My favorite healthy smoothie recipe

2016-06-28 13.52.35This is one recipe for a healthy smoothie I always go back to when I have all the ingredients. When I don’t, I just don’t use them 🙂 A word of caution, I am not that great with measurements when it comes to food. I eyeballed what I was putting in, so the measurements are approximate.

Don’t forget to read below the recipe for my notes about this healthy smoothie!

This makes two servings, or in our family, one big serving for me and two little ones for the girls 🙂

1 banana

2 generous handfuls of frozen fruit

about 12 oz of milk

1/2 tsp of molasses

1/4 tsp of chia seeds

1/4 tsp of kelp powder

1 TBS of peanut butter

1 raw egg

Blend everything together and enjoy promptly! I would not store this even in the fridge, so whatever is left gets discarded. Otherwise known as, mommy drinks it.

Now, notes:

We do buy majority of our food organic, so everything in this list is organic. I get bags of frozen organic fruit at Costco.

We only drink raw milk at this point and I get it at Artichoke Dairy in West Newbury, MA.

Molasses add a touch of sweetness to the drink and are actually good for you! Molasses are a rich source of iron, B vitamins, folate, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Read more.

Chia seeds have recently come out as a new superfood and you can read more here. The only thing with seeds is that not everyone can digest them well. So using less is probably a better idea than using more. Here is another great post on all the benefits of chia seeds from Jen Reviews.

Kelp is a great source of iodine to support healthy thyroid function. Read more here. In this small amount, you can’t actually taste it in the smoothie, which is a big plus for me.

We get our eggs at Tendercrop Farm. I would not use a store-bought for eating raw. Again, you can’t taste it in the smoothie.

Disclaimer: No part of this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. Nothing on this post is to be construed as medical advice; I am not a doctor, I am only relating my personal experience. Please discuss your personal health with your personal, qualified health practitioner before making changes to your diet or adjusting/discontinuing any medication. I am not responsible for any adverse outcomes associated with using or misconstruing advice or information on this site.

Period Tips for Women in Your Life

I’ve recently shared an article about using the pill by teenagers for pain management on my personal FB page and I thought it would be valuable enough to share here with you. I liked the article because it makes sense to me and it actually has references cited, a bit more scientific. The comments on the article and on my page all have something in common, what about endometriosis? Or severe cramping/bleeding? The author of the article actually addresses those concerns in the comments as well, but I would like to offer a little something to ponder.

Those first few periods are when the girls’ bodies are learning the whole ovulation, creating new hormones, sloshing old tissue thing… It’s going to take few tries to get right. When we introduce synthetic hormones, the body has no chance to learn to work in the way its meant to. I would love to see a study done where the age the pill is introduced is then compared to pain levels 10 years down the road, presence of endometriosis, fertility and so on.

Proper support at that time of the month is super-important. We have lost the art of slowing down and I think you can agree, pain lying down and not moving and pain walking around are perceived differently. There are also many things that can be tried for pain and flow management before settling on a pill. I remember asking a reflexology practitioner I was taking a class with, “So, if I do these points my period will feel better?” She just looked at me and said that having severe discomfort is not normal and the whole body needs to be addressed. The whole, “I’m not supposed to be suffering” thing stuck with me since then.

But what can you do when you are in pain? Here are some of my suggestions and remember that this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix necessarily.

  • Drink a cup of herbal tea every day starting a week before the period and several times a day during a period. I have a lovely Moon Ease blend from Mountain Rose Herbs at the studio for sale. I can even ship it to you if you’d like to try it. In the months when I don’t forget to actually drink it, my period is mild and not bothersome.
  • Use an especially formulated essential oil blend from Young Living Oils. Make it into a massage oil and massage the lower back and the abdomen. Contact me to purchase.
  • Reflexology! You’d want to do a couple of sessions before a period starts. Again, the idea is that in a healthy body where everything is functioning, the period should not be too terrible. I offer a lovely Thai Reflexology, that just might help.
  • Acupuncture can also help through the same principle. I am happy to direct you to an acupuncturist I like.
  • Reiki, of course, can be a gentle way to deal with aches and pains.
  • Tibetan Hot Oil treatment is also meant to help with pain and with elimination (and that is what a period is for, to slosh off the old cells).
  • Compression underwear! Yes, I know, but I find it helps in the first few days when it feels like the belly just wants to fall out. Instead of straining to pull it in, outsource the job to those slimming high-waist undies.
  • Gentle yoga poses can help you settle down, relax, and release the tension from your tummy.
  • Lying down and taking it easy. Do not underestimate the power of rest. The world will not stop if you take few days off.

There are many alternative ways of managing pain. They might not be as easy as taking a pill, but you also are not introducing artificial hormones to the body either where long term effects might not be entirely clear.

Now you might think that your symptoms can not possibly be helped by such simple steps. But have you tried them? Try them for three months and see what happens. What do you have to lose?

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Where we are going

WAPFlogosstackedRGBMy relationship with food and my weight has changed greatly over the years until I have arrived to where I am now with my choices.

I’ve gained quite a bit of weight when I was going through my divorce years ago and then used all kind of methods to try and lose it. I exercised religiously and intensely, I followed different diets, took diet pills, counted calories. You name it, and I probably did it. I’d lose weight, I’d gain weight, but overall, I did lose weight and got to a better place weight-wise. But it wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I became at peace with my body and maintaining my healthy weight stopped being a struggle. I have also discovered Weston Price Foundation through attending an Herbal Conference. A lot of the teachers there emphasized how important good nutrition is and their advice was very different from Standard American Diet guidelines. That new way of eating seemed to make sense though, and so that’s what I’ve been following for the last maybe 5 years. I’m not a strict adherent to this diet, but this is something I always go to when I’m feeling less than good or if my clothes start fitting a little tighter.
So, what is it in a nutshell?
  • No processed foods – if it comes in a box or a can, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
  • No substitutions, imitations, or fat-free anything – this is a full fat diet where healthy fat is your friend, not your enemy.
  • Dairy is allowed, with preference given to full-fat, raw dairy from grass-fed, pastured cows. Raw milk is available at Artichoke Farm in Newbury. If you are not up to raw milk, non-homogenized (second best) is available at Appleton Farm in Ipswich.
  • All grains, seeds, and nuts should be soaked before cooking. I don’t do this for nuts, but I also don’t eat a lot of them. If it’s a big part of your diet, you should soak and then dry them.
  • Fermented foods are a staple, eaten every day (small amounts).
  • Bone broth is another staple that you have regularly.
  • This is not a raw veggie diet, most vegetables are cooked before eating.
It takes some time to have everything in place and it shouldn’t be an all or nothing approach. Like with any diet, it works best to plan your meals and then it just takes some time to get used to thinking about your meals a bit differently. It doesn’t take a lot of effort for me to put some beans in a bowl with water in the evening and then put them in a crockpot the next day. After they are done, I can add them to my meals much easier. The same with the bone broth – I make it in my crockpot and after it cools, divide into portions and freeze to use later for soup.

[Back to Basics] week 1

honeylemonwaterThis week we are focusing not so much on taking foods out, but on adding certain things in. Think of this week as a transition week that will help you prepare.

Mainly, we are adding two things to your day:
  • Starting the day with some warm honey/lemon water
  • Drinking yogi tea throughout the day
Start the day with warm honey/lemon water

After you get up and brush your teeth, have a small cup of warm, not cold, honey/lemon water. This should be your first drink of the day. I use a small cup and fill it with about 4 oz of hot water, add half a teaspoon of raw, local honey, and then a squeeze of lemon. I cut a lemon in half and just squeeze the half into my cup, but not all of it. I think I end up with about a tea spoon of lemon juice. You want to sip this as you are going about your morning and then have breakfast.

You really should get honey at a farm stand. Tendercrop on 1A, formerly Canaan, has local honey. If you are buying at the supermarket, just read all the labels. A lot of supermarket honey is not actually honey. You are looking for raw and local. Local just has more benefits later on in the year as it will help with your seasonal allergies.

I got a big bag of lemons at Costco, which makes it convenient and affordable since I’ll have enough to last me the whole month. If you have one of those squeeze bottles of lemon juice, you can use that in a pinch, just go easy on it. You are looking for a pleasant lemon flavor, not to feel like you stuck a lemon in your mouth 🙂

This little drink helps kick-start your digestion and prepare you to have breakfast. It’s important that water temperature is hot or warm, but not cold. I also find that about 4 oz is enough and you do not need more than that, unless you want more.

Here is a link to an article tooting its benefits:

Drink yogi tea between meals

You can buy yogi tea at a store, but it’s much nicer to make your own, it just tastes better.

Here is a recipe:

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil
Add 20 whole cloves
Add 20 whole green cardamom pods
Add 20 whole black peppercorns
Add 5 sticks of cinnamon
Simmer for 15-20 minutes (uncovered is fine, it smells nice!)
Add 1/4 teaspoon of any black tea.
Simmer for 1-2 more minutes and turn off.

In a large cup, pour 8 oz of tea and add 4 oz of milk, enjoy!

Tips: Basically, you add half cup milk to a cup of liquid. I like to pour hot tea and then add a splash of milk, so it’s not exactly the same proportions as the recipe.

You want to avoid heating this up in the microwave, just on the stovetop. But if the only way you’ll drink is by using microwave, go for it.

If you don’t drink milk, do not use milk substitute (almond or soy milk). Instead, you can add a bit of coconut oil, or ghee. If you do drink milk, best is raw, second best is non-hydrogenated. That is available at Appleton Farm in Ipswich on 1A (call ahead, they don’t always have it, it has yellow top).

I find that this is sweet tasting enough, but you can also add a little honey to it.

You can heat up the tea together with milk, instead of adding milk later.

These are two things I’d like you to start doing. You might find that by drinking yogi tea you are not as hungry. Honor that feeling. Try to distinguish when you are truly hungry from when you are eating because it’s time to be eating.

And please share your experiences and ask questions!

YL Oils: R.C. and breathe easy!

So… I recently signed up to be a Young Living essential oils distributor. While I don’t care about the distributing part, I did want to have access to high quality oils for myself and for my clients. I got my starter kit just the other day and after excitedly smelling each and every oil that was in the kit, and sharing them with my husband, I wanted to actually diffuse something. Since few of us are sniffly, I thought that the blend with eucalyptus would be a good choice. The blend that was in my starter kit is called R.C. and it includes essential oils of three different types of eucalyptus along with other things. I got the diffuser set up with this oil and within minutes was telling my husband that my sinuses feel open. It was super quick and it smelled good too 🙂

I would recommend this blend for the fall when the sniffles come around. It’s also very economically priced, just $13.49 retail. You can read more about the blend here. And if you’d like to purchase it at some savings, just let me know and I’ll be happy to order it for you.

And, if you check Young Living oils and decide you want to become a distributor, please use this link to sign up or provide my member ID: 3199529 when signing up.

My best allergy tips

allergiesHow are your allergies this time of year? Are you sneezy, snootie, and with watering eyes? I can sympathize, my friend, I really can. I’ve had my ups and downs with all that and August/September used to be the worst! I could not drive with my windows open and had to stay indoor as much as possible.

After going to a specialist for a test, I turned out to be allergic to practically everything. I was allergic to mold, trees, grasses, cats, and most of the other things they test for that I don’t even remember now. I was prescribed medication: spray for the nose, eye drops, and some kind of anti-histamine. The medication worked great! It definitely managed my symptoms. But after using it for a bit, I wasn’t too happy with the side effects. Nose spray was addictive and gave me nosebleeds. Anti-histamine made me foggy, made my hands shake, and gave me heart palpitations. The eye drops were OK, maybe I didn’t use them often enough?

In my search for alternatives, there was a time when I haven’t exactly figured it out, and so had plenty of sneezing and runny nose attacks. While it’s too late to be completely sneeze-free at this point, it’s not too late to get better.

So, what do I do to stay off medications and still get out of the house without being a mess? At least as long as sneezing is concerned?

Do this now:

  • Get yourself some nettle tea. It really helps and has a lot of benefits besides allergies. You can pick it up at Eternal Balance, look for it online, or at health food stores. I sell organic and responsibly harvested tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. You will have to brew it strong – 1 T of plant material to one cup of water. Pour boiling water over it, cover(!), and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Once a day is enough for me at this point, but if you are feeling pretty bad, I’d go for two cups a day.
  • Invest in a neti pot. Mine is just simple plastic that I got at Walgreens, but I’m thinking of investing into this ceramic one. It’s fine if you say, “eww, gross!” in public, but do use it in private. Frankly, it’s way less gross than wiping your nose. It takes a little bit to get the hang of it, but 2-3 days and you’ll feel so much better! I’d just do it before bed, but morning and evening are good if you are really snootie.
  • Get some local honey and start adding a teaspoon into your nettle tea. Wait until after it’s steeped and not as hot to mix honey in. This will take a while to kick in, so it’s best to do it anytime you have tea throughout the year.

Do this during the year:

  • Keep using local honey in your tea. Don’t get store-bought honey, it might not even be honey. Get one at your farmer’s market. There are plenty in our area. Even if the honey is from Vermont, the pollen there is still more alike to ours than one in Florida.
  • Try to figure out what else might be causing inflammation in your body. I really think that allergies are more pronounced when the body is already agitated by dealing with other stressors. So, clean up your diet, your cleaning and personal products, and so on.
  • Lastly, stress makes everything worse. Make yourself laugh everyday! At the end of the day, if you haven’t laughed, force a loud laugh out. You will look so bonkers, it is bound to make you laugh!

I hope these allergy tips will bring some immediate relief and will keep you sneeze-free come next spring and summer!

Disclaimer: No part of this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. Nothing on this post is to be construed as medical advice; I am not a doctor, I am only relating my personal experience. Please discuss your personal health with your personal, qualified health practitioner before making changes to your diet or adjusting/discontinuing any medication. I am not responsible for any adverse outcomes associated with using or misconstruing advice or information on this site.

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Lucy’s Love Bus

Lucy's_Love_Bus_Logo_wTagI am grateful to be able to participate in Lucy’s Love Bus program and provide my services to children that need them. What a great organization! I hope you consider donating to them and also pass the word on that this program exists!

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Olga’s Reiki journey

AlanChumakPeople often ask me how I got into Reiki. If they read my little bio blurb about being in high tech, it’s all the more intriguing. The answer is both “it just happened” and also “maybe it was meant to be”.

I was working at the time as a SQA (Software Quality Assurance) Engineer and also looking for something, not exactly sure what. I was going through a bad breakup and was searching for who am I, exactly, outside of a relationship. I was reading books on spirituality, personal growth, nature-based religions and what have you. At the same time, a coworker convinced me to try a weekly yoga class that we had at work. During one of the classes, we did a short meditation and energy-sensing exercise. I could feel the gentle pull and push of energy between my palms and it reminded of something very well forgotten by that point.

Back in the early 90s, when I was in my early teens, the USSR had a big psychic experiment going on. Here is the little bit I found that sums it up.

Russia’s second-best-known psychic healer, Alan Chumak, is on state-run television six days a week on a show called “120 Minutes.” On this program the grey-haired mystic waves his hands on camera to cure viewers of whatever ails them, according to the previously mentioned Associated Press dispatch. The story went on to say Soviets with heart disease “are requested to watch” his show on Tuesdays. “On Fridays, Chumak will help viewers get rid of allergies. People with stomach bugs should tune in on other days.” And if these people can’t watch a show on their designated day, they are instructed to just leave the set on, “and a jar of water, juice or massage cream placed by the TV screen supposedly will be ‘charged’ by Chumak’s gestures and can be used later for treatment.”

Like most families at that time, mine watched the show and participated. We always had a jug of water to be charged in front of the TV and parents were pretty open minded about it. Their attitude was that if this doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt, but if it does work, all the better. Meanwhile, I had dreams of being a healer, wearing all white (of course!) and helping people.

Feeling energy in my hands reminded me of sitting in front of the TV and watching Chumak silently move his arms from behind his desk. It looked and felt as he was doing something, even though visibly not much was happening. I wanted to learn more about energy and how this worked. I asked a question about energy on one of the spirit based forums I was reading, and someone suggested that I look into Reiki. Well, I did, and the rest is history 🙂

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Cough syrup

We are, unfortunately, all at different stages of being sick in this house. I’ve had an annoying cough for a while, then Sophia got sick and now my husband is sick. Being pregnant, there aren’t too many over-the-counter remedies I can take and so I have allowed this cold to drag on and on. I am getting pretty tired of it though! Couple that with my husband’s awful cough, and it was time to do something.

I found a recipe for a cough syrup online that I had the ingredients for and seemed simple enough. I made it just yesterday and my husband has been loving it! It really helped him with his cough, he’s barely coughing today and it’s helping with mine as well. I’ll be making some more in a little bit. A good thing about it is that you really can’t overdose on it.

So, here is the recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (I just used one lemon and it was a bit more than 3 tbs)
  • 1/4 cup of local honey (I just used an approximate measurement, no need to dirty a measuring cup and lose some honey in the process)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Warm up the ingredients on low heat, just to melt the coconut oil and blend things a bit. That’s it! Make sure to test the temperature before taking a big spoonful. I make sure to mix it before scooping some out and take from the bottom. The coconut oil will solidify eventually, so you’d want to warm it up a bit again as needed.

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