A few weeks back I posted something on Facebook that got a lot of questions. I posted something about not using "regular" storebought deodorant, or any deodorant that has aluminum or parabens in it. This sparked some interested, so I thought I'd do a post about it and let you decide for yourself.
There are studies and articles
claiming that aluminum and parabens are linked to certain diseases, primarily breast cancer. The claims are that the clogging of the pores to eliminate sweating causes toxins to build up and travel back to the lymph nodes near the armpits/top of the breast. Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen warn in their book You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty
, "Use deodorant instead of antiperspirant, since sweat is normal and blocking the pores is not. Especially avoid aluminum, which is found in high levels in the brain plaques linked to Alzheimer's disease. And with deodorants, avoid phthalates, which are plastics used to help the fragrance stay on our skin and block endocrine function, especially in the male fetus. Parabens, which are used as preservatives in these products, should also be avoided since they could be linked to breast cancer."
Then there are articles
and studies that claim the exact opposite, and state that the above studies don't have enough evidence to actually prove that the aluminum and parabens are the actual cause for the cancer.
I don't know if alumninum and parabens cause cancer, but I'm not willing to find out the hard way.
I started researching different deodorants to see if I could actually find one that I liked. Understand that I'm not talking about antiperspirants, so I'm still sweating - but I am one of those that believes that our bodies were meant to sweat, and as someone who holds a lot of heat, I feel it's healthiest for me. I'm also someone who works out regularly, and because I sweat I need a strong deodorant.
After browsing my local natural food store I found that there are quite a few brands to choose from. After having unsuccessful trials with a couple different brands (i.e.: I became the person that you do not want to workout next to at the gym), I found Primal Pit Paste
. I had read a few reviews, and the only thing that seemed to be against it was that I couldn't purchase it in my local stores. I had to order online - which turned out to be a really easy process.
I placed my order for two jars, the lavendar and the lemongrass thyme. I wanted to order the stick version, but they were sold out - go figure, slathering on deodorant with my hands wasn't my top pick either. Either way, I sucked it up and purchased my products. To my surprise, they were relatively cheap. A normal storebought brand of Suave or Secret was costing me around $3 or $4 each, and lasting a month or two. These jars were around $9 each, but you use such a little amount that it seems as though it will last at least a few months! I've been using it for about a month now, and have barely put a dent in my jar.
My order came in less than a week and I began using the product. Even though it's not an antiperspirant, I am actually not sweating 'as much' as normally do. I still sweat, but it's not like I'm leaving marks on my clothes or anything. The scents of the product are amazing, and as someone who stinks when I sweat, this is huge for me. The lemongrass thyme is my favorite. It's so fresh and light - but I find myself catching whifs of it throughout the day. If lemongrass thyme is all I smell, I'd say that's a good thing! Primal Pit Paste
is, by far, the best brand of natural deodorant I've used.
And I actually don't mind using my hands in the morning. Unlike storebought deodorant with addititives, this product doesn't leave a gross film on your skin. It easily washes off with a little soap and water, and (*bonus*) shaving my underarms is so much more smooth and easy. This product is nourishing my skin, and I find that I have less razor bumps and knicks.
Regardless of the studies out there, I'm a huge advocate of using products that have ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. Anytime I can replace an old, toxic product with a new, natural one - I'm in! I'll let you decide if toxic free deodorant is a better choice for you. They have a product for every member of the family: kids, women, men and really active folks ("strong" version of the same products) - so you can get all of your shopping done in one trip.
If you're curious, I'd encourage you to check it out for yourself. If you do, let me know what you think!
Have a healthy day!
As many of you know, I've struggled a long time with trying to keep my skin clear. I've not been one of the lucky ones who cleans up their diet, removes toxins from their household and ends up with clearer skin. Since going off of birth control pills a year and a half ago, I found that I was battling a hormone imbalance. It was as if I had started menopause early: I was fatigued, had horrible night sweats, would get hot flashes during the day, was extremely moody and my skin erupted. I did not feel like the same human being I had once been.
Over the last 7 months my acupuncturist has worked to get me off of the hormones my naturopath had put me on (I really didn't feel like myself on those!). Between acupuncture, chiropractic care and different Chinese herbs I am finally feeling back on track. It's amazing what these 7 months have done for me, and as someone who is soon planning to start a family, having a strong body within is extremely important.
That being said, my skin - my poor skin - has definitely taken the worst of it. Birth control, hormones, herbs, a mix of different topical serums - it's no wonder it looks like a war torn battlefield! As you can imagine, this gets a little pricey. Anytime I can make my own products, I do. And this is a facial scrub that I love! I still use a regular cleansing line but use this in the shower every few days to help keep things balanced - especially after a hard workout when I'm all red and puffy!
The recipe is super simple, just 4 ingredients that I'm fairly certain you have in your pantry right now!
The base is:
1 c oats - oats help soothe skin and reduce inflammation
1/2 c almonds - almonds are great to eat if you want glowing skin, but they are also good externally. Full of healthy monounsaturated fats, they produce oils that help hydrate skin. They are also full of vitamin E - and while a bit coarse in this recipe, help to exfoliate.
1/4 c celtic sea salt - salt contains magnesium which helps reduce inflammation and sulfates which flush out toxins. It also helps with the exfoliation.
Place all items in a food processor and pulse until you get a grainy consistency. You want to feel the almonds and salt in your fingers, but not enough that you'll scratch your face (;
When you are done, add 1 T ground cinnamon - as cinnamon helps to bring blood to the surface, bringining new life to your skin.
I usually just mix it in my hand with a little water from the shower, slather it on and let it sit while I wash my hair. You can certainly mix this with almond oil if you wanted extra moisture. I usually follow up with my own oil based moisturizer after the shower, so I skip the almond oil.
Even if you aren't someone who suffers from imflammed skin, this scrub would be great regardless. It's such a soothing (and natural) way to take care of any skin type!
Ok so it's not yet summer here, but the temperature (today only) is 86 degrees, so that means the grill is out and ready to go. I love grilling. Not only does it eliminate a huge mess in my kitchen, but it's just nice to sit on the deck, enjoying the great outdoors and feeling one with nature.
I've been looking for new burger recipes and found a new one that I had to share with all of you. The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, is quickly becoming my go-to cookbook when I need elegant yet simple meals. There are a ton of vegetarian options (which I'm adoring right now), but for my meat-eating loves I'll spare you the greeny details and offer you a yummy new burger option.
These Chipotle and Apple Turkey Burgers
are to die for, honestly the best turkey burger ever. Grilling them brought out the delicious smoky flavor of the chipotle, and I'm not sure any other burger on the grill will ever again compare. I would make sure to squeeze all of the liquid out of your grated apples so that you don't end up with wet burgers that won't stay together. I did not make the aioli that went along with it, but rather topped mine with goat cheese and carmelized onions.
To make carmelized onions, I slice a yellow onion real thin. Over medium heat I add some grass-fed butter and maybe a drop or two of olive oil to a saucepan (you can just use one or the other if you prefer, I've also made these with coconut oil too). Add the onions and a little salt to help the onions sweat. Reduce the heat to medium low and let them get brown and semi-crispy. If you're grilling, you could also make a foil packet
and grill your onions. If you use this method they won't be as brown, but still soft and yummy.
We paired these with cut up sweet potatoes that we tossed with some cocount oil, salt and pepper. Just place them in a grill basket, or make a foil packet
and throw on the grill. The potatoes take about 30 minutes.
What is your favorite burger recipe? Have you started grilling out yet?
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the first Milwaukee Foodie Fitness Fete, a bloger event hosted by Sheila Wordell over at SMW RoadRunner
. The attendees were, you guessed it, fitness bloggers who also love food! You're probably wondering how I got invited to that, since my blog is primarily food related. I *may* have accidentally invited myself to the event - through a Facebook miscommunication, but am I sure glad I did! Not only did I invite myself, but I ended up doing a cooking demonstration too! I consider myself one of the food bloggers that also loves fitness.....we all spread the love in our own way!
Here I am demonstrating my Southwestern Veggie Soup
I wasn't the only non-runner; however, I must say that their passion for running definitely inspired me. I've been running a couple times a week since the event, and have signed up for more 5K races too. I met so many wonderful people, ate way too much food and walked away feeling energized and blessed to be a part of such a fabulous community of people. Within hours we were all following each other on Twitter, became Facebook friends and started reading each others blogs.
It's amazing what social media can do for relationships. Last Monday, two of my new foodies fitness blogger friends were in Boston to run the marathon. Upon hearing the tragic news of last week's events, we were all reaching out to see if anyone had heard from either of them. The whole evening there were messages of love and concern - and while everyone has their own connections within the group - we all had felt the anxiety of waiting. Wondering. Praying. Until both new friends made it safely home.
The blogger event was so successful that we decided we must do it again, and will be joining forces this summer to create indulgent makeovers. Until then, I'll leave you with some photos from the evening as well as links to everyone's blogs.
A HUGE thank you to the Mandel Group
, who offered their beautiful venue for the event, and to Ly Nguyen of Capture Life Moments
for the fabulous photographs!
Thanks to all of the bloggers who left me feeling full and inspired!Sheila Wordell
-Blue Cheese Walnut Spinach Pasta Salad with Avocado, Mint Cantaloupe Granita, Orange Blossom Lemonade Maressa Porter
Sara Brozek -Indian carrot soup
James Brown -Chicken & Slaw salad Laurie Frey
-Flourless Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies Sun Torke
-Peanut Butter Mounds Bar & Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls
Kaylie Magestro - Profiteroles filled with Mousse Kat Pummill
- Red Quinoa Avocado Salad. Alysha Witwicki
- Cowboy CookiesBrittany Lynn
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter CookiesMelissa Moore
- Stove Top Salmon Patties Michelle Marie Zerzanek
- Power Scones
Who is inspiring you? What are you doing with that inspiraton?
I've had a bit of a sweet tooth lately, which isn't uncommon nowadays. I miss the days when I could satisfy my cravings with a handful of salty chips or lightly salted cashews. Not anymore. As I've gotten older I crave sweets - I never got it when people would tell me they ate chocolate everday.
Now I do.
I'll chalk it up to getting old. Even when the health coach in me knows it's because I'm unbalanced right now. I'll save that for another post.
In the meantime, I had some leftover purely elizabeth pancake mix
(which happens to be gluten-free!) but didn't want to make pancakes (I typically don't make pancakes
with pancake mix. What's a girl to do? Bake them up and make a breakfast bar, of course! This recipe should work with any pancake mix, just watch your oven as cooking times may vary.
There really isn't a recipe necessarily. Honestly, just whip up your favorite pancake mix (I used 1 cup of mine with the ingredients listed on the package).
Pour into a greased 9 x9 pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until the center is set.
Slice into 9 equal bars and then whip up your favorite berry compote (2 c fresh or frozen mixed berries, 1/4 c maple syrup and 1 T cinnamon over low heat until bubbly).
Voila! A pancake breakfast bar!
I'm not sure where you are, but it's still cold here. We had a little taste of spring, and then as if we pissed off Mother Nature by getting too over-eager or something, she took it away and began threatening snow. Whatever. I'm over it.
Actually, I'm not. I'm ready to start begging, scratch that, pleading for warmer weather.
Until then, I shall continue to make stew.
And drink wine.
This recipe seems like a cold weather dish, but the tender tuna and lemon juice really gave it a fresh taste. I could see myself making this on a rainy summer night.
The recipe is adapted from a new cookbook I picked up, True Food by Dr. Andrew Weil
. Those of you who know me know I adore him - so when we traveled to Arizona a few weeks ago, we went to one of his restaurants - also named True Food Kitchen
. Delish. Amazing. To die for...OK, you get it.
I immediately purchased the cookbook and began experimenting. Here is my take on his Tomato-Braised Tuna...Tomato-Braised Tunaadapted from True Food
3 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalepeno, minced and de-seeded
1/2 c red wine
1/8 t saffron
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
large handful of red potatoes, cubed
2 c water
2 filets of ahi tuna, cut into cubes
1/2 c pitted green olives, halved
2 T capers
juice from half a lemon
zest from lemon
salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion and fennel and saute until it starts to tenderize. Add the garlic and jalepeno. Add some salt and pepper along the way to season. Add the wine and saffron and let the alcohol burn off - about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes and 2 c water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost done (mine took about 15 minutes). Add in the tuna, olives and capers. Turn off the heat and let the tuna cook while the heat is off. Squirt in some lemon juice and zest before you dish.
I'll also add in a couple pictures from Arizona. It was a beautiful vacation, sunny days and lots of baseball! We managed to find some time to hike Papago. Given the conditions here in Wisconsin, I'd take 95 and sunny back anytime now!
Back to the recipe....if you don't like tuna, you can certainly make this with a whitefish or even chicken. However, I strongly suggest you make it with the tuna. I mean, c'mon....does this not look divine?
I have been on the road a lot lately, traveling from Arizona to Washington, D.C./Virginia to Iowa. Coming home this week felt wonderful - especially after a week of eating restaurant food. Even after a week of light eating and cooking fresh food at home, the Easter holiday did me in. It's hard eating at other people's houses when you're used to eating a certain way. While the meal was delicious in every way, I notice immediately when my body needs a break.
While I would love to say that I drink a fresh green smoothie every morning, I'd be lying. I don't get around to them as often as I'd like, but after a lot of heavy foods it's my go-to. A green juice or smoothie in the morning helps keep up my energy levels up and aids in my digestion - both of which are great after feeling weighed down by consecutive nights of heavy meals.
I like to play around with what I add to my juices/smoothies. Each time really depends on what I have on hand. This was my most recent juice, and it was delicious!Green Citrus Breakfast Juice
1 1/2 c coconut water
1 handful of kale, stems removed
1/2 banana, fresh or frozen
2 dates, pitted
1 T coconut oil
1 handful fresh or frozen cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 T Nordic Superfood
, or your favorite superfood powder
1 handful of ice, if you prefer more of a smoothie consistency
Place all ingredients, in order, in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth.
I get a lot of people that ask me where the protein is, or how this can last me until lunch. I find that often times we eat lunch because the clock says noon. This juice, many juices/smoothies for that matter, can last me many hours. If you're listening to your body - really listening to it - you'll find that you might not be as hungry as you think you are. Don't get me wrong if you need the protein, throw in a bit of almond butter or a protein powder, but don't fall into this trap of feeling as though you need a ton of protein at every meal in order to stay balanced.
After eating heavy meals or when you're feeling full or irregular, the enzymes in veggies and greens can aid in digestion. While the verdict is still out on cranberries, they are said to contain acids that help to break down fatty foods. Either way, this fabulous juice left me feeling lighter and more alert!
What is your favorite green juice or smoothie?
XoXo - Be Well,
Ok, so maybe the title is a little presumptuous - of course healthy people get sick! Getting sick is a part of life, it's our body's way of telling us that it might be time to take it easy, give it a rest, allow yourself to take a break.
My body is telling me exactly that. Our last day of vacation I woke up with a horrible sore throat. Over the past few days it's turned to a scratchy dry throat. The type of scratch that doesn't allow you to sleep comfortably at night. The type of scratch that keeps you tossing and turning and SWALLOWING excessively, which only leads to burping all night because you've swallowed so much air.
Too much? Well, I know I'm not the only one - so I think it's fair game.
Do you ever notice when people are sick all they do is talk about how they don't have time to be sick? I actually don't mind it. I mean, it's annoying to have to get up a few times each night and down another tablespoon of raw honey, blow your nose and then try to fall back asleep, but it's also my clue that I need a breather (literally and figuratively).
My body shutting down is (sadly) the only thing that will slow me down. I don't listen to my brain, my husband, family or friends - so it's really up to my body to get the job done. I don't get sick often, but when I do I welcome the break.
Admittedly, I don't *stop* - I still work from home where I can be gross and not spread any germs, I'll cozy up with a homemade hot tottie, watch a movie, get some extra sleep, and catch up on some reading and other things I may save for a lazy day. But the laundry still needs to get done, there are always dishes in the sink - and if I had kids - well, I won't even go there because I know you mamas work doubletime when you're sick. We still need to take the signs from our bodies and slow down.
Since I'm not a huge fan of popping pills, here are some of my tips for how to help yourself get over a common cold or sore throat bug in no time:Get some rest.
Take a nap, go to bed early - but allow yourself to sleep. Sleeping is when our bodies recover best.Drink extra fluids.
Broth, water, and homemade tea (add a splash of apple cider vinegar, a drizzle of honey, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper to a cup of hot water). Staying hydrated is important - liquids are more important than solids when you're sick.
If you have a sore throat or cough, swallow a tablespoon of raw organic honey
every 4-6 hours (not recommended for very small children). Not only is honey a natural immune booster, but it can help to ward off bad bacteria that cause infection while soothing the throat at the same time.Eat your greens.
When you're sick, you're not always in the mood to eat, so make a green smoothie or add greens to your broth. Greens strengthen the immune system, help rid the body of toxic intruders and can help clear congestion, especially in the lungs, by reducing mucus. On the flip side, stay away from dairy
as that will create more mucus.Try garlic ear oil. Garlic ear oil
is a practice of Ayurvedic medicine that helps to keep your lymphatic system healthy. Many people use it on a daily basis, and it's great for kids who are prone to ear infections. I tend to use it when I feel a cold coming on, or when I've been traveling or around others that are sick, to help ward off germs.
If you have to pop some pills, you can always reach for the Vitamin C or Zinc - although, depending on which study you read, the verdict is still out on whether or not they actually help after you've gotten sick.
When all is said and done, take it easy as you recover. Don't overdo it because you are feeling better. Listen to your body and give it some love - afterall, it's probably the only thing in life we take for granted day after day after day.
Here's to what is *hopefully* the last of the winter bugs! On to Spring!
*If symptoms persist or you are currently being treated for a chronic or acute illness, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner*
The sun is shining and it's a very good day. It's vacation day!
My husband and I are catching a flight out of the cold midwest and spending the next five days in sunny Arizona. My hope is by the time we return, warmer temperatures will be here to stay! Even though it may not feel like spring outside, I'm noticing a change in the way I am eating. I'm done with the winter soups and stews, and have moved on.
Just as my wardrobe is switching over to brighter colors and lighter materials, the foods I'm craving for are lighter and brighter too! I've been eating more salads and (even though they aren't 100% in season here) more berries. Fish and greens have replaced roasts and starchy vegetables. I feel lighter, more energetic and ready to get outside on a more regular basis.
If only the weather would cooperate.
Oh well, at least I'll have 5 days to soak up all the Vitamin D I can!
Here's a nice recipe as you transition into spring eating. I adore lettuce wraps, but the always end up too salty when I get them at restaurants (not to mention all the other junk they may add). You can easily use different kinds of lettuce for the wrap as well - I used radicchio for this meal and it was perfect!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
1 c cooked brown rice or quinoa
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 head radicchio or your favorite lettuce
4 scallions, sliced - white and light green parts
Start by sauteing your carrot, celery, bell peppers and garlic in some olive oil. After your veggies are soft (about 5-7 minutes) add your chicken and rice. Give the pan a couple glugs of soy sauce and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until flavors have combined.
Meanwhile, separate your leaves from the head of lettuce. Be careful so that you keep them in tact.
Fill each lettuce "cup" with chicken mixture, top with scallions and enjoy!
Have an amazing week!
Just when I thought winter was on it's way out, Mother Nature proved otherwise. After getting another foot of snow (on top of the last 5 inches we got), it's safe to say that I'm ready for spring. Don't get me wrong, winter is beautiful - it really is. Winter is full of wonderful memories: Christmas, a friend's wedding, babies being born, beautiful snowfalls, winter hikes with our dogs, and many more.
But I'm ready to start making springtime memories. How about you?
At least my most recent shopping venture included bright colors and fun patterns. Now they hang in my closet, patiently waiting for the first glimpse of sunshine (with temps over 50 degrees). Soon enough.
Since the colder temps are here for awhile longer, soup is still on our weekly menu. I recently found a soup recipe in my Vitamix cookbook that I've altered a bit - the taste is so fresh and vibrant, which is why I made it tonight. I'm hoping to channel spring through fresh tasting dinners - and my new kelly green blazer from the Gap.
Until then, at least my tastebuds are fooled.
Southwestern Veggie Soup
serves 6-8, inspired by Avocado Tortilla Soup by Vitamix
4 c vegetable broth (can use chicken broth)
2 pints of cherry tomatoes (can use 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn, divided
2 avacados, pitted
3 cloves garlic, peeled
handful cilantro, plus more for garnishing
salt & pepper to taste
1 jar of your favorite salsa
Place broth, tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, half of the bag of corn, 1 avocado, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper into a high speed blender. Blend until all ingredients are a smooth liquid consistency. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, place the other can of black beans, remaining corn and jar of salsa. When the blended mix is ready, pour into the soup pot.
Stir soup and veggies. Warm over low to medium heat. Serve and top with diced avocado and cilantro to taste.
What are you most looking forward to eating this spring?