A couple months back I was introduced to The Homegrown Collective and I fell in love. No seriously…in love. Every month you get a new box with various DIY, homesteading projects and recipes. Everything you need and detailed instructions come in the box so you are learning new recipes and skills each month.
You not only get to TRY new things you get to LEARN new things. I have a bit of an obsession with homesteading and homemaking skills long since forgotten in this day of modern convenience and these boxes manage to capture all of it perfectly. A box of new skills hand delivered to your door….skills that will make you more self sufficient, reduce your environmental impact, and save you money. This is an ingenious product concept and I simply adore it.
Last month the theme was detox and this comes at a great time because after a long hard winter, being stuck indoors, and a general tendency to let eating and fitness habits get lax… a detox or cleanse is probably in order. Spring is around the corner and we have that nagging feeling we need to clean and clear out he cobwebs. Well, that applies to our bodies as well. Sometimes we need help expelling toxins and sloughing off the remnants of winter.
The first item in the box I dove into was the tea. It is dandelion organic herbal leaf tea and honestly I was intimidated. I have heard of all the yummy things you can make with these weeds but I had only tried them (the flowers and the leaves) in salads and they are not my favorites by any means. I was kind of weary of the tea. Turns out though that my anxiety was misplaced because this is some seriously delicious tea. I can easily suck down a cup or two or three a day…it is that good. Upon drinking up what came in the box I immediately contacted Homegrown Collective about getting some more.
The box came with an infuser to use when brewing but I decided to use my husband’s Keurig and a reusable K cup. I fill the cup with the loose tea and then I run it through the Keurig 2 or 3 times. It tastes wonderful every time and then the remnants get composted.
But back to the tea itself… dandelion. According to the The Herb Book it is supposed to be one of the best blood purifiers and liver cleaners we have access to. It also helps us to reduce acidity in the body, replace important vitamins and minerals, and increase activity in our pancreas and spleen. I love drinking it and I LOVE that drinking it is so good for me.
Next up was the detox bath DIY project. The box came with dead sea salts, baking soda, 100% cotton muslin bags, and dried organic lavender buds. This is everything you need to make fizzing bath soaks that will help you detox while you relax in the tub. The dead sea salts have 21 essential minerals including magnesium, calcium, iodine, zinc, and potassium. They all detoxify, treat, and cleanse our bodies. Two thousands years ago Flavius wrote about their ability to heal the body so this is not a new concept.
The lavender buds make the bath soothing and aromatic and I adored this project because it was easy and enjoyable. I don’t often take the time for baths and this provided me with the encouragement to take some time for me and relax. I will be making these fizzy bath soaks often!
Last up was a bentonite clay and rosewater facial mask. Again this is something I rarely take the time for. In fact I don’t think I have used a facial mask in years but they are incredibly helpful for the skin. Healing clays in general are another ancient remedy that has gone by the wayside in modern times. They are rich in nutrients (bentonite clay is made from aged volcanic ash) and they help draw out and absorb toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.
The mask was soothing…as was the rosewater. For a few days after the mask I kept feeling my skin and being impressed with how silky and smooth it felt. I will definitely be using up my remaining supply and then buying some more to make this a monthly practice. I will also be keeping the clay on hand for making healing poultices for stings, bug bites, and bouts with poison ivy.
I can’t wait to see what next month brings me! Check out The Homegrown Collective to try it yourself.
It’s a key ingredient in curry powder. It is a gorgeous bright yellow-orange spice that adds color to your dishes and it tastes amazing when added to a variety of dishes. And I do mean a variety…one of my fave desserts is turmeric ice cream with ample amounts of the spice and grassfed cream. It is that amazingly earthy spice that has some pretty wonderful qualities…antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-angiogenesis (blood vessel formation). Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a very common herb that acts as a natural medicine which heals the human body and serves it in many ways. Since ancient times, turmeric has been a medicinal aid and a source of relief. Even today it is well known as a great aid for curing a cold and fever when you drink turmeric milk. This article expands on the qualities of this natural medicine and why you may want make sure you getting enough turmeric in the diet.
Turmeric helps a person fight cancer. In 2010 a study was published by The European Journal of Pharmacology and it revealed that curcumin (an antioxidant found in turmeric) inhibited the metastasis of breast cancer cells that had been implanted in mice. Consuming the spice would be advantageous for those in the initial stages of cancer so that the disease is prevented from metastasizing (spreading) throughout the body. This is huge because it is often the spread of cancer to vital organs that lowers the chance of survival. Anything that can stop cancer in its tracks is hugely beneficial and it can be supported with a spice that virtually anyone can access.
Many health conscious folks in Asian communities swear by drinking turmeric milk with honey in the morning every day to keep fit. The same compound discussed above, curcumin also does wonders to regulate our metabolism and break down fats in the body. Both of these aspects can help us to maintain a healthy weight or lose some pounds. Exercising and eating healthy will always be the holy grail when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight but turmeric can be used as an assist if this is an issue for you. Another study, also done on mice, revealed this to be true when two groups of mice were fed unusually high caloric diets. The group that was also given turmeric did not gain nearly as much weight as their counterparts who were not given turmeric.
Turmeric also helps in healing wounds faster than any other medicine mostly because of its antibacterial powers. It has been used since ancient times for just this purpose. A turmeric paste would be applied to a cut or wound as soon as possible to stop the bleeding and heal the wound. It can be used in first aid today as well. To use this method yourself make sure to clean the wound thoroughly and eliminate any dirt and debris. Then cover the clean wound with turmeric powder and reapply as necessary. For rashes, bruises, stings, sprains, or bites mix the powder with water to create a paste and apply. This will help prevent infection, reduce swelling, and help with healing.
Turmeric is also used to boost immunity. When ingested it helps fight off bacteria, viruses, and infection (sepsis). It gives immune compromised or ill people a much needed assist and healthy people an advantage when they are exposed to illness.
Anti-aging & Beauty:
Aging is sped up by free radicals in the body and antioxidants (like turmeric) help neutralize free radicals and the damage they cause to cells and organs. This slows down the signs of aging and improves overall health and vitality. Applying it directly to the skin via a mask can help with skin problems such as acne and dry or oily skin.
Turmeric is a pretty amazing spice that helps in healing wounds, improving immunity, fighting disease, and keeping a person fit and fine in life. Adding more of it to your life/diet seems like a no brainer.
How to Get More Turmeric:
Eat more curry dishes
Add to a fruit smoothie
Sprinkle on yogurt
Add to chicken soup or homemade broth
Sprinkle on eggs, rice, and potatoes
Add it to homemade soaps (or buy turmeric soap)
Drink turmeric milk (recipe below)
Mix with coconut oil or water for a topical paste
Add to tea
Take it in pill form
Easy Turmeric Milk Recipe
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups regular, almond, or coconut milk (full fat)
2 teaspoons raw honey
Dash of cinnamon
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan or heat up just enough to warm through if you want to preserve the benefits of the raw honey. Remove from heat and pour into a mug. Enjoy!
This is the time of year when people start getting gung ho about their goals for the new year. For many those goals will include goals to lose weight or generally improve their fitness levels and ‘change’ their body. Sadly it is also the time when our bodies are naturally the most resistant to changes such as these. Why??? Because they are programmed that way!
During the winter months we naturally want to hybernate more, sleep more, and stay warm and cozy. The body doesn’t like to lose body fat or expend much energy this time of year. What might work well any other time of year is LESS likely to work in the cold weather months and we need to adjust and learn to nurture ourselves a bit more. Making strides to better health is an awesome goal but we also don’t need to needlessly stress our bodies during what can be an already stressful time of year (holidays, dark days, cold weather). Our bodies need TLC and here are some ways you can nourish your body during the winter months so you can stay well, be less stressed, and hopefully encourage your body to work with you on your goals and not against you.
Eat Warming Foods
When we think about slimming down or getting healthier we often think of cooling foods like salads, fruits, and green smoothies. If you want to cool your metabolism off then go ahead and eat those foods. If you want to fire up your metabolism than you need to pick more appropriate foods. For winter months we can choose from a whole world of warming foods like kale, collards, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, garlic, clove, squash, parsnips, cinnamon, coconut, fenugreek, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, turmeric, mushrooms, and vinegar.
Eat With the Season
We need different nutrients at different times of year and we need to eat more of what nature intended for us during the seasons rather than what we can have shipped to us from across the world. If you love smoothies than go ahead and have one but use an apple or pear rather than frozen strawberries or a banana. Foods shipped across long distances will also be full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals meant to preserve them and keep them attractive looking after their journey.
Eat Nourishing Foods
It is especially important to eat nutrient dense foods in the cold weather months. Organ meats are an excellent choice. Liver, heart and kidney contain some of the highest concentrations of several nutrients and have been prized in traditional cultures for this reason. Fish oils are also excellent, especially fermented cod liver oil, as are bone broths and gelatin. If your body is starved for nutrients it will be less than cooperative when you want it to shed pounds, gain muscle, or otherwise change.
Change Your Sleep Patterns
You need more sleep in the winter months. 8-10 hours at least is critical and the general thought is that we also need to get as much sleep before midnight as we possibly can. Those hours are more rejuvenating and healing than those after midnight, so get to bed earlier and invest in blackout curtains so that unnatural light is not adversely effecting your sleep. Also look into earthing…
Bring Some Light Into Your Life
It’s cold outside so we are less likely to get outside, even if we see the sun peeking out. Many folks have to work so they are indoors and away from natural light for a big chunk of the day and usually have to get up and go before the sun comes up. If at all possible get outside for a walk every day, even if it is only 10 minutes. Use a wake-up light if you are using blackout curtains or have to get up while it is still dark. These lights simulate the sunrise. Light gradually increases for 30 minutes before your alarm time (whatever that may be) to gently prepare your body to wake up and feel more energetic at the start of your day. A vitamin D supplement is also a very good idea.
Because the cold weather months are drying and we because aren’t as likely to be eating those cold watery foods we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Consumption of caffeinated tea and coffee typically increases and can dehydrate us even more, so drink your water. Your body needs to stay lubricated and your skin will thank you as well.
A few simple changes can help you nourish your body during the winter months and make it more receptive to the changes you want to see in the new year. Good luck!
It can be tough to remember which remedies are effective for different ailments. It’s difficult sometimes to remember all the essential oils, spices, herbs, or homeopathic remedies and what they are effective for. It’s a lot to remember! This is why I have an herb map that I keep on my kitchen wall that acts as a quickie cheat sheet for me to recall which herbs are helpful for various illnesses, injuries, and also preventative treatments. The herb body map below has the same basic function. It highlights various herbs and shows you via the body map what they are used for most commonly and effectively.
I like how user friendly it is. Migraines/head area/Chamomile. Bladder/groin area/Barberry bark. Easy peasy. Its a great quickie reference guide. Enjoy!
Image from G Baldwin & Co
It is a little hobby of mine to window shop the supplement isle at health food stores. There are so many amazing options for those of who want to take charge of our health. My husband likes to look at all the protein powders, pouring over the ingredients list and I am drawn to natural sleep aids, hormonal support products, and also any product that uses natural ingredients to boost energy and vitality. I have seen Gaia Herbs products dozens of times…picked them up, read the labels and descriptions, etc but until last month never purchased. I really want to try to so many different products (Gaia’s included) but one could go broke fast if they don’t keep it in check.
As I said though I did finally try one of their products last month…the PlantForce™ Liquid Iron. Iron is an important mineral that can help you feel more energetic, vibrant and alive. When it is lacking we get tired. Iron actually enables your blood to deliver oxygen to each of your cells…which they need to function properly. It is crucial for our vitality and stamina to get enough iron and liquid iron supplements are typically the best delivery system for rapid assimilation.
Now I don’t typically think of myself as a prime target for low iron levels since I am paleo and very carnivorous. My schedule and overall activity changed recently though. I am going, going, going constantly it feels like with long days standing and moving. Gone are the days of sitting at a computer for most of the day. Being gone and moving so much also makes it harder to eat paleo 100% so I have been eating less of the stuff I need and want. Good riddance to being chained to my desk every day I say but it got me thinking about stamina and energy. My first plan of attack was to adjust my diet…eat more and eat a bit differently. That requires so much planning though (which I am not so good at). I also started playing around with supplements, like Gaia Herbs PlantForce™ Liquid Iron, so that I would not be tempted to drink coffee and energy drinks. Thus far I have been very pleased with the results. I expect to be able to rise at 4:00-4:30ish every day without coffee or stimulants and be on the move for 10+ hours. So far, so good.
Liquid iron is usually metallic tasting and hard to take in my experience. This product is much easier to take, especially if it is really cold. It much more palatable than any other I have tried and if you drink a little orange juice afterwards, you are good to go. It has organic elderberry juice for a berry flavor, organic honey that lightly sweetens, essential oil of sweet orange & extract of star anise lend a hint of citrus and spice. It’s a pretty nice combo.
It also has…
Acerola fruit extract - naturally occurring Vitamin C that supports iron absorption at cellular level.
Sea Buckthorn fruit juice - naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that promotes absorption.
Beet root juice - naturally rich in elemental iron.
Parsley leaf - Elemental iron and Vitamin C that supports iron absorption at the cellular level.
Nettle Leaf - elemental Iron phosphate.
Dandelion leaf - Vitamins A&C & naturally occurring elemental iron supports liver and promotes absorption.
Fennel seed - Supports body’s ability to neutralize gas or bloating.
Yellow Dock root – Iron phosphate, which promotes absorption.
What it does…
• Provides elemental iron
• Promotes iron absorption
• Supports red blood cell production
• Stimulates cellular energy
• Supports liver
• Optimizes body’s ability to neutralize gas and bloating
Gaia Herbs PlantForce™ Liquid Iron is a plant based herb and mineral formula which many people love (especially vegetarians). It is also made with 85% organic ingredients! It is non-constipating, which is important because conventional iron supplements can really plug things up. It is also appropriate for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
I have gotten in the habit of taking it every morning when I start my day, usually first thing because I am not quick to develop an appetite and this seems to get things rolling for me. It gives me the energy I need until I do feel like eating but in general I like the way I feel and the amount of energy I have when I am consistently taking it. If you need an iron supplement or just want o make sure your bases are covered I highly recommend giving this one a whirl.
PlantForce Liquid Iron Giveaway
This post is written in connection with Gaia Herbs and Green Sisterhood.