Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Juice Journey: Honey Dew Cucumber Juice

The juicer was running all winter and it's still going as the spring season hits (FINALLY!).  Here is a juice with spring and summer elements that will clean you out and fuel your cells and organs.  It's called the Honey Dew Cucumber juice. Take a look!

Honey dew is alkalizing and full of biological living water which contains vitamins and minerals that facilitate detoxification especially of your kidneys.  Cucumbers can also alkalize your body and contain a lot of water. Ginger is good for digestion and apples and oranges are also full of essential vitamins and minerals. You can't go wrong with this juice!

I used my good ole Jack La Lane juicer (not pictured) and consumed it immediately. It's even Caleb approved.  Remember to free style this recipe to suit your taste buds!

Happy Juicing!
Peace and love!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Hair Journey: The Clean Up Job

Hey Folks!  Ever had a twist out experience that just went really wrong?  Well I did and had to find a way to "fix" or "clean up" the mess before I went to work.  I looked like a chia pet. I call it the chia fro.   Seriously! So I created this quick up do so I could be presentable and not embarrass my family. LOL! Just call me the clean up woman!

So here is what I started with.........
The chia fro. It's can was a hot mess........
Then I started parting the hair into sections and doing a combination of bantu knots and flat twists  on the sides and back.  The top and front was re-twisted and released.  Total time: 20 minutes.  Plus I wore my hair like this for the next three days.  I just refreshed the knots every morning. 
Back view

Side view

Other side....

Whew! I pulled it off! Time to start the day!

Just because you start of with a bad twist out or afro (or any other style) doesn't mean it has to stay that way or that you have to wash it out (especially if you don't have time for all of that).  If you get creative you can "fix" it or "clean it up" and come out with something quite cute.  I could have also used a headband wrap to tame the chia fro but I didn't feel like looking like Sarafina (not that there is anything wrong with looking like Sarafina....I just wasn't feeling the Sarafina vibe that particular day).  It's not always easy to find a quick fix for natural hair gone wrong, but YOU CAN do it! Or spend the day looking like the person that doesn't have any friends.  Been there too! LOL!
Tell me about your "clean up" experiences!!
Peace and love!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Detoxification: The Liver

The liver is an extremely important organ. It is vital to our health.  Without it our bodies could not function properly.  I never paid much attention to my liver until I started on this natural journey.  I've learned that purging your liver of toxins is a must and should be done at least once per year. Here are a few amazing facts about the liver.
  1. The liver performs over 500 functions
  2. It is critical to metabolism of carbs, fats and proteins
  3. It weighs approximately 4 pounds
  4. It can manufacture 13,000 chemicals and has 2,000 enzyme systems
  5. The liver can break down hormones like cholesterol, testosterone and estrogens
  6. It processes all food, nutrients, alcohol, drugs and anything else that enters the bloodstream by letting them pass, breaking them down or by storing them. 
  7. The liver breaks down toxins ingested with our food. But if the liver becomes too congested to enzymatically process nutrients we cannot get the benefit from eating nutritious food.
Now do you see why we have to help keep it going strong?

Foods/practices that are compatible with the liver:
  1. Drink lots of water (include lemon)
  2. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices - especially carrot and beet juices
  3. Raw foods (no preservatives)
  4. Dandelion
  5. Fresh fruits and vegetables (apples, celery, asparagus, prunes)
  6. Spices such as ginger, turmeric, rosemary and licorice
  7. Regular bowel movements
Things that can harm the liver include:
  1. Overeating
  2. Processed and imitation food
  3. Low protein, high fat diet  (which include fried foods and  saturated fats)
  4. Excessive alcohol use, drugs, tobacco and caffeine
  5. Insecticides, preservatives and other toxins
Toxins are just not found in our food, we get them from the environment too.  That's why even if you have a clean diet, dextoxing or flushing our your liver is necessary.

I'm so excited about finally detoxing my liver.  I'm a bit scared about what is going to happen during the actual flush since my liver hasn't been "cleaned" almost 35 years! I think I'll go into seclusion that week! Have mercy!

I want to encourage you to start thinking of ways to live a healthier life.  You don't have to give up anything....just start ADDING the good stuff like: more water, more fruit, more exercise, etc.  By the time you know it, your body will be so full of goodies, it won't have room for any junk.  Note: this little pep talk is for me too!!

This week, think of ways to increase your water intake. Just water....your liver will thank you for it!  Tell me how it goes!! :)

Peace and love!

1 - Digestive Wellness - Elizabeth Lipski

2- Natural Remedies Encyclopedia - Vance Ferrell and Harold Herne, M.D.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Health Journey: PMS - friend or foe?

Ladies, ladies, ladies!  Most of you probably read this article title and guffawed at the audacity I had for questioning if  PMS could even be considered a "friend"! For most women "that time" of the month is riddled with pain, discomfort, fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes and uncontrollable crying or laughing.  That's what we tenderly (or angrily) call: Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).  I've suffered from PMS since my cycle started when I was a wee age of ten.  I've never had bad cramps, but since I was 22 years old, I've suffered from the dreaded night sweats.  Years ago at an annual check up, my doctor asked me to explain my PMS symptoms.  I spoke of my crazy mood swings and she gave me some pink pills that would "help" me.  I've never been a fan of pill taking, but I took the sample anyway.  I never used the mood altering pills, and never actively sought a remedy for my PMS woes. I just dealt with the hand I was given month after month.   After I entered motherhood my body CHANGED!  My breasts didn't get as tender anymore and my energy levels were pretty stable but the night sweats came back and the mood swings I used to have turned into small anxiety attacks which currently scare the daylights out of me!

So what can I do??? Well I started researching PMS and natural remedies to manage my night sweats and increased anxiety. 

Here's what I found:
  1. There are over 150 symptoms linked to PMS.  In addition to what I listed above there are: headaches, acne, swollen feet, depression, joint pain, insomnia, impatience, dizziness, constipation, hemorrhoids.  I'm sure you can think of 20 more!
  2. PMS can occur 1-2 weeks before menstruation occurs.
  3. Bearing children or being married can increase the likelihood of suffering from PMS and it can be a major cause of divorce.
  4. Hormonal imbalance is the main cause of PMS.  Estradiol is a type of estrogen that builds up in the body if not eliminated.  When there is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone in your body fluid gets retained which affects circulation and impedes oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain and female organs. 
  5. Diet is key to managing/minimizing PMS.  Women who eat a lot of refined sugar, fat, dairy, and salt suffer more severe symptoms.
  6. During the premenstrual period the body wants more sugar for fuel.  When you over overindulge because of the craving  blood sugar levels shoot up then plunge which can trigger fatigue, mental fog, and emotional imbalance.
  7. If you are regularly constipated, your liver cannot get rid of excess estradiol effectively.
  8. Women who consume a lot of caffeine are more likely to have severe PMS.
  9. Most of our meat and diary products contain hormones.  Since PMS is all about hormonal imbalance the more hormones you ingest, the more severe your symptoms will be.  Food treated with hormones lack progesterone and have excessive estrogen.
  10. Vegetarian women eliminate 2 - 3 more times estrogen in their feces than non-vegetarians.  Which makes sense, because the meat containing hormones is not consumed.
Wowzers!!!!!! Last month my night sweats were unbearable and my anxiety and mood swings were on another level!!!!   I was under a ton of stress and was feeding the frenzy with junk food.  No wonder I had bad night sweats. I felt like I was LOOSING MY MIND! Can I get a witness???  This month I started early with my stress relief practices, eliminated junk and started drinking my herbal Hormone tea.  My night sweats were BETTER!

7 ways to cope with PMS the natural way:
  1. CHANGE YOUR DIET! If you are eating a lot of fat, sugar, salt, caffeine and diary products, then stop it.  Try it for two months and see what happens.
  2. You must start making changes early in the month.  Don't wait until the week of your period to make changes.  Start 2 weeks prior. 
  3. Eliminate meat and other hormone laden foods.  Don't put the extra estrogen in your body.
  4. Eat more fiber and drink lots of water so you can keep your system going....and going....and going.  Gotta help your liver get rid of the excess estrogen.
  5. Exercise regularly.  Walking, running, playing sports or dancing is a great way to increase your oxygen intake which aids nutrient absorption and the elimination of toxins.
  6. Get out in the sun.  Sunlight boosts melatonin and serotonin which help you sleep.
  7. Start using herbs for relief.  You can used herbal remedies in so many format such as ointments for aches and pains, teas, slaves or aromatherapy.
Herbs for PMS (I know there are many more):
  • Wild yam
  • Angelica
  • Chasteberry - can balance hormones
  • Skullcap - can relieve nervous tension and irritability
  • Raspberry - good for the uterus
  • Ginger - can be a substitute for chocolate
  • Dong quai
  • Fennel seed
  • Black cohosh
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Squaw vine
  • Blessed thistle
My herbal Hormone tea (Original Herbal Remedies) is composed of the following herbs: Black cohosh, Sarsaparilla, Ginseng, Licorice root, Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, Red Clover, Dong quai, Black Haw bark, Fo-ti. 

I'm a firm believer that NATURE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS!

Have you found natural ways of dealing with PMS?

Men - please share this with the lovely ladies in your life! Remember...we love you in spite of what come out of our mouths....It's the hormones talking! :)

Peace and love!
Reference: Natural Remedies Encyclopedia - Vance Ferrell and Harold Cherne, M.D.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Detoxification: Liver and Onions Part 2

Spring is on the way! I can feel it in my bones, even though the temperature was only 42 degrees in the North East yesterday. I cleaned out some (not all) spiritual dirt by participating in the Daniel Fast.  Now it's time to clean out my liver........again!  I started a liver flush in October 2013, but it got derailed because I caught a cold.  It's time to try it again!

Here is what the flush is composed of:

Week 1 - 3: preparation
  1. Drink Burdock Root tea every morning (2 cups)
  2. Drink Liver/Gall bladder tea every other day (4-6 cups)
  3. Drink Detox tea every other day (4-6 cups)
  4. Drink Dandelion tea every night (1 cup)
Week 4:  The Flush.......
  1. Purifying raw food (2 days)
  2. Juice fast (3 days)
Based on my previous detox experiences (dry brushing, 30 Day Raw Food), I surmise that week 4 will be a doozy!  I have never truly prepared myself for a detox...I just jump into it, and 75% of the time I got hit with serious detox symptoms.  Some symptoms include joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, irritability and extreme fatigue.

This will be the first time I'm actually preparing my self.  So far, so good.  I'm on day #4 and coupling it with dry brushing.  There are so many teas to drink, I don't have belly room for junk!

Liver cleansing is key to a healthy body.  I'm embarking upon this journey again, with hopes of seeing it through till the end.  Pray church!! :)

The Liver Gall Bladder tea contains: dandelion, barberry, chamomile, yellow dock, fringtree and peppermint.

The Flush tea contains: alfalfa, blackberry leaf, myrtle leaf, uva ursi, rosehips, nettle, juniper berries, licorice root, sage.

I'm hoping to FINALLY get rid of my dry skin, bad circulation, night sweats, cravings, and skin discoloration.  Oh...and joint pain! It's all about giving my liver a HUMONGOUS hug and kiss!

If you have allergies, body odor, cravings, dry skin, joint pain, night sweats, varicose veins, bad PMS, low energy, constipation, insomnia....try cleaning out your liver.  Drinking herbal tea and eating clean food will do NOTHING but improve your health.

As usual I have my detox journal primed and ready to capture the "fun" so......stay tuned!!!

Peace and love!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Confessions of a Naturalista: Emotional Eating

I never considered myself an emotional eater until after I completed the Daniel Fast.  I've been in denial and truth be told I felt a bit superior to people who accepted that title.  What I've learned about myself is that I don't eat very much when I'm depressed,  and I do eat junk food when I'm stressed or feeling inadequate. Why junk food and not fruit, vegetables and nuts??? Because junk food = comfort food.  Comfort food makes you feel good because it tastes good and is familiar. The problem with eating junk food to ease stress is that it's not good for you, adds unnecessary fat, calories, sugar and salt to your diet and promotes weight gain. Both situations  (not eating and eating junk food) shine light on unhealthy coping skills.

Since 2014 started my stress levels have been through the roof! I think I bit off more than I can chew.  I feel it in my body and I SEE it when I look in the mirror.  Since I've admitted my emotional eater status, I've been making calculated moves to NOT indulge in junk food and look for alternatives.  I bathed in essential oils and salts three times in one week - it was awesome!  I'm also sharing an article (more for me than you) I wrote last year on ways to relieve stress.  I came up with 11 natural and low cost ways to eliminate stress.  I'll definitely be trying all of these out AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Stress is a killer and I need to get rid of this emotional eating baggage!

11 Natural Ways to Eliminate Stress:

1.     Eliminate the effect of foolishness on your mind.  You cannot control people, but you can control how they affect you. Turn the volume down on the outside "noise" or mute it altogether.  (free)

2.      Pray/meditate. (free)

3.     Find ways to RELAX: bubble baths, massage therapy, aroma therapy. My favorite essential oils for relaxation are: lavender, chamomile and sage.

4.    Have fun! Watch funny TV shows or movies, go to comedy shows, and hang out with amazingly positive people who are invested in your well-being.  This means there will be no drama or sharing of conversations with anyone who has no right to be in your business (!!!).  (mostly free)

Amazing friends work wonders for eliminating stress

5.     Get involved in things outside yourself: volunteer for a cause.  Make sure you are helping somebody with something EVERYDAY. (could be free)

6.     Re-awaken the hobbies or activities you REALLY ENJOY.  Reading, crafts, travel, etc.

7.      Get in the gym or on the track, trail, tennis court, kick ball field, or roller skating rink…. and work it out!  Allow your body to release endorphins that will put some pep in your step and calm your nerves. 


 8.    Don’t let your undies get in a bunch and don’t sweat the small stuff.  If your undies are always bunched up or you find yourself sweating too much….evaluate how you are reacting to people and situations around you.  I consider myself a “reactor”.  I react in some way shape or form (internally or externally to EVERYTHING).  I am learning to TRULY pick my battles and to be less reactive. Thank you Lord!  It’s so much easier this way.  I feel more balanced.  You will still have to address pertinent issues…but the situations will be more controlled. (free)
9.  Eliminate/Manage stress factors:  You know what the stress factors are in your life.  I know what mine are, and I have to manage them in order to be sane. (free) Some examples include:
  •  Crazy drama filled friends – who needs the extra drama? Just watch SCANDAL J
  • Pressure from work - set boundaries so you don’t lose your mind or over commit.
  • Hyper children - do not feed them any sugar, make sure they have a well-balanced diet and are in bed as early as possible.  That leaves more down time for you and provides an opportunity to get other things done.

10.   EAT GOOD, NOURISHING FOOD.  This tip is in capital letters because we don’t realize how important our diet is to our emotional and mental health.  We overlook what we put in our mouths and focus on the external stress factors.  Eating well will help.  Stress is an emotional reaction and can manifest in the physical and mental arenas of our lives.

An apple a day keeps the stress away (Robert Couse-Baker)

Too much refined sugar, caffeine, salt and dead food puts us on a mood swing roller coaster and does not provide the nourishment our minds and bodies need to be strong, quick and sharp.

11.    Get plenty of rest.  This is something I am still struggling with.  When I do sleep well I can tell the difference! (free)


Friday, March 14, 2014

The Hair Journey: 100% Natural Hair Care Products

I've stated before that since my hair is "natural" I want to nourish  and care for it by using natural hair care products.  These days there are so many products on the market for natural hair, but how many of the niche and mainstream products are all natural?  Most of what you find will contain some natural ingredients but not all.  The majority of the ingredients are derived by synthetic means and you can't even pronounce them!  The Kinky Curly line comes the closest (in my opinion).

Because of the desire to care for my hair with natural substances, I've expanded my hair care repertoire from shea butter, aloe and apple cider vinegar (ACV) to products made by Herbal Bush House.  For the last two months I've been using these products and I am VERY pleased!!! I started with the shampoo and rinse, then included the pomade.  They contain ingredients you can find in your kitchen or garden and I can pronounce every word! :)


Contains: purified water, rose, black walnut leaf, neem, rosemary, yarrow, foti root, basil leaf, horsetail, coconut oil, potassium hydroxide, olive oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil and citric acid

My rating:  GOOD, will continue to use


Contains: purified water, hibiscus, amla, pea protein, apple cider vinegar, rose, black walnut leaf, neem, rosemary, yarrow, foti root, basil leaf, horsetail, coconut oil, potassium hydroxide, olive oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil and citric acid

My rating: The BOMB DIGGY, LOVE THIS STUFF!!! This product softens my hair, and I've been using it as a sort of "co-wash" when I don't want to shampoo my hair. 


Contains: avocado oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, slippery elm, Irish moss, flax seed and rosemary essential oil
My rating: The BOMB DIGGY!!!! LOVE THIS STUFF!! I've been using it for my wet and dry twist and braid outs as featured in my last styling frenzy.  I've also been using it daily, especially after I release my twists.  It leaves my hair soft and "fluffy" and well nourished.

Dry skinny twist out using Herbal Bush House "Soil" line

Have you found any other 100% natural products on the market?  Do you make your own?

If you are interested in trying these products click the Herbal Bush House link and you will be on their webpage.

Peace and love!

Caleb's Corner: Vegan (allergy free) Banana Pancakes

I've continued to explore alternative breakfast options for Caleb based on his requests for "no more chia Mommy".   A co-worker of mine, shared a great Paleo banana pancake recipe that I tweaked to make it vegan and allergy free. Most of food blogs I read ALWAYS show a finished product that looks amazing...but I can't help but wonder how many have struggled with their "first attempts" and ended up with great tasting food that looked like a train wreck! Well, that was my first experience with these banana pancakes.  But since Caleb ate almost every morsel I'm sharing the experience with you!
Vegan (allergy free) Banana Pancakes:
1/2 cup of hemp seed milk
2 fresh bananas
2 TBS of coconut flour
egg replacer
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
coconut oil

Bananas, coconut flour, coconut oil, hemp seed milk

Mashed bananas first

Then wisked all ingredients together

Added egg replacer (at the last minute)

Blended mix

First two pancakes.....not pretty!
Here is where I ran into trouble.  The batter seemed too moist and it was hard to maneuver the pancakes in the I added flax seeds  (1/4 cup) on the fly to improve the consistency of the batter. 
Added flax seeds to help with consistency.....
 I still had trouble with sticking in the pan but the result was MUCH better than before! SCORE!  Well kind of...:)
Finished product ....much better!!

He's loving them!!

Oh yeah! :)

Nearly demolished! :)
Ever tired the Paleo banana pancakes?  What recipes have you tried and ended up with great tasting food that didn't look so good?
Peace and love!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Heavenly Hibiscus aka Spicy Sorrel Tea

I have found a great tea that satisfies my sweet cravings in the afternoon! Fist pump!! I actually said "N-O" to my friends Ben and Jerry, and "Y-E-S" to the alternative...... I'm calling it the Heavenly Hibiscus aka Spicy Sorrel Tea! Check out the benefits of hibiscus and how the tea is made on My Faith and Fitness Nutrition Nook page (click the link below).

Peace and love!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another Styling Frenzy!

I'm at it again!! I am a bonafide "hair person".  I love finding new ways to style my hair and the longer it gets, the more creative I have to be to keep it fresh and not look a hot mess (especially at work).   I went on another styling frenzy that I want to share with you guys. 

It all started with me wanting to see a different curl pattern without using heat. I tried to employ the same tactics as Akua with her no heat straightening techniques.  All of the styles that I will show you originated from what I'm calling the Sealy Braid Out.

#1 - Sealy Braid Out Fro - I'm sorry to write that I forgot to take a picture of my Sealy Braids.  So I'll describe them to you.  I took my freshly washed hair and parted large sections, combed  out each section and braided everything.  Now that I think about it...I'm kind of glad I don't have a was quite a sight. 

The next morning I released the braids and fluffed my hair out:

#2 - The next day I tried to wear this style again and it was a I decided to try an up do.  This is called Hair Kandy in honor of the comb I wore in the back.


#3 - That night I decided to try one of my old twist out styles.  I call it the Skinny Twist Out.  First I had to twist it...which took 3 hours.  Then I styled it in another up do.

#4 - After a few days, I decided to take out the twists.  I call this one the Wild Child Fro!

My favorite style from the frenzy is the Hair Kandy.....although those bobby pins were a killer!! So...4 different looks from one week of "stretching" my hair with no heat! Love it!!!
Which style is your favorite?
Peace and love!