? You can have your pickles ready to eat in as little as 7 days with the easy recipe below.

Use this fast and easy recipe to make delicious pickles at home

Health benefits of Fermented Foods

For optimal digestive health, we need to get good bacteria in the gut on a regular basis. Antibiotics destroy all the bacteria in our system, both good and bad. Over time, this can lead to more imbalance in digestion function, absorption and elimination. Some experts even say that food allergies, autism and ADHD may be related to an imbalance of bacteria in the colon. Certainly many digestive diseases like colitis, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease are caused in part by lack of good bacteria in the gut. Having the right balance of good bacteria helps to strengthen immune system, improve digestive health and long-term, can even prevent dis-ease. Probiotic, or good bacteria, literally means “for life.”

You may think that fermented foods are only made with yeast (like beer or wine), but there are other cultures used for fermentation. Other types of natural bacteria are used as well as SCOBY’s (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). With pickles, the natural bacteria on the skin of the cucumber itself is what’s used to start the “lacto fermentation” process.

Pickles are perfect to try if you’ve never done any type of fermentation before. You get relatively fast results (in 7 days), unlike kombucha, for example, that can take a few weeks. And there isn’t a lot of hard work involved or checking required, like in making raw sauerkraut. You should see bubbles rising in the pickle jars when you flip them every day, and when you eventually open the jar to eat them, the jar should make a “pop.” Then you know you’ve done everything correctly and can enjoy the fruits of your fermentation labor. Scroll down to get the recipe below.

Homemade pickles have no food additives!

There are other great reasons to eat homemade pickles instead of store-bought, besides the obvious better taste. Commercially sold pickles are pasteurized, which means all those beneficial natural probiotics are destroyed. Homemade pickles keep all the good bacteria intact, making for good gut health when eaten. A healthy microbiome is the basis for a strong and healthy immune system.

Store-bought pickles can also contain nasty food additives, the worst offender being Yellow #5. Banned in many countries (including all of Europe) since it was shown to be a carcinogen, Yellow #5, or tartrazine, is a coal-tar derivative. It is currently still allowed in foods in the USA. Yellow #5 is frequently used in your favorite brands of pickles for added color to make the pickles look brighter and fresher. Most store-bought pickles also contain preservatives, the most common one being sodium benzoate (not good).

Examples of Yellow #5 in pickles:

Vlasic: Hamburger Dill Chips Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Polysorbate 80, Yellow 5. “Great taste & crunch. Classic dill taste.” (No thanks!)

Vlasic Bread & Butter Spears No Sugar Added Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Spice, Calcium Chloride, Sucralose, Yellow 5. “No sugar added!” (But you kept the carcinogens, great work.)

Mt. Olive Sweet Gherkins No Sugar Added Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, 0.1% Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Alum, Sucralose (Splenda Brand), Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 80, & Yellow 5. “Mt. Olive Pickles are Picklicious!” (Don’t think so…)

Heinz Dill Spear Pickles – Fresh cucumbers, water, distilled white vinegar, salt, sodium benzoate, garlic extract, gum acacia, calcium chloride, natural flavoring, polysorbate 80, fd&c yellow 5. “Classic dill taste and crunch Heinz pickles are 100% fat free, Gluten free.” (But they contain chemical crap, hmmm…)

Organic brands of pickles are often no better. I’ve seen xantham gum, natural flavors, spices and agave syrup…all of which are suspect ingredients that I avoid as much as possible.

The bottom line is this: YOU deserve the very best in life and you are worth having only the very best ingredients in your food. Taking the time to make your own food is one of the best investments in yourself, your health and your family’s health.

High-five some hashtags to health!! #homemade #homegrown #farmtotable #organic #cleanfood #cleaneating

Choosing organic ingredients

The best part about making cucumbers at home is that you can use all 100% certified organic and whole food ingredients. Look for smaller sized pickling cucumbers at your local farmer’s market. You can also grow your own pickling cucumbers in your backyard garden at home – they’re actually very easy to grow! Choose fresh organic dill. And definitely use organic garlic. (Non-organic garlic is mostly all grown in China, so the quality is a big unknown. But I find that non-organic garlic has a too strong and overpowering taste; whereas organic garlic has a soft yet flavorful and more delicate taste. Organic garlic also doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth or a bad smell on your skin.)

The water you add to your pickle jars should not contain any chlorine, because chlorine can stop the natural fermentation process. The best option is to use natural spring water or clean well water. If you are using tap water, then be sure to pour your water into a big pot or glass bowl and let it sit out on the counter overnight before using. This should off-gas the chlorine so it’s no longer in the water by the next morning. (If you’ve ever had pet fish, then you’re familiar with doing this when changing their tank water.)

Remember to cut off the blossom ends!

When you’re pickling cucumbers yourself, you must cut off the blossom ends. There’s an enzyme in the blossom that can make the pickle soft and unsafe to eat. The blossom end also tastes bitter when you eat a raw cucumber. That bitter taste can make an entire juice or smoothie taste bitter too, so it’s generally just a good practice to always cut off about 1/16-inch on the blossom end of all your cucumbers. In fermentation, cutting the blossom ends will help your pickles get more crisp and crunchy.

Every cucumber has 2 ends: A Blossom end and a Stem end

The blossom end of the cucumber is the end that grew the flower. The opposite side is where you will find the stem that connected the cucumber to the vine. Sometimes it’s easier to identify the stem end first. Then, you know that the other side is the blossom end.

Which end is the blossom end of the cucumber? To identify the blossom end, check both sides of your cucumber.

The picture below shows the stem end of the cucumbers. Do you see the smooth, indented dot? That’s where the cucumber was picked off the stem.

The stem end has a smooth, indented dot

The next picture shows the blossom end of the cucumbers. Even though the flower is gone, you can see that there is no indentation. This is the side that you want to cut about 1/16-inch off.

Note there is no indentation in the Blossom end of the cucumber

Don’t forget to cut those blossom ends for a crunchy, crispy pickle

Recipe for Organic Pickles

With this recipe, the pickles take 7 days to ferment and then you’ve got the best tastiest pickles ever! No sugar, no honey, no preservatives and no cancer-causing Yellow #5. Oh yeah, and these are 100% organic farm-to-table and made with love!

Pickling Ingredients

  • Pickling cucumbers (approx. 6-8 small cucumbers needed for each jar)
  • 1 1/2 cups (or 360ml) filtered water
  • 1/2 cup (or 120ml) organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. fine Himalayan salt (as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp. organic crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. organic mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. organic back peppercorns
  • 1 sprig fresh organic dill
  • 2 organic garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 organic fresh grape leaves* (optional)
    You can buy the organic dried ingredients listed above on iherb.comAlso will need:- Wide mouth clean Mason jars with canning lids
    – 1 permanent marker
    You can buy Mason jars plus organic raw apple cider vinegar on amazon.com

Pickling Instructions

1. In a glass bowl, mix 1/2 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar + 1.5 cups water.
Add peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, and up to 1T Himalayan salt.

2. Rinse your cucumbers but don’t scrub them. You want them to ferment from natural bacteria in the skins. Make sure you cut 1/16-inch from the blossom ends of each cucumber, then slice the cucumbers in spears. You want to keep the skins intact (do NOT peel the cucumbers), so the good bacteria in the skins can kick off the lacto-fermentation process.

3. Add 2 organic garlic cloves, fresh dill, and 1 grape leaf to the bottom of the Mason jar. Stack in chopped cucs and pack tightly. Add liquid and spices. Add another grape leaf to the top before closing. Secure the lid tight by hand. Write the date on the lid with a permanent marker.

4. Place the jar on a tray or plate on a shelf or counter-top. Flip the jar once daily for 7 days. Sometimes liquid may seep out of the jar, which is why having a tray or plate underneath is a good idea. You should see small bubbles rising in the pickle juice when you flip the jar. And that’s the fermentation happening right there!

5. After one week, put the jar in the fridge. Now, you can open, eat and enjoy!

Store pickles in a tray or glass container to prevent spillage during 7 days of flipping once daily

*Fresh grapes leaves are recommended because they’re supposed to help keep the pickles more crisp and crunchy. I don’t know if they are totally necessary or not, but because we have plenty of wild organic muscadine grape vines growing all over our land, it’s no problem for me to pick a few leaves and add them to each jar. Sometimes in summer, you can find fresh grapes leaves for sale at local farmer markets. If you don’t have access to fresh grape leaves, don’t be discouraged. You can still make this recipe without them!

Homemade Pickle Eat-by Date

Using the above recipe, there is no canning or heating required. That’s nice because it keeps the cucs as a raw food, with all the enzymes intact. But, because they are not totally sealed the way canning or heating will do, these pickles should be eaten with 3 months of making them. Just keep that in mind if you give them to family or friends. After 3 months the pickles may turn soft or watery. If you see that, then it’s best to toss them in the compost bin. Writing the date on the lid of each jar helps to know how long to keep them.

My Pickle Detox/Cleanse

Last summer, we had so many cucumbers from our organic veggie garden that I was making 2 jars of pickles per day! By mid-August, we were up to our ears in pickles and the fridge was almost full. I had been planning to do a 7-10 day green juice fast as a nice transition from the end of summer into fall. But when I looked at all the pickles, I said to my husband, “Why don’t we just do a pickle detox and eat only organic pickles for 10 days?” So we did!

On average, we each ate about 1.5 jars of pickles per day and we drank all the pickle juice too. We also drank plenty of water in between. It was totally unplanned and un-researched. But it turned out great. We both felt energized. Our guts got a major boost of probiotics from the lacto fermentation and the organic raw apple cider vinegar. We had a mini-parasite cleanse from eating so many fermented garlic cloves. The pickles were cold and refreshing during the hot summer days. We had high energy and slept great. The was no juicer to clean! And we used organic clean food fresh from our garden. This year, we may do a 3-day pickle cleanse and go into green juices after that. I’ve got plenty of organic dandelion, celery and parsley that I’d love to use in juices or smoothies so we’ll see….!


For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a personalized health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Consultation:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

What your Poop and Pee can tell you about Your Health

With all this talk about detox and fasting, it’s inevitable that I would eventually cross onto the topic of eh-em, bodily excrements. Actually, your poop and pee can tell A LOT about your health and should always be the first thing to check when you’re not feeling your best. If you notice any sudden changes in your bowel movements, it’s also a good idea to ask yourself – has my diet changed recently or have I added a new supplement or something different? Often times the answer is yes.

Your poop: What is a healthy Poop?

On a daily basis, your bowel movements or poops should be easy to pass, formed and should sink in the toilet (not float). The color should be a normal healthy brown color.

Many people say that you should go to the toilet as many times as you eat in a day. That means someone eating 3 meals a day should have 3 movements per day. Anything less than that would be considered constipation.

Types 1 and 2 on the Bristol Stool Chart (see below) are indicative of constipation and types 5, 6 or 7 can indicate loose stool or diarrhea.  Types 3 and 4 are considered the ideal, healthy stools (especially type 4), as they are easy to pass while not containing excess liquid.

What does a different color poo mean?

Red stool can be an indicator of blood, inflammation, diverticulitis or blockage in the colon. Just remember to note what you’ve eaten before, because in some cases red stool is just a normal passage of coloring in the food, like after you eat red or purple beets.

Sometimes if taking an iron supplement, your stool can turn a very dark red, almost black color. Eating a lot of meat in the diet can always make your poop look black. Taking charcoal capsules will most definitely turn your stool black. Don’t worry if you see black poo after taking charcoal; it’s the normal passage of the charcoal through your intestinal tract.

Green or yellow stool can be a sign of liver or gallbladder problems. If you’ve just done the liver/gallstone flush though, that doesn’t count! A liver flush is a temporary detox reaction and should not be used to compare your stool color on a daily basis.

What do different sizes or shapes of poop mean?

If you are pushing hard to pass your stool, or if it’s small pellets and very dry, then you’re most likely dehydrated and not drinking enough water on a daily basis. You may also need more fiber in your diet. A first good step would be to drink more water and see if anything changes for the better.

Long and thin poo can be a sign of bowel constriction, inflammation or other conditions in the colon. With that, you can try to eat more fiber, adding 2 Tbsp. ground organic flaxseed to a Green Smoothie daily. You can also try taking 1 tsp. black seed oil daily and see if the condition improves.

Runny or liquid poo can be an indicator of parasites, infection, food allergy or food intolerance. There can also be a lack of fiber in the diet. In some cases, doing a colon cleanse can really help.

If your poo floats, it may be a sign that your body is not digesting fats properly. Always look at the diet and see what the person is eating (or not eating). Sometimes doing a small intestine cleanse can help, especially if this is a recurring problem.

Your urine: What does normal urine look like?

Remember, the goal for healthy urine is: Clear and Copious!

Normal, healthy urine should be clear, not cloudy or turbid. There may be more of a yellow color if taking certain supplements like B Vitamins; however the liquid itself should not be cloudy. Turbid urine can be a sign of bacteria in the urinary tract or kidneys, or crystallization of the urine or even kidney stones.

By copious, I mean that the amount of urine flow should be steady and have decent volume. Want you don’t want is a small, leaky trickle. If you don’t have a good flow of urine, it’s a sign that you may be dehydrated.

If your urine is clear and copious on a daily basis, then most likely you’re doing ok!

Keep in mind that thirst is not a good indicator of whether or not you’re dehydrated. Many times, you will pass the thirst marker and remain dehydrated for hours without any additional feeling of thirst. Always look at your urine as a more accurate indicator.

How much water should you drink?

This is something I get asked all the time, and really there is no simple one-size-fits-all answer.

If someone speaks a lot in their job, they will lose more water through respiration. Living in a warm climate or doing more exercise will create more loss of water from perspiration. People who eat more high-water content fresh fruits and veggies usually need less water than people who eat more dried foods like bread, cereal or dried snacks.

At the end of the day, your best bet is to just check your urine. Is it clear and copious? If yes, then you’re ok. If not, then drink more water!

What kind of water is best to drink?

Having fresh, clean spring-fed mountain water would be great, although not many people have that luxury. At home, you want to at least avoid chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals in your drinking water. Probably your best bet in catching the worst of those is to get a reverse osmosis filter on your drinking water tap in the kitchen. You can buy a reverse osmosis filter online and have a plumber install it for you.

During a detox, depending on the case, distilled water is usually best.

When doing a detox: How your poop and pee can change

Bodily functions can change when you’re doing a cleanse. It’s actually a good sign when your body is eliminating more toxins and taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up on internal housework. You gut health and overall microbiome can finally rebuild, recharge, rebalance and renew.

Many people will poo much more often during a detox, and they can also feel like they need to pee all the time. Often times, a person will get up several times through the night to pee during their cleanse. This is all considered normal, as long as the urine is clear and copious and there is no pain with urination. In fact, most fasters will comment on how clear their urine is after just a few days on a cleanse. That’s always a good indicator that the body is more clean than before.

In some cases, I’ve had fasters comment that they smelled ammonia in their urine when doing a detox. Perhaps this is from old, built-up toxins that were released from the tissue, liver or fat during the cleanse and then eliminated through the urine. Usually it will happen 1-2 times and then stop. Just an extraordinary example of how amazing and active the body can be in its own healing!

During a cleanse, ALL of your elimination organs – the colon, kidneys, lungs, skin and liver – get an opportunity to catch up on their backlog of work. After a cleanse, the most common thing I hear is, “Wow, my bowel movements are so much better now….and my eyes are brighter, skin is clearer and overall I FEEL younger!”

If all that didn’t clear things up for you (literally!), then check out this infographic below from The Daily Infographic which explains the various things your poo and pee are telling you.

Current global poop situation: Not Good

Approximately 70 MILLION Americans have digestive disorders, prompting nearly 60 MILLION visits to the doctor’s offices and hospitals each YEAR. With the rise in digestive problems and even colon cancer all over the world, I have to wonder….why aren’t more people talking about their poop? If it wasn’t such a taboo topic, then someone having poo problems might feel more comfortable to seek out help and get the answers they need.

If you know anyone having digestive problems, please share this article!


For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a personalized health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Consultation:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

How to make a Castor Oil Pack for Healing, Pain Relief or Detox

Castor oil has been making a huge comeback recently with the rise of young Instagrammers applying it to their hair (and even eyelashes) for shinier, thicker and longer locks. But did you know there are many other ways to use castor oil for natural healing? Once you start using castor oil, you will seriously be amazed and wonder, “How did I not know about this before?”!

Discover the ancient medicinal properties of Castor Oil

What is Castor Oil

Castor oil comes from the castor plant that grows castor beans. The castor bean plant originated in Egypt and was used for medicinal purposes in the Middle East as much as 5,000 years ago! In the old days, many people used castor oil to help promote a bowel movement and prevent constipation. You may remember your grandmother having 1 spoonful of castor oil a day for good gut health. But way before that, castor oil was commonly applied topically for healing cuts, wounds, injuries, muscle pain, body pain, menstrual pain, and in many cases even healing internal infections, disease and imbalance. So much so that in the Middle Ages, castor oil was actually known as “Palma Christi,” perhaps because people believed that anywhere you applied the oil was like having the “Palm of Christ” applied to that area, often offering instant and miraculous healing.

What can Castor Oil do

Edgar Cayce was a medical intuitive who used castor oil for healing hundreds of patients. Dr. William McGarey, MD eventually picked up where Casey left off, helping thousands of patients using castor oil for various ailments over the course of 20 years. In his book, The Oil that Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments , he lists many cases of castor oil working very well for healing. Open festering wounds that would not heal started to miraculously dry and close after applying castor oil daily. Ringworm and other fungal infections on the skin were healed after applying castor oil to the affected area. And amazingly, people who complained of gallbladder pain often had zero reoccurrence after several rounds of applying castor oil directly to the skin on the right side of the abdomen with a heating pad, otherwise known as a “castor oil pack.” Knee pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, muscle pain, sports injuries, sprained ankles, wrist pain, hernias, bowel obstructions, pain after surgery, arthritic pain, even skin cancers – all seemed to improve after applying a castor oil pack topically to the affected area. Some people say that castor oil can also be taken to help induce labor ( but remember: always check with your doctor first).

In his book, Dr. McGarey wrote, “The most obvious effect I found in treating the body using a castor oil pack was the enhancement of the immune system. As a portion of their duties, the lymphatics – part of the immune system – drain all parts of the body. When the tissues in any area of the body are cleansed by the eliminatory process, the cells are in much better condition to work normally – and the activity of the immune bodies and substances are able better to do their job in defending the body or rebuilding it.”

Wow! With nothing to lose and possibly so much to gain, why not give the old school castor oil pack a try?!

How to Apply a Castor Oil Pack

To make your own Castor Oil Pack at home, you need these 4 items:

  • Castor Oil (preferably organic castor oil)
  • Wool Cloth
  • Heating Pad
  • Old towel (either hand towel or bath towel size)

To make things as easy as possible, look for the Heritage brand “Castor Oil Kit” for sale on amazon or iherb. The kit contains both a wool cloth and castor oil, so it’s a great starter for making castor oil packs at home. The only thing is that the kit has regular castor oil and not organic castor oil. If you want to start with organic castor oil from the get-go, you can buy the wool cloth and the organic castor oil separately. What I did was I bought the kit first, and then upgraded to organic castor oil when I ran out of the oil in the kit. Either way will work! (Each person should have their own flannel so if you’re planning to do castor oil packs with your partner, friend or family member, then every person ideally has their own wool cloth. Best not to share your wool cloth with other people.)

With castor oil, you always want to choose a high quality cold-pressed oil. Don’t go for cheap, low-quality alternatives that may have been heated to a high temperature in processing.

Next item you will need is a heating pad. I bought my heating pad on amazon. (Note: If you live in a 220V country, you will need a heating pad for 220V voltage outlets.) Alternatively, if you don’t like or don’t have a heating pad, you can use a good old-fashioned hot water bottle.

I also use an old towel to keep the oil away from sheets or clothing. Castor oil is sometimes known to stain material, so having a towel to catch any oil can help to keep things white and bright.

Apply the Castor Oil Pack

  1. Lay down and get comfortable with whatever you may need for 40-60 minutes (book, water, phone, TV remote (to watch a health DVD of course), iPad (to read my book on Green Smoothies – hint, hint!).  I will usually do a castor oil pack before bed so I can just fall asleep with the heating pad on (I use a heating pad with a 2-hour timer).
  2. Plug the heating pad in and have it ready to apply.
  3. Apply a generous amount of castor oil topically to the affected area. I will usually add a palm-sized area of oil. The goal is to cover the skin area you are working on with a layer of castor oil.
  4. Immediately put the wool cloth on top of the oil.
  5. On top of the wool cloth, add your old towel.
  6. On top of the towel, place the heating pad. Turn the heating pad on. Heat helps the skin (and body) absorb the castor oil more quickly and efficiently.
  7. You’ve now made a Castor Oil Pack! It’s a “sandwich” of 4 layers directly on the skin: castor oil, wool cloth, old towel and heating pad on top.
  8. Now, relax and think of all the good you are doing for your body!
  9. Keep the heating pad on for at least 40 minutes, up to 60 minutes.
  10. Then, remove the heating pad and turn it off. Wipe the skin dry with a clean towel. You can store the wool cloth in a clean ziplock bag for future use (I simply wrap my wool flannel cloth in the old towel and store them together).

Congratulations! You can now use castor oil to help heal the body or promote detoxification.

If you’re interested in knowing more about healing power of castor oil, I highly recommend the book called The Oil that Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments by William McGarey.

My experience with Castor Oil

I’ve personally seen some pretty amazing results with castor oil. I’ve done many castor oil packs on my liver (abdomen right side area) during colon cleanses, after a liver/gallstone flush or even if I’m just feeling tired or sluggish, after a long-haul flight for example if I’ve got a bit of jet lag. I’ve also personally had menstrual pain go away completely in 30 minutes or less after applying a castor oil pack to my lower abdomen (I’ve never experienced heavier bleeding as a result). I always feel better after a castor oil pack.  I’ve used castor oil to eradicate ringworm, both on myself and on our dogs and cats, with outstanding success. (For more info on fungal infections, check out my article – What is Ringworm and How to Treat it Naturally.) Castor oil is definitely a staple item in our house and I seem to continue to find more uses for it all the time.

Often I recommend Castor Oil to my Iridology and Health Coaching clients, for anything from liver/gallstone pain to skin rashes to arthritis to Fibromyalgia, in addition to what their medical doctor recommended and after seeking approval from their doctor first, of course.

My husband was sold on castor oil after he healed a neck and shoulder injury in less than 24 hours. Several months ago, he fell while going up the stairs at home. At the time, he was holding things in both arms (and going up the stars too fast, in a hurry) so when he tripped on a stair, he didn’t have a free hand to catch the fall. He wound up stumbling hard into the stair with his shoulder/neck. Yes, ouch! Poor fella was in a lot of pain and could barely move his head from side to side. I immediately applied castor oil directly on his neck, with a wool cloth and heating pad and had him lie down for 45 minutes. Afterwards, he was feeling better but the neck was still stiff. That night, we applied another castor oil pack on his neck and he went to sleep with it on. The next morning, he was 100% back to normal with no pain, no stiffness and full range of motion in the neck. He was totally amazed! He commented that had it happened a few years ago, he would’ve been feeling bad for a week!

What’s your success story with Castor Oil? Having natural tools for healing is truly a blessing. I love to hear new ways to use castor oil, so please share your experience in the comments below!


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What is ringworm, how you get it and how to treat it naturally

In the world of rashes, ringworm is an annoying, itchy, hard to get rid of pain in the….well, skin. The name “ring worm” is a bit misleading because it has nothing to do with parasites or worms. Actually ringworm is a fungal infection. It’s called “ring worm” because of the way the fungus can grow on the skin. This contagious fungus most commonly starts as a round patch of itchy skin, then heals in the center and grow outward, creating a ring-like appearance on the skin.

Above is an example of ringworm rash that does NOT have the classic ring-like appearance

Especially in the last few years, I’ve seen more and more cases of ringworm. Quite a few times the person complained of a fire itchy red rash on the skin with raised bumps, went to doctors and was given anti-fungal creams and/or pills. When the treatment didn’t work they naturally assumed that it wasn’t ringworm. In some cases this was actually true and when the person started working with me, I was able to determine a food additive intolerance causing the flares, inflammation and reactions on the skin. However, in a few cases it was actually ringworm and the fungus just did not respond to traditional anti-fungal medications.

What I’ve learned is this:

1. Ring worm does not always grow in a ring-like pattern, especially in small crooks like under the arms, between the legs (jock itch), behind the knees and in the scalp;

2. It doesn’t always spread from person to person in the house;

3. It can go up and down in its intensity throughout the year with heat, humidity and exposure and

4. If you don’t take the right steps at home, you can continually re-infect yourself. This can really create confusion and a delay in treatment because the person can be labeled with psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema instead.

If this sounds like something you’ve been through and you’re still trying to find the cause of your itchy and uncomfortable rash, try my easy and natural remedy for treating ringworm at home. And yes, it really works!

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal infection. The technical name for it is “tinea.” Althete’s foot is tinea pedis. Jock itch is tinea cruris. Ringworm on the skin of the body is called tinea corporis. All of these are the same thing – a contagious fungal infection. Symptoms of ringworm include red bumps or scales on the skin, itching, rashes and on the scalp there can sometimes be patches of hair loss.

How do you get Ringworm?

Since ringworm is a fungus, it loves warm, moist environments. Yep, a real reason to wear shoes when walking through a locker room or outside a public swimming pool. Children can easily pass it to each other through hair or skin contact. Sharing combs, razors or clothing can pass ringworm between people. I’ve seen people get ringworm on their skin from their partner who has toenail fungus. Wearing the same gym clothes more than once is another way to get ringworm. Shaving legs and underarms is a sure way to spread ringworm further on the body.

Most commonly, I’ve seen people get ringworm from their pets – both dogs and cats – and more commonly when they adopt the pet from an animal shelter. Usually the person in the house who will get ringworm from a pet is the person who cuddles and pets the animal the most. Dogs and cats will usually have ringworm under their legs in the “armpit” area or on the feet. If you see your dog licking its paws a lot and if there are some patches of hair loss on the paws with red skin underneath, it may be ringworm. The dog licks its paws and then licks you…and presto, a new host for the fungus is born.

Once a person has ringworm, it can live in their clothing, towels and sheets and continually re-infect the person. Ringworm on the scalp can get on the pillow sheet and re-infect the skin night after night. On the torso, it can re-infect someone is they wear the same shirt or bra without washing it in between each use. And bath towels, especially if they don’t dry entirely between use, are a warm wet haven for ringworm. In some cases, the anti-fungal creams may actually work temporarily, but because the ringworm fungus is still in the house, the rash never fully goes away.

Ringworm can grow more on a person who is more over acid in pH. Staying alkaline in your diet by eating more fresh fruits and veggies helps create an environment that ringworm will naturally avoid. If one person in the house is going through more stress for any reason, that can create an acidic pH in the blood. That person will be the one who gets a ringworm infection, while the other household members are fine. Reducing stress and eating an alkaline diet help greatly to prevent and avoid ringworm.

The Secret to Treating Ringworm

The most important things to have for successfully treating ringworm are: consistency and patience. You must be consistent in applying treatment every single day and keep your skin free from potential sources of re-infection. Then, be patient. Ringworm should slowly get better, but the key word is “slowly,” because it does take a bit of time to get rid of it entirely. In spring/summer months or in warmer climates, it can take a few months to see the rash fully cleared, although it should be getting consistently better day by day. In the last few months you may just have a one or two red bumps left….but this is the most important time to remain consistent in treatment so you get rid of it ALL once and for all.

How to Treat Ringworm

In my experience, the most successful naturally remedy for treating ringworm is a 3-step daily regimen:

  1. Shower daily (yes this step is very important). Do NOT go 2 days or more without showering, whenever possible. Shower every single day.
  2. After showering and drying with a clean/dry towel, use a cotton ball to apply organic raw apple cider vinegar (acv) topically to the skin. Only apply where you have a rash, NOT to the whole body. Note: Do NOT apply acv to the genital area. Discard the cotton ball after each use.
  3. After the acv has dried, apply organic castor oil topically to the area where you have the rash. If you have a fungal infection in the genital area, you may apply the castor oil there after showering, but skip Step #2 and do NOT apply the raw apple cider vinegar. Wash and dry your hands after applying the castor oil.

If you are feeling itchy later in the day or before bed, you can apply another round of organic raw apple cider vinegar then organic castor oil to the affected areas before bed. You do not need to take another shower at that time.

Remember: Consistency and Patience

Raw apple cider vinegar is naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. White vinegar does NOT have the same effect. Do NOT use white vinegar as a replacement to organic raw apple cider vinegar.

Castor oil has amazing anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties as well and is known to be an “old-school cure” for treating ringworm and fungal infections. Neither olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, hemp oil or flax oil have the same effect as castor oil for eliminating ringworm. Do NOT use another oil as a replacement to organic castor oil for this treatment.

Very Important to Also Follow These Steps

While applying your daily natural treatment for ringworm, you should also adhere to the following to avoid re-infection at home:

  1. Wherever you have the ringworm rash, be sure to only wear clothing on that area one time before washing. If you have Althete’s foot, wear you socks only once before washing and do not wear dirty socks. If you have a rash under your arms, then wear your bra and/or shirt only once and wash your shirt and/or bra after every use. Same for nightgowns, robes, shirts, pants and gym clothes for wherever you have the rash.
  2. You don’t have to wash your clothes in hot water, at least in my experience. Warm water seems to work fine. Ideally, you should hang your wet clothes outside on a washing line in the sun to dry. If you are using a clothes dryer, then make sure the clothes are totally dry, in other words don’t let them sit half dry or wet in the dryer overnight.
  3. As much as possible, choose natural fibers in your clothes – such as cotton – and avoid artificial fibers that don’t breathe like polyester and nylon.
  4. Wash and dry your bath towel after every use. Especially if the rash is really active and alive. Over time, as the fungus heals, you can go 2 days with the same towel but only if the towel is dried fully after each use. Do NOT use a wet towel hanging on a towel rack from the day before.
  5. If you have a rash on your scalp, then place a clean towel on your pillow every night and replace the towel with a clean one in the morning. You could also put a clean pillowcase on the pillow every morning.
  6. Wash your bed sheets regularly. Aim for 2 times per week during this time. If you have a duvet cover on your duvet, then you also need to replace that with a clean one twice per week.
  7. Wash your hands with soap after petting animals in the house, every. single. time.
  8. If your pets have pet beds, then you want to wash the covers on their beds once a week during this time.
  9. If possible (and especially if it’s summer), try to expose the rash to 20-25 minutes of sunlight every day. The UV rays in the sun are great for killing fungus. Avoid the times of direct sun between 11am – 1pm. This is especially helpful if your rash is under the arms or under the scalp, in areas that are not normally or easily exposed to sunlight. Usually these areas are most difficult in treating ringworm for that reason!
  10. Finally, an important point if your rash is under the arms or on the legs – either 1) do not shave while the rash is active and alive or 2) if you do shave, use a new razor or razor blade every single time and discard after use. Do NOT share razors with anyone during this time. Also, keep your finger nails cut short to prevent any fungus from harboring under the nails after scratching.

Follow up to Treating Ringworm

After you’ve successfully treated your ringworm (yeah!!), it’s always good to follow up with some natural immune boosting remedies. In my experience, going an an anti-candida diet or herbal anti-fungal program does NOT help to cure ringworm. Your skin is just one of 5 elimination organs, and when one of the organs is weak, all the other ones have to do more work. You may need some liver detox or colon cleanse to get your body and elimination organs back into a healthy alkaline balance. Additionally, you may have some mineral deficiencies that need to be addressed with the right foods in your diet. For that, I recommend that you book a Skype health & nutrition consult. I can then give you more personalized professional advice to get you back to an excellent state of health. I’m in EST/GMT-4 for any time difference, but not to worry as I currently see clients all over the world.

Good luck and many blessing to your health!


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Detox:

More on Skin Cleansing:

More on Liver Cleansing:

What are the symptoms of Heavy Metal toxicity?

In the last few years, I’ve been working with clients with heavy metal toxicity more than ever before. The soil, air and water are more contaminated all over the world, and it’s only getting worse. Even certified organic fruit and vegetables can contain high levels of heavy metals, because the soil (and water) does not need to be tested in order to obtain organic status (crazy but true). There are several other reasons why heavy metal levels are increasing in our food supply, but I would have to go down the rabbit hole a bit in order to explain and you may or may not be ready to hear that story. In short, the health of our soil will always determine and affect the health of our bodies.

Heavy metals such as lead and arsenic can occur naturally in the soil, even in organic farms

Here’s what’s happening: many healthy eaters and detox/cleansing folks are getting sicker and feeling worse and can’t figure out why. Does that sound familiar to you? It seems to be especially true for that subset of people because once you eliminate the old mucoid plaque from your stomach, small intestine and colon you will absorb everything much more efficiently. That’s a good thing, unless what you are absorbing contains high levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, cadmium or thallium..in which case you absorb much more of it than everyone else. Combine that with a diet higher in vegetables grown in toxic soil (unbeknownst to you of course). The person eating more fruit and vegetables will have more toxic exposure than the person not eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, even if they are all organic, that is unless you are growing them yourself at home (and not adding anything bad to the soil. More on this in a future post for those of you already growing your own, like me).

Check out the list of symptoms below and see if maybe you need to look at doing some heavy metal detox as part of your healing journey. It’s an easy thing to miss because many of the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can mimic other chronic conditions, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, histamine intolerance, infertility, foggy brain, weight gain, itchy rashes, hives, urticaria, peripheral neuropathy, thyroid disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), auto-immune disease, kidney disease and even certain types of cancer. And if you are eating such a good diet compared to everyone else, you would never think that your food, water or nutritional supplements could be the source of your illness.

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

  • Foggy Brain – arsenic, lead
  • Fatigue (extreme and/or chronic) – arsenic, lead
  • Hair loss – thallium
  • Memory loss – lead, aluminum
  • Chronically bloodshot eyes – arsenic
  • Mee’s lines (deep ridges on fingernails and/or toenails) – arsenic
  • Impaired concentration – thallium, lead, aluminum
  • Impaired motor function, sensory function, and cognitive function – aluminum
  • Increased nervousness – thallium, lead
  • Irritability – thallium, lead
  • Dizziness – lead
  • Depression/mood changes, headache – lead
  • Skin discoloration – darkening (hyper pigmentation) – arsenic
  • Hyperkeratosis (most frequently on the palms and soles) – arsenic
  • Throat irritation / difficultly swallowing / chronic sore throat – arsenic
  • Impaired immune system – lead, arsenic
  • Generalized muscle aches, weakness and body pains – lead
  • Muscle cramps or muscle tenderness – arsenic
  • Numbness, tingling and pain (sensory) – arsenic
  • Spontaneous pain – arsenic
  • Localized edema – arsenic
  • Inflammation or pain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract – thallium, arsenic
  • Decreased libido – lead, arsenic
  • Decreased sperm count – lead, arsenic
  • Infertility – lead, arsenic
  • Peripheral neuropathy (hot or burning feeling in hands and feet) – arsenic
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – lead
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) – arsenic
  • Hemolytic anemia – lead
  • Nausea or diarrhea – arsenic
  • Low Vitamin D levels (inability to convert Vitamin D) – lead
  • Severe osteoporosis and osteomalacia – cadmium
  • Proteinuria (too much protein in the urine) – arsenic
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) – arsenic
  • Skin cancer – arsenic
  • Impaired lung function / fibrosis – aluminum
  • Lung cancer – cadmium, arsenic
  • Kidney (renal) failure – arsenic, cadmium, lead
  • Gout – lead
  • Kidney cancer – arsenic
  • Bladder cancer – arsenic
  • Liver cancer – arsenic
  • Prostate cancer – arsenic

-from the Agency for Toxic Substances & Diseases Registry
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

How do you know if you have heavy metal toxicity? Heavy metals are not so easy to test for since, upon exposure, your body will push them into 3 “safe” places as fast as possible – your bone, tissue and fat. That keeps the heavy metals from causing too much free radical damage in the essential organs. You can have a buildup of arsenic in the bone, for example, and the blood test can come up clean. In Iridology, I can determine very quickly if someone has a higher likelihood for heavy metal accumulation. Then, I will ask a series of questions about your symptoms vs. the highest potential sources of heavy metals. We then eliminate the suspect sources and re-assess your symptoms. If you are feeling better, then we continue on that track and add in herbal and natural forms of heavy metal detoxification. Getting on a low or no heavy metal diet is essential. You can get hair testing or a 24-hour urine test if you want, or you can put your time and money straight into chelation therapy or detoxification of heavy metals.

Heavy metals can also be added to fruits and vegetables through pesticide use

Three things need to be done in order to remove heavy metals from the body:
1) Eliminate the source (easier said than done, believe me…but possible) then
2) Detox the body from heavy metals in a safe and effective way (also easier said than done but possible) and
3) Support/strengthen the essential organs and immune system with a clean heavy metal-free diet and high anti-oxidants to protect organs from any degeneration

What is the best type of heavy metal detox? This is something that needs to be more individualized, based on the strength and weakness of all the other organs, including the skin, lungs, liver, colon and kidneys. Bio-individuality is the best approach to achieve maximum results. Taking additional zinc, selenium and Vitamin C is important for anyone with high heavy metals. Remember though, the first step is to eliminate the source. If you don’t do that, there is no amount of heavy metal detox that will help.

 


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Detox:

More on Skin Cleansing:

More on Liver Cleansing:

Our Farmhouse Kitchen for under $3K!! Before and After DIY Makeover

If you’re like me, then you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Chopping, grating, slicing, juicing, fermenting, harvesting, cleaning….the list goes on and on! The kitchen should be a room you love, otherwise you won’t want to spend any time there at all. If you can’t find the knife or cutting board you need, it becomes a hassle. Organized cupboards, dried foods and easy access to appliances make a whole world of difference. A nice vibe and a personal touch in the decor always give a good positive energy flow to the space. Changes to your diet and lifestyle have to start in the kitchen!

We recently did a DIY kitchen makeover, from a bad 80’s sitcom feel to a cool and funky farmhouse kitchen…and now our kitchen is a space I love! It’s a fun and organic feel. And for those of you on a budget, you’ll be excited to know that we did everything for under $3000! Now that IS amazing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to put a new spin and fresh look on your old dark and dated kitchen. Trust me! Here I’m going to share the results!

Farm Kitchen DIY – Before and After pics

The 80’s Kitchen Before

We definitely did not choose our house for the kitchen, to say the least. It’s small and a bit strange in its layout, with the sink by itself against a wall and not under the windows facing outside. The dark oak cabinets were screaming 1981 and my dreams of having a fresh clean modern kitchen were not reflecting reality at all. But, we fell in love with the land (for starting an organic farm) and the area (an all farming area in the mountains of North Carolina) and the rest of the house was nice too so it’s all good.

Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover BEFORE

The Farmhouse Kitchen After

Since we may rehab the entire kitchen in a few years, we didn’t want to waste money on new cabinets or counter-tops or even a new layout yet. Our goal was to give the kitchen we have a decent enough facelift to actually enjoy the space and start having fun preparing lots of healthy food, straight from our veggie garden. Because I was working with existing cabinets and counter-tops, I decided to go for a farmhouse look because a modern design wasn’t possible with what we had. Initially I figured the rehab would take 2 months. In the end, it took 6 months to complete. Well, everyone says these DIY’s take longer than you expect (without a full crew working on it like in those 30-minute HGTV shows that make everything look far, far too easy!).

Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover AFTER

Farmhouse DIY Makeover List of What we Did

1. Popcorn ceiling removal – we did this ourselves and it all crumbled off with wet rags, no scraping or spraying at all. Took 2 days in total to complete. (Then we went to Vegas for the weekend, true!)

2. Painted old light fixtures. No idea why but the previous owners had painted the discs red/orange so I painted them white. 1 day.

3. Walls and trim sanded, primed and painted. The old kitchen had a strange greenish paint that had a slight texture which has to be sanded and the trim was a bright orange/red. Yes, time to GO! This was a BIG job. We moved everything to one side and painted 1/2 the kitchen then moved everything to the other side and painted the other half. The paint we used for the walls is Pratt & Lambert “Winchester” in semi-gloss and for the trim, a semi-gloss white.  I also added beadboard wallpaper to the kitchen peninsula and painted it too. Beadboard wallpaper is amazing! 1 week.

Bye bye green walls! What a difference a coat of paint makes.

4. Cabinets primed and painted white, with beadboard wallpaper added and painted, then installed oil rubbed bronze hardware. I got the cabinet pulls/knobs and cabinet handles from amazon and drilled all the holes myself. Definitely buy the cabinet hardware drilling template if you are going to do this step yourself. This was a huge job that I hope to never have to do again! 1 week.

Kitchen Oak Cabinets BEFORE painting – Kitchen Makeover

 

Painted Kitchen Cabinets – AFTER with new hardware – Kitchen Makeover

5. Also painted a pull out cart next to the stove which was originally purple (yes purple). I painted it gray to match the counter tops. Later we realized that the shelf on this cart was too high for the magnetic knife strips on the wall, so my husband cut off one shelf. I then put wood filler in the gaps, then sand prime and paint again. 2 days.

Note the purple pull out cart next to the oven (it holds baking trays and drying racks inside)

 

The pull out cart next to the oven now painted in grey (and notice the new barn house style pocket door)

6. Finally we were ready to put up the farmhouse shelves! I forgot to mention that my husband pulled down the wall cabinets before we painted the walls. It was a bit of a spontaneous decision. We were both working in the kitchen preparing the walls one day and all of a sudden he said, “I’m taking these down!” And that was that. We had looked at photos or farmhouse wood shelves before that but hadn’t decided to do it or not. Well, in that moment we pretty much decided to go for it! After painting the walls, we measured the space and went to Lowes to buy wood. I had done A LOT of research checking blogs for farm style kitchen shelves, and wasn’t able to find exactly what I wanted which was a thick wood floating shelf without having to make a hollow wood shelf and without spending a lot of money on expensive wood. In the end, we bought simple pine 2 -inch thick shelves (that’s 2x12x12) and here’s a tip: Lowes will even cut the wood for you, just bring the measurements!

7. Farmhouse shelves phase 1: Sanding and staining. We decided on 3 shelves on one wall and 2 on the wall with the stove. Also we took out the old cabinet above the fridge and measure out space for shelves there too. I sanded and stained everything myself (phew!). The stain we used was Minwax Early American, left on the wood for 10 minutes. But, I used a pre-stain wood conditioner first which I think is an important step! Then I left to dry overnight and applied butcher block oil. I didn’t want to use any varnish because of the nasty chemical smells. This took 3 long days.

Sanding and staining the farm house style shelves

8. Farmhouse shelves Phase 2: Hanging the shelves. Prepare yourself for lots of measuring, and checking the level many times. We marked all the studs before painting because I knew with shelves like this, we had to hang them in the studs. Almost all the brackets got in studs with the exception of one, so I’d say we did ok! For the brackets, I found nice 8″L x 6″ H hand-made steel metal brackets on amazon. It comes in different sizes for different widths of shelves. We chose wood for a 12-inch width shelf after I measured our dinner plates and largest bowls. 2 days.

Measuring and installing the brackets for farmhouse kitchen shelves

The wood farm style shelves are up – yay!!

9. Hanging new lights – We installed a new ceiling light above the kitchen table and also put up a few battery-operated under the cabinet lights which went under the bottom kitchen shelf. We have very dated and 80’s style track lighting as well, but we weren’t up to the task of changing that just yet, so instead just installed Edison style LED light bulbs. 1 day.

10. Farmhouse doors – how could I forget my favorite part of the kitchen – our farmhouse style doors! We installed one to the pantry (where previously there was a bright red/orange door). Then we installed a new pocket door from the kitchen to the wood stove room, so we could close the kitchen if need be (if a guest is sleeping in the other room for example). The doors were a special order from Home Depot, then were stained in the same way as the shelves. I love these doors! 1 week (it took time for our carpenter to make the pocket door frame and we had to drywall, prime paint, etc after).

DIY Kitchen Makeover BEFORE – the old red/orange pantry door

DIY Kitchen Makeover AFTER – the new barn style pantry door LOVE!

11. New oven – By this point of the makeover it was the end of December (we had started in September), and I said to my husband, “Would it be great if we could get a new oven..like a Viking industrial oven?”  We started reading reviews and were going “wow” then looking at the price and saying “hmmm..” Literally a few days later we went to Habitat for Humanity and found a Dacor brand convection bake oven, already set for propane gas, for $500. It was unreal. And it fit into the space like a glove. Totally manifested it! This oven new sells for over $5K!! We were over the moon. 1 day.

12. Oven installation – had to get an electrician to install the 240V line for the oven, cost about $200. As you can see all of this was almost 1/3 of the $3000 we spent…and in that budget we still landed a $5K oven! This was over xmas/new year and it took some time to book the electrician.  2 weeks.

Oven envy! LOVE our Dacor convection oven, bought used

13. New farmhouse wood kitchen table from IKEA – and yes this is a big deal because it’s a 2-hour drive to IKEA where we live and I had been looking at this table for months. Then when we were ready to go to IKEA, the table was suddenly on sale for $80 less. Total score!! I wanted this particular table with the drop leaf on either side because our kitchen is so small, however we could have guests with this if need be and also, it’s not easy to find a thick farm style kitchen table with a drop leaf on either side. 1 day.

14. Chalkboard wall painted – Up until now, I thought we were going to have a small section of the wall painted in black chalkboard paint, mostly for my husband because it was his request. (He’s a graphic designer and wanted some room to draw.) Actually he wanted an entire wall for a chalkboard, and I kept saying, “No way. You can have this small space here!” I thought the black color would make the room look too small. Fast forward a few months into the project and all of a sudden I said, “Ok let’s do the whole wall.” He was like, “Really?!” I have no idea what happened, but now that the wall is done, I love it. It actually adds depth to the room and it’s so much fun to have guests over and let them draw whatever they want on the walls. Yes, a lot of our guests will ask if they can draw something! It’s really a lot of fun. I love having a real, genuine feel to the kitchen and the ever-changing chalkboard wall adds that for sure. 2 days.

The chalkboard wall and the farmhouse kitchen drop leaf table

15. Kitchen sink backsplash using grey wood-like floor tiles. Yes, we used floor tiles for our backsplash around the sink! I wanted something to go with the grey formica counter tops and not too much white because the cabinets above and below were now white. The grey colored wood tile was a perfect match to go with the counters and add something nice on all that white. We bought the tiles at Lowes and my husband did the tiles himself, first time ever doing tiling and what a great job! 3 days.

Kitchen sink backsplash with grey wood tile

16. Stove and farmhouse shelf backsplash – for this wall, we chose a large subway tile, much larger than normal because 1) it was less work to use bigger tiles 2) the price was actually better than buying small subway tiles and 3) the classic subway look is getting a bit old and we wanted to put a bit of a spin on it. We chose the 16″ x 4″ white tiles from Lowes. 3 days.

Large white subway tile backsplash – DIY kitchen makeover

17. Cutting board wall – this is one of my favorite changes to the kitchen! I bought a few hanging racks and S hooks and hung them on the wall to make the perfect cutting board station. I have to say that this cutting board rack is the most convenient things ever especially for someone who is often chopping up fruits and veggies several times a day!

Cutting boards hanging on S hooks – LOVE this!

18. Finally, the last touches! I added hooks for towels on either side of the sink, hung pictures on the walls, another 2 shelves on the chalkboard wall, two walnut wood magnetic knife holders that look amazing (one knife strip is never enough if you do a lot of food prep like me!), also shelves for spices and supplements which I installed over the tile after staining the shelves to match everything else, and a few bars and hooks from IKEA for a bit of organizing towels and hanging stuff. 2 weeks.

Magnetic knife holders wood farmhouse style kitchen

I hope you like the end result as much as we do, and if not…well maybe you got a few good ideas for your own DIY kitchen makeover. Looking back at all the steps, I have no idea how we did all of that! Now the fun part…is using the new kitchen!

Farm Kitchen DIY – Before and After pics

 

Is your Olive Oil fake or “cut” with inferior oils? Check this list!

Quality of food is one of the the most important factors in determining the quality of your health. If you’re using extra virgin olive oil for better heart health, clear skin, healthy gallbladder & liver and to avoid genetically modified oils such as canola oil or high heated rancid vegetable oils, that’s great! But, what if your olive oil really isn’t olive oil at all?! What is the brand you buy has unbeknownst to you been “cut” with sunflower, safflower or canola oil, then mixed with perfumes and green dye to look and taste like olive oil? Your liver/gallbladder flush detox will absolutely not work if your extra virgin olive oil wasn’t actually olive oil. Also, for anyone with food allergies, and especially anyone with sunflower seed or sesame seed allergies, it’s absolutely critical to not eat an adulterated olive oil. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or any type of inflammatory bowel disease, then you definitely want to avoid fake olive oils, especially since other cheap oils can create more inflammation in the gut (and the rest of the body too, including arthritis and gout). Not to mention trigger major brain fog too! Scroll down to check the list of unsafe olive oils vs. safe brands you can trust.

Learn how to make sure what you are buying is what you are getting with your olive oil!

More than 2/3 of olive oil imported into the USA is NOT olive oil!

A University of California Davis (UCD) study found that most olive oil imported into the United States fails to meet the international criteria for “extra virgin.”

The study found that 73 percent of 134 samples of the five top selling imported extra virgin olive oil brands failed the International Olive Council (IOC) sensory standards based on the results of two IOC-accredited sensory panels.

Sensory defects are signs that the oil samples were oxidized, of poor quality or adulterated with cheaper refined olive oil.

An earlier UCD study released in 2010 found that 69 percent of samples of imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin and sold in California failed to meet international extra virgin standards since the oils were too old, poorly made and/or adulterated.

How can you know if your olive oil is REAL or FAKE?

Don’t be a victim to the olive oil fraud. Check your brand against the UC Davis study results below:

These brands FAILED THE TEST to meet extra-virgin olive oil standards:

  • Bertolli
  • Whole Foods
  • Felippo Berio
  • Carapelli
  • Mezzetta
  • Pompeian
  • Mazola
  • Primadonna
  • Colavita
  • Sasso
  • Antica Badia
  • Star
  • Safeway
  • Coricelli

These brands PASSED THE TEST and met the standards for extra virgin olive oil:

  • Lucero
  • McEvoy Ranch Organic
  • Corto Olive
  • Omaggio
  • Bariani Olive Oil
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Lucini
  • Ottavio
  • Cobram Estate
  • Olea Estates
  • Kirkland Organic

Did you notice that the beloved Whole Foods brand FAILED the test? This is just to emphasize that you cannot simply trust in a company with good branding and nice advertising and believe that what they are selling is ok. (For more on this read my article called Why I don’t buy 90% of the “food” at Whole Foods.)

Personally, I buy California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This brand, while not organic, does not give me any of the side effects that I can feel when being “hit” with canola oil (extreme fatigue, bloating/gas, brain fog for 4-6 hours after), it tastes good, smells good and it’s in the Passed the Test list. While not organic, it’s at least what I call a “safe” food. They also have the Non-GMO project verified logo on the label which I always look for when buying a non-organic food. I can find this brand at most normal supermarkets where I live in North Carolina.

Why would companies sell cheap alternatives that are dyed and perfumed to taste like olive oil?

The olive oil industry is BOOMING. We’re talking billions of dollars every year. And there just aren’t enough olives grown to keep up with demand. In fact, tampering with olive oil to make more money is not a new scam. Even the Romans were known to have done it!

How else can you check your olive oil to know if it’s safe?

In his book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, there is one thing he wrote that really stuck with me. He said: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s not olive oil. That book was published in 2012 so I could reasonably estimate the number to be even higher today! In short, you get what you pay for with olive oil. Don’t settle for less, because your health is so much more valuable and important than anything else!

How to choose good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Here are a few more tips from Tom Mueller’s book Extra Virginity that can help you navigate the deceptive olive oil market:

  1. Look for olive oil with a “best by” date, or better yet..a date of harvest. Try to buy oils from this year’s harvest. “Best by” date is usually 2 years after an oil was bottled, so if you see a date that is 2 years away, the oil in more likely to be fresh.
  2. Phrases like “packed in Italy” or “bottled” in Italy do not mean that an oil was made in Italy, or even made with Italian olives. Generally speaking, avoid oils where a precise point of production – a specific mill – is not specified on the label.
  3. Don’t pay attention to the color of an oil. Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw. Both in flavor and aroma, genuine extra virgin olive oils have a marked fruitiness reminiscent of fresh olives, and typically some level of bitterness and pepperiness.
  4. Choose dark glass bottles over other containers that protect against light, and buy a quantity that you will use fairly quickly. Even an excellent oil can rapidly go rancid when left sitting under a half-bottle or air.
  5. Make sure that your oil is labeled “extra virgin,” since other categories – “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil,” not to mention “olive pomace oil” – have undergone chemical refinement which strips away olive flavors and many of the oil’s health benefits.
  6. Finally, remember: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s NOT olive oil.

How to Eat Clean: Start with Green Smoothies!

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without any chemical additives, flavorings or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Food Labels:

More on Food Additives and Food Allergies:

More on Genetically Engineering Foods:

Why you’re still low in Vitamin D (and it’s not about sunlight)

If you’ve ever suffered from low energy levels, fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, depression in winter months or just a general lack of enthusiasm over things, you probably ended up on a standard “why do I feel tired or sad all the time?” google search and concluded that you may be low in Vitamin D. You might have even followed up with a test from your doctor to confirm that you are indeed deficient. But, do you know why you are actually low in Vitamin D, even in summer months when, in theory, just a short exposure to the sun should refill your reserves?  Or even if you consume foods (such as dairy products or soy milk), which are “fortified” with Vitamin D?

There's more than meets the eye with Vitamin D...

There’s more than meets the eye with Vitamin D…

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone. Your body makes its own Vitamin D when you expose your skin to direct sunlight (that is, not while using sunscreen) for 10-20 minutes per day, depending on where you live. In North America, for example, you can get Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays during the months of March-October. In winter, your body should have enough reserve so you don’t run low.

You get sun a lot, so why still low?

Here’s the important missing link with Vitamin D: Your body must have magnesium in order to synthesize Vitamin D. And most people are deficient in magnesium, due to a number of reasons. Magnesium is known as the “relaxing mineral” because it helps to calm the central nervous system and relax the muscles, especially during times of stress. Given the high-stress fast-paced round-the-clock lives people are living today, it’s no wonder their magnesium gets burned out, literally on a daily basis. Magnesium is also one mineral that’s difficult to absorb, even in a good digestive system. And who has one of those anymore? A compromised gut, or a leaky gut, will not absorb nutrients well at all.

With no magnesium to make your Vitamin D, you can see how you can never have normal Vitamin D levels. Even if you live in a country with 360 days a year of sun. No wonder people in sunny climates are still low in Vitamin D and are going to the doctor for their D shots year after year.

Getting your Vitamin D levels up is much more about having magnesium than it is about exposure to sun!

The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium helps you have good energy levels through the day, maintains balanced blood sugars, strengthens kidneys, keeps blood and circulation strong, and is critical for managing stress. In fact, it’s so important for overall health that there’s a book called The Magnesium Miracle. And really, when you start getting the magnesium that your body has been waiting for, it literally feels like a miracle!

By the way, if you happen to crave sugar or chocolate (especially at night), that’s a sure sign of magnesium deficiency! Also, much of your mental health in general can improve with a daily boost of magnesium, which literally helps to calm the nerves.

How I have perfect Vitamin D levels

Yep, you guessed it…I take a magnesium supplement. Every. Single. Day. Summer. And. Winter. Too. And I say that because most people who will buy a new supplement will eventually forget to keep taking it, only for the bottle to become a wonderful collector of dust long forgotten for its original glory. Don’t let that happen with your magnesium! Take it daily, forever. And ever.

How much and what kind of magnesium? I recommend Magnesium Citrate, because it’s easily absorbed (and remember, most people do have compromised gut health). The RDA for magnesium is 400-600mg daily but here’s the deal. Your body (and blood sugars) will benefit from having magnesium all day long, not just one big hit in the morning or night. Otherwise you will be more likely to feel frazzled and start craving sugar at the other end of the day when your magnesium is running low. That’s why I recommend to take 200mg THREE TIMES per day, morning noon and night. With or without food is ok.

You’ll get plenty of other benefits from magnesium too. But most importantly in relation to Vitamin D levels, your body will finally be able to synthesize its own Vitamin D!

If you’re wondering what the signs of magnesium deficiency are, then check out this article I wrote on magnesium deficiency here.

The proof: Test results

I’ve never taken a Vitamin D shot in my life, or a D supplement for that matter. But 1.5 years ago I moved to Asheville NC with my husband, which is pretty cloudy and cold in wither months to say the least! Our first winter, I was pretty much indoors working all the time. And I must admit I did start to wonder about my Vitamin D levels -are they normal? Should I get tested? I wonder if I’m low since I haven’t seen the sun in months??

In February, I flew to Bangkok for work and decided to go straightaway and get a blood test, just to know for sure (nothing wrong with that and I highly recommend you do the same with your medical doctor).  The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a 25(OH)D blood test. The result? 100% normal levels of Vitamin D. My D3 levels were 45.6 ng/ml (considered sufficient above 30 ng/ml and very good above 40 ng/ml). Above 40 ng/ml, vitamin D is working well to regulate the level of parathyroid hormone and calcium in the body.

All I can say to that is THANK YOU magnesium!!

Health benefits of Vitamin D

Not to forget why Vitamin D is valuable (and important) for your health..Here are the reasons why your body needs Vitamin D in order to work properly:

  • Helps to absorb calcium and promote good bone density
  • Sustains good joint health
  • Maintains good energy levels
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps strengthen blood

Signs you may have a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Low calcium levels
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue/low energy levels
  • Depression/melancholy
  • Muscle cramping/weakness
  • Joint pain

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

More on Immune System:

What Are Some Benefits of Estrogen Therapy?

Menopause is a time of great change for women and one where confusion often looms heavy. There are pros and cons of estrogen therapy that can make it difficult to know whether to ask for or accept treatment or whether to suffer with the never-ending hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats that can make sleep elusive.

Yes, previous research has made estrogen hormone replacement sound dangerous. The higher degree of blood clots and heart attacks can have any woman turn and run to the nearest health food or vitamin shop in search for alternative means of treatment. This does not have to be the case. Arming oneself with the facts about estrogen therapy can uncover phenomenal benefits that can be achieved in a safe manner.

What are some of the benefits of estrogen therapy for menopausal women?

First up: the restoration of elasticity and lubrication to the vaginal tissue. This helps decrease the risk of infections, improves urinary incontinence, and restores libido, sexual arousal, and pleasure.

The next item high on the list of estrogen therapy benefits is the reduction or cessation of night sweats and hot flashes. No more soaked sheets and clothes changes to get through the day and night!

Another positive result of estrogen therapy is the lowering of bad (LDL) cholesterol and the raising of good (HDL) cholesterol.

Estrogen therapy can also help balance erratic mood swings and stabilize emotions.

About Estrogen Therapy

Estrogen therapy is not advised in women who have had or are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Females with blood clotting issues should also avoid estrogen therapy.

Kingsberg Medical has different types of estrogen hormone therapy, and knowing which one is best for your needs is vital before beginning treatment.

Estrogen pills can reduce the symptoms of menopause and lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. On the negative side, they can bring a slight increase in blood clot and stroke risks. When combined with synthetic progestin, estrogen therapy can increase heart attack and breast cancer risks. Oral estrogen should not be used by individuals with liver problems.

Estrogen patches are safe for women with liver issues as the estrogen bypasses that organ and goes through the skin into the bloodstream. There is a belief that the risk of blood clots is lower with estrogen patches, along with the risks of stroke and cancer. Do not expose estrogen patches to high heat, tanning beds, saunas, or direct sunlight.

Topical estrogen such as creams, gels, and sprays are absorbed directly into the skin and through to the bloodstream. This also makes them a safer alternative over pills. It is important to make sure not to allow the treated area to get wet or sweat until after the estrogen has had the chance to dry. Also, do not put on clothes until the area is completely dry. Remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after application. There have not been enough studies to determine safety factors at this time for topical estrogen therapy. Do not allow others to come into contact with the treated area until dry to avoid cross contamination.

Vaginal estrogen treatments may consist of suppositories, creams, and rings. These forms of hormone replacement therapy only treat the vaginal symptoms of menopause, so if there are other issues, this is not the best choice of treatment. Long-term use of vaginal estrogen is not recommended for women with an intact uterus as it may increase the endometrial cancer risk.

One very important thing to remember is that progestin and progesterone therapy are not the same things. Progesterone is a natural form of hormone replacement whereas progestin is synthetic. The use of progestin in menopausal women increases the risk factors exponentially. Progesterone is safe to use with or without estrogen therapy.

How Can Estrogen Therapy Actually Help?

Estrogen therapy can help women facing the adverse effects of menopause by entering the bloodstream and going directly to the estrogen receptors in the body. Aside from the benefits mentioned in the first section, other positive changes will occur.

Estrogen therapy helps to maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Estrogen works with testosterone, vitamin D, growth hormone, and calcium to stimulate bone production and keep it from slowing down as old bone cells are resorbed. This can prevent the concern that women lose up to 20 percent of their essential bone mass after menopause.

In order to avoid estrogen dominance where estrogen levels become too high, and progesterone levels are lower than needed, hormone replacement therapy specialists often prescribe progesterone cream to help maintain proper hormone balance. Speak with an HRT specialist before beginning any type of hormone replacement therapy.

 

Happy disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content. Thank you!

Find out where I moved to….! HINT: It’s a healing place

If you’ve been following my travels and adventures around the world for the last 15+ years, then you know I’ve been to a lot of places! I lived in Thailand for 6 years, traveled all over SE Asia, explored Central and South America for almost a year and most recently, lived in Tel Aviv Israel for the last 2 years. So where do you think I would have moved to next…and how/why did I choose it?

First I have to say that I am sorry for not updating my blog in such a long time! I was super busy in 2015, working at new detox retreats, traveling for work, and being blessed with many new coaching & Iridology clients over Skype. Did I mention that I also left Israel, got married, moved to a new country AND found a house?! Yep, we were beyond busy. And, truth be told, I’m really not a fan of announcing things until they’re a done deal. Luckily, my husband is the same way on this one. We cherish our privacy in making important life decisions, and wanted to stay focused on what was best for us, not getting distracted by other people’s goals or opinions.

More time in nature is cleansing for the soul

More time in nature is cleansing for the soul

Where we ended up

Drumroll please….ok here it is: we are now living near Asheville, NC in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, USA. We have divinely clean well water to drink, fresh mountain air to breathe and are surrounded by mountains, trees and creeks. It’s the most quiet and peaceful place you can imagine.

The best part is that we plan to have cabins and invite people (like you!) here to do detox programs & retreats. Yes, a real chance to unwind, de-stress and get back to basics with 100% organic smoothies, juices and food. Literally, this is the place to feed your soul. We are so excited and have a lot of work to do, but finally I can offer the best detox and fasting programs that I know work with a focus on spiritual growth and health too.

For the summer of 2016, we may just be open for “glamping” …that’s “glamorous camping” in case you didn’t know! Imagine sleeping in a tent right on the edge of a mountain creek with the sounds of water and birds, and open campfires at night under the stars to discuss healing and health topics, or just to play music and get back to living in the moment. We are waiting for you!

We're about 20 miles outside of Asheville in the mountains, real country living!

We’re about 20 miles outside of Asheville in the mountains, real country living!

Why we chose North Carolina

Lots of people want to know – what’s so special about North Carolina?? It all goes back to 16 years ago when I thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, yep…just like the movie A Walk in the Woods. Except I actually finished the whole 2168-mile trail, but that’s another story! Anyway the trail goes through North Carolina and Tennessee through the Great Smoky Mountains, a beautiful area of lush green mountains and wilderness. While on the trail I had heard about the nearby town of Asheville and what a cool place it was. In fact, a lot of people got off the trail to visit Asheville and wound up staying there for good! I didn’t want to stop hiking so I never visited the town, but it stayed with me as a place I would like to check out someday…

Secret pocket of natural beauty - Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina

Secret pocket of natural beauty – Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina

Fast forward 15 years later and I was living in Tel Aviv with my partner. We decided that we wanted to leave Israel for a few years and started thinking about where to go. Out first thoughts were to stay in the Mediterranean region since we both love the climate and the food (mmm…pomegranates and fresh oranges!). We considered Cyprus and even Spain or Portugal; however things seemed to be getting more tense in Europe with migrants, instability, etc and we decided that maybe now is not the best time to move there.

We've got gorgeous fresh local organic fruit and veggies galore in Asheville

We’ve got gorgeous fresh local organic fruit and veggies galore in Asheville

From there, we did the whole “well, where else can we go?” and it just organically, magically and serendipitously fell into place. We had already traveled a lot, in SE Asia, Central America and even South America…and we were pretty sure we knew what we wanted and what we didn’t want. We were ready to grow our own food so we needed clean farmable land and a good source of water. We wanted to be in nature, in the peace and tranquility of mountains and trees. We wanted to be in a safe place where I could feel comfortable walking or hiking alone. We wanted to be closer to my parents, who live in USA and are in good health but are getting older and may need my help more in the next several years. We wanted good internet since we both work online. And we wanted a nice vibe of a place with some type of interesting art and music scene, good farmer’s markets and nice people.

Fresh local (and organic) food - that's my kind of place!

Fresh local (and organic) food – that’s my kind of place!

After scratching our heads for awhile over that long list, I finally said, “Hey I know this place in North Carolina that I always wanted to check out. Why don’t we go there, rent a house for a month and have a look around?” So that’s what we did. Found a place on airbnb and after 2 weeks in Asheville, we both said YES, we really love it here. From there we started looking at property, and as they say, the rest is history.

How can you know it’s right?

Because it feels right. I’ve followed my instincts my whole life, and they haven’t steered me wrong yet. That’s pretty much how I live. I’ve never been one to talk about doing things; I just do them. And I’m not afraid of trying or making a mistake. How will you ever know what you want if you never get out there and give something new a try?

We wanted nice people and good vibes and a chance to live in nature

We wanted nice people and good vibes and a chance to live in nature

You have to take chances in life if you want to really live. I thought about how I wanted to feel in my next home, and I kept that vision strong. Suddenly the idea of Asheville, NC came to my mind and it felt right. Going there confirmed the feeling. Most people think we are pretty crazy for making such a dramatic move, but it seemed perfectly natural and logical to us.

The Law of Attraction really works if you stay focused on what you want (not on what you don’t want). I even got a book deal just from using the Law of Attraction!

What’s better about North Carolina

I get a lot of emails from people who want to move to Thailand, Ecuador or even Costa Rica, and they ask me questions like “how do you compare this country to that one?” or “where should I move?” These are really impossible questions for me to answer because what’s best for me is probably not what’s most important to you (and that’s perfectly ok!). Thailand was an amazing experience and I cherish the 6 years that I lived there. Having walks on the beach and access to tropical fruits was a dream. Eventually I wanted more challenge with my work and I was also seeking a more balanced life (since my whole life was work!). That led me to my (now) husband and moving to Israel which, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing places on earth. To float in the Dead Sea or to wander through the ancient streets of Jerusalem…it’s just pure magic. We lived 300m from the sea in Tel Aviv and I loved having weekends off, like a normal person finally!

We eventually decided that we were craving more time in nature, and a chance to grow our own food. Even though we had access to a weekly CSA delivery in Tel Aviv, it just wasn’t enough. We wanted to know exactly what was in the soil and we wanted the very best water for our vegetables too.

We have a different Tailgate market (aka farmer's market) every day of the week!

We have a different Tailgate market (aka farmer’s market) every day of the week!

The only solution was to move to a place where we could grow our own. In the meantime, we wanted to be able to buy directly from the farmers. Asheville is literally buzzing with farm-to-table restaurants and there is a different organic farmer’s market every day of the week. I was very impressed to see raw goat’s milk for sale, raw sauerkraut and fresh organic wheatgrass shots in addition to the most amazing organic grapes you will ever taste in your life, truly. Quality of food is a huge priority for us and it was at the top of our list in deciding where to go. Next to that, we wanted to be around genuinely nice people, and we definitely found that in Asheville. It’s a sheer pleasure to meet people who are friendly and actually seem happy!

Our neighbors :)

Our neighbors 🙂

We knew we needed a place with good water and we wanted to be able to afford to buy some land too, not a small lot. Again, Asheville ticked all those things for us. And it still has an urban music scene and enough culture to feed our creative souls. I can own land in NC (unlike Thailand); it’s safe to walk around alone as a woman (unlike Ecuador) and the roads are excellent and it’s a safe area to live (unlike Costa Rica). Not to say that you can’t be happy, healthy and successful living in any of those other places, but North Carolina has more of what we need for where we’re at. Since life is impermanent, all of this can and will change!

By the way, did you know that Obama wants to move to Asheville? We had no idea! It would have never been the reason for us to consider this place as a home, but his interest in the area has definitely put Western North Carolina on the map. Now the New York Times, Washington Post and lots of other national newspapers are writing article on Asheville as the newest, coolest place to visit. Interesting!

We're really excited to explore the area - there are a lot of hidden gems (including us!!)

We’re really excited to explore the area – there are a lot of hidden gems (including us!!)

This is truly a healing place. It’s in my vision to have juice fasting, water fasting and spiritual fasting here for the right guests who are interested in genuine healing. I’ll be offering Iridology, Crystal Healing, workshops and detox retreats in addition to fermentation classes, raw food cooking classes and clean food eating. Stay tuned!

Getting out of the All or Nothing mentality

Do you find yourself swinging back and forth between good and bad days? One day you do everything “perfect” and the next day is a complete disaster? When you’re doing good, everything is easy and you’re making the right food choices, exercising and feeling great. When you’re doing bad, all the comfort foods sneak back in, the exercise goes out the window and the guilt and self-loathing starts creeping in. It’s a dangerous and slippery slope. Maybe you’ve even had good and bad weeks or good and bad months. The all-or-nothing game is not only unhealthy but it’s exhausting and it will never, ever work. Read that again: the all-or-nothing mentality does not work. Aren’t you ready to try a new approach and get out of the feeling of being trapped?

You can achieve your goals!

Why all-or-nothing doesn’t work

If you’ve started identifying certain foods as “good” or “bad,” then you’ve already assigned a negative energy to the “bad” foods. That means if YOU eat that food, you are also bad (in your subconscious mind that is). After all, anyone who is good will only eat good foods, right? If you’ve tried this road before, you already know the way it goes. No one can eat perfectly “good” all the time. So when you’re in the “good” phase and you eat a “bad” food, you’re already beating yourself up before you even clean up the plate. Then, the guilt, shame and negative self-talk starts. Why did I do that? Why did I mess up? Now I feel bad.  Well, since I messed up a little, I might as all go for it. What other “bad” food do I want? And before you know it, you’re out of control and back in the “bad” day, week or month phase.

It’s a viscous cycle that will never be broken unless you start looking at your food and yourself in a different way.  Because really, it’s not even about the food. It’s about you!

Stop the old thinking

Remember, the thoughts you have now are creating your future. Telling yourself that you’re not good enough hasn’t worked for years and will only set you up for a future of not feeling good enough. What if you are good enough right now? Get out of the negative self-talk.  It will never serve your greater good and it will never help you feel better.

If you catch yourself slipping down the self-loathing slope, STOP your thought. Replace it with a more positive thought. Try these positive affirmations. Repeat over and over until you start to feel better:

  • I am who I am and who I am is okay!
  • Today is a new day and a new beginning, a chance to be whomever I want to be.
  • I let go of old limitations. I am at peace with myself. I am motivated!
  • I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
  • I am in the process of making positive changes in all areas of my life.

Law of Attraction

Reward yourself (yes, it’s okay!)

This goes completely against where you were before so brace yourself. See your “good” foods as the nutrient-dense and health-filled choices you make every day to support your journey towards better health. Then, look at your “bad” foods as a reward food or comfort food to treat yourself for all the great work you’ve done all week.

Start with a “treat day” once a week. Choose one favorite drink and one favorite food. (No, you can’t fill your cart with a week’s worth of junk and gorge yourself all day. It doesn’t work like that!) Get the best quality and most expensive version of your favorite food because you deserve the very best. Eat that food with pride and joy.

Whoah!  Stop right there! That’s a real head spinner if you’ve been beating yourself up for eating that “bad” food all these years. How can you suddenly be rewarded for something you always thought saw as your weakness or a mistake?

You’re only 100% human. No one is asking you to be 100% perfect. Do you know anyone who has never made a mistake? Forgive yourself for any and all mistakes you made in the past. You are worthy! The future is where your power lies. You’re doing the very best you can, and when you know more, you will do better! Changing the way you look at yourself will help you to change the way you look at your food, and that will also help you to change the way you look at yourself. Get it? 😉 Good!

You only get a treat day if you’ve done good all week. That’s how it works.

After 1 month, spread out your “treat day” to once every 2 weeks. You can also use your reward day for a party, wedding or special occasion, but in general it’s best to choose to same day, say Friday or Saturday. After 3 months, you’re ready to have just one treat day per month. Life is quite comfortable and joyful when you still occasionally get to indulge.

Remember, one treat day per month means that 353 days per year you are eating well. 12 days per year you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done. Over the course of your life, can you see where the power lies? You’re doing SO MUCH GOOD for your body and your health! Inhale, exhale. You can do this!

(Here’s the real secret: Over time, you won’t have to count your reward days because you will naturally make the right choices and eventually you won’t even want those reward foods anymore. It happens organically and easily when you change the way you think!)

4-hour or 4-minute or 4-second diets will never work because they keep you in the instant result mindset. Think healthy habits for a long and happy life instead!

How to stop the cycle

If you need a good reminder & support, print out the next section and put it on your fridge or vision board:

  1. One Green Smoothie a day is better than none.
  2. 20 minutes of exercise is better than none.
  3. One raw food meal (salad, green juice or smoothie) per day is better than none.
  4. You can’t get results if you don’t start. Sooner is better than later.
  5. Never give up. Always try your best. If you get off track, go back to #1.

You can break the cycle of the all or nothing mentality. No one is born an expert. Everyone has to work hard to get results. But, you have to do the work and you have to work at it every day.  It’s okay to reward yourself for a job well done. You are the master of your destiny. You have the power to create the life you want. Start by loving yourself …..and watch as the transformation unfolds.

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Manifestation:

More on Motivation:

Win a FREE Green Smoothie Starter Kit Superfood Bundle!

It’s time for another awesome giveaway! I’ve been lucky enough to team up with the generous folks at Navitas Naturals and they’ve prepared a Superfood Starter Kit for one lucky winner!  This is YOUR chance to win a FREE quality and organic superfoods and get blending to make the best Green Smoothies ever!

Thanks to John Wiley & Sons for gifting a copy of my book Green Smoothies for Dummies to the WINNER too!

Green Smoothie Giveaway

Navitas Naturals Green Smoothie Starter Kit Giveaway: Online Contest

This FREE giveaway is for YOU: 5 Navitas Naturals Superfoods + My NEW Book: Green Smoothies for Dummies
(Over $100+ total value!!!)

How to Sign Up

The more tasks you complete in RaffleCopter, the greater your chances are to WIN!

Good Luck and Healthy Blessings!

Click on the Rafflecopter link to Enter to WIN:

Start Date: 20 April 2015
End Date: 30 April 2015
Winner Announced: 30 April 2015
Open to: US and Canada Addresses ONLY
Prize: Navitas Natural Superfood Bundle and Green Smoothies for Dummies Book

No purchase necessary. 
Contest closes at Midnight (EST), 30 April 2015.
Winner announced at 12pm noon (EST) 30 April 2015 EST on twitter @rawfoodbliss, FB at http://facebook.com/healthybliss and also here on http://healthybliss.net.

Superfoods – Do you need them? (Answer: Yes!)

In my book Green Smoothies for Dummies, I explain how Superfoods can help you get healthier:

What is a Superfood?

“A superfood is a natural food with exceptionally high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace minerals, enzymes, proteins, or special healing benefits. Regular food becomes a superfood when it’s nutritionally dense for its particular size and weight. That means that compared to other foods of the same size, a superfood contains even more nutrition and healing power. Think of the difference between regular fuel and premium fuel for your car. That’s the same logic applied to normal food versus superfoods.”

Why Superfoods?

“Superfoods are especially good for anyone trying to reclaim health, increase energy levels, improve endurance, prevent disease, or simply feel better. More nutrition means better health and wellbeing. It’s that easy.

In today’s modern, busy world, most people are deficient in minerals and vitamins — a situation worsened by the stressed-out lifestyles so many people live. Life doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon, so taking a practical approach to nutrition is important. That’s where superfoods really can help you live a better, longer, healthier life.”

Navitas Natural Superfoods

One of the things I recommend when buying superfoods is to make sure you’re buying high quality and organic. Thankfully, Navitas Naturals is virtually a one-stop shop for all your superfoods…everything from maca to lucuma to pomegranate powder and of course wheatgrass, chia, hemp and more; all 100% certified organic. I’ve created what I think is the perfect Starter Kit for Green Smoothies. Here’s what we have in this giveaway:

Hemp Seed – Hemp contains all the amino acids and is a great vegan plant-based protein.

Chia Seeds – A fantastic source of fiber and protein, again great for vegans and vegetarians.

Cacao Powder – Who doesn’t love a good healthy chocolate fix? Add 1 Tbsp to your smoothie for a yummy choco taste.

Wheatgrass Powder – Hey if we’re talking Green Smoothies…we need to have a “green”! Wheatgrass contains all the minerals, making it a perfect food.

Antioxidant Superfruit Mix Blend – I wanted you to get the most bang for your buck on this so I asked for the Goji – Pomegranate – Acai Blend…giving you a chance to high boost on 3 of the most potent healing fruits on the planet!

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway? You can buy these items here and give yourself the gift of health – you deserve it!

Green Smoothies for Dummies: The Book

The winner of this giveaway is getting more than 90 Green Smoothies recipes plus a complete guide to Green Smoothie making, from beginner to expert in my book: Green Smoothie for Dummies. (Actually you’ll get TWO copies!)

(If you already have the book, thanks for your support! And please remember to leave a review on amazon!)

To enter to win, Answer this in the comments below:
What’s your favorite SUPERFOOD to add to your Green Smoothie?
(My answer: Oh no, Can I only choose ONE? Ok, I’m going with HEMP SEED!)

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