Essential oils, Homemade products

12 Day of Homemade Christmas Presents

Day 1: Lip Balm

Day 2: Beeswax Candles

Day 3: Hot Chocolate Mix

Day 4: Beeswax Food Wraps

Day 5: Homemade Paper

Day 6: Homemade Hand Soap

Day 7: Anti-Aging Facial Serum

Day 8: Eyelash Serum/Makeup Remover

Day 9: Toxin Free Facewash

Day 10: Natural Face Toner

Day 11: Low Carb Chocolate Bark

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Uncategorized

Homemade Lip Balm Recipe

Lip Balm Recipe:

First, let me say that I purchased all the ingredients except for the coconut oil on Amazon. Nice and easy! This recipe will make enough to fill up 24 lip balm tubes, which is how many there was in the package.

  • 1/4 cup beeswax pellets
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1½ tsp vitamin E oil
  • Essential oils of your choice or vanilla extract

Start by adding the beeswax and coconut oil to a double boiler to melt them together. I used a glass measuring cup so that it would be easy to pour once they were melted.

Once the oil and wax have melted together, remove from heat and add the Vitamin E and stir.You can now fill up your lip balm containers and add about 5 drops of your essential oil of choice per tube. It’s messy, I recommend putting your tubes on a cookie sheet.

You will have to add a bit more of your oil and beeswax mix to make your tops smoother once it starts hardening.

That’s it! You are all done!

For more great ideas, check out this page.

Diets, Plant Based, Uncategorized, Vegan Ketogenic

Vegan Low Carb Detox

I am planning a super exciting project for the end of January: a 21 Day Vegan Low Carb Detox. Detoxying helps support your body’s healing abilities. Environmental toxins, poor diet and lifestyle put incredible demands on our bodies and this is why we need to make sure we do a detox at least twice a year.

Why a Vegan Low Carb Detox?

A detox is like pushing the reset button. Avoiding certain foods during a detox doesn’t mean that these foods are harmful, but they might require your body to expend more energy using the nutrients they provide. Furthermore, eating the same foods over and over, no matter how healthy they are, can cause you to become sensitive to them. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is a common problem today. It increases the likelihood that you will react to what you eat because it allows undigested food particles to cross into your bloodstream. Your body will fight off these invaders and cause unpleasant symptoms.

This Detox will be vegan because most of us eat too much animal protein, which is harder to digest. Some argue that plants are hard to digest because of their cellulose content, but I think it is faulty reasoning. The cellulose is simply fiber, it helps clean out your digestive tracts and reduces your risks of cancer. Considering all the healing and detoxing protocols revolving around meat (GAPS,WHALS protocol, Whole 30, AIP, SCD), I have struggled for a while with the place of meat in a health promoting diet. I have come to the conclusion that eating meat is fine, but in moderation. Also, it is best to consume organic meat.

However, in the context of a detox, the goal is to consume nutrients dense foods while facilating the digestive process. It is well know that animal protein sources are highly thermogenic. For this reason, many weight loss programs require a clean source of animal protein with every meal. Since detoxing is the goal rather than weight loss, let’s make our meals as easily digestible as possible. When your body is not busy digesting, it is regenerating. Even so, you may find that you lose weight simply by avoiding sugar and inflammatory foods.

Now you know why I chose vegan. Why did I chose low carb? Because after years of overindulgence, most of us struggle with uneven blood sugars and some level of insulin resistance. And, yes, carbs increase insulin levels. By keeping your daily carb consumption to between 30 and 150 grams, you might see the following benefits:

  • fast weight loss;
  • reduced hunger;
  • better control over insulin and blood sugar;
  • enhanced cognitive performance;
  • lower risk for heart disease factors.

However, as for meat, I want to make it clear that is is a temporary detox measure, not a long term plan. For most of us, carbs are an important part of a healthy diet. Each of us is different and need to figure out what works for our body.

If you would like to join our January Detox group, comment below or email me. You can also join later in the year if you miss the January one. Here is what you will get: access to our Facebook community and our weekly live videos, a booklet explaining the plan and how it works, a meal plan, grocery shopping lists, recipes that will include all your nutritional information as well as advice on supplements and essential oils to support your detox. All this for free (all you need to purchase is your supplements if you decide you want them). I hope to see you there!

Recipes, Uncategorized

N’oatmeal Raisins Cookies (Paleo, Grain-free)

These paleo cookies are truly reminiscent of oatmeal raisins cookies.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups almond flour

1 cup arrowroot flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup coconut oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup raisins

a handful of walnuts

Mix am the ingredients and he dough should look like this:

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Form into cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes.

That’s it! So simple and delicious!

Disease Prevention, General Health

Essential Oils for Diabetes

Before I go on with this post, I want to make it clear that I am not claiming that essential oils can cure diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes sufferers have the inability to use insulin properly. This post is about stabilizing insulin levels and using it properly, so it is relevant to type 2 diabetes. We have talked about the importance of proper insulin levels in the body, but how can we encourage stable blood glucose level naturally? This is what we will be talking about here.

 

Before talking about essential oils that might help, it is important to remind you that exercise and diet are the two most critical factors. Exercising each day is the very most important thing you can do. Avoiding sugar and lowering your carb intake is also an extremely effective approach. Now back to essential oils. Keep in mind that, although debated, internal use seems to be the most effective. I say it is debated because some worry about internal use safety. I believe it is safe and I will post on that in the future, but you can also apply the oil to the sole of your feet, behind your ears and on your temples.

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Essential Oils for Diabetes

  1. Cinnamon: Cinnamon in powder form has been vastly researched for lowering glucose levels. Cinnamon in essential oil form has also been studied as an effective pancreatic support.
  2. Essential oil blends: Synergy is often key when it comes to nutrients. For example, you might have heard about how we need vitamin C to absorb iron and magnesium to absorb calcium. Similarly, herbs and essential oils can work together to increase their potency and effectiveness. For example, black pepper (with is compound piperine)  increases the bio-availability of turmeric. In this study, a combination of various combinations of essential oils such as fenugreek, cinnamon, cumin and oregano was found to be effective in lowering glucose levels.
  3. Turmeric and pepper: Turmeric has been used effectively for the treatment of diabetes in Aruyedic medicines and tradition Chinese medicine. I added pepper since we know it helps with bio-availability.
  4. Coriander has been show to have an effect on insulin release.
  5. Clove bud
  6. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

 

Essential OIl protocol for Diabetes

Start with 8-10 drops of coriander in a veggie capsule every day. Also experiment making your own blends with the oils mentioned above. I would love to hear what results you get. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to suffer from diabetes to try these. We can all benefit from more stable blood sugar levels. Insulin impacts all the other hormones in your body and ensuring that you don’t have insulin spikes will improve your overall health.

Gut health

Best Probiotic for Histamine Intolerance

Histamine intolerance is a term that is becoming more commonly known. It can explain things like headaches, menstrual irregularities, reactions to wine and chocolate, a runny nose or itchy tongue when eating bananas, pineapple and various skin issues.

What is histamine?

I am sure you have heard of antihistamine, the medication people take when they suffer from allergies. Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell so your white blood cells can quickly attack the foreign invader. So the role of histamine is to cause immediate inflammation in your body. Many people suffer from this constant inflammatory state and the histamine buildup can cause many unpleasant symptoms.

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How can probiotics help?

Your gut affects every aspect of your health, we have talked about this before. Your body is like a bucket that overflows if you keep filling it up with toxins, unhealthy foods and poor lifestyle practices. You could also compare it to a bank account, and you don’t want to withdraw more than you deposit. Feeding your gut bacteria counts as putting money in your bank account. However, some strains are said to be detrimental to those with histamine issues. I found Lactobacillus casei mentioned in more than one place as a strain to avoid for those with histamine issues, but to be honest, I feel that this is debatable. Like the histamine food lists, sometimes the benefits are so important, avoiding them might not be worth it. Some people avoid tomatoes and eat white bread thinking they are doing the right thing by following these rules. I believe it is important to use your common sense and listen to your body. When it comes to conquering histamine, the Web site Healing Histamine is the most helpful resource. She explains that the focus should be on health as a whole rather than on avoiding histamine. Similarly, because of their histamine content, fermented foods should be avoided by some, but will help others. It is important to remember that the problem is not the histamine itself, but rather your body’s inability to break it down. Feeding your gut will improve your general health and your body’s functions.

For those struggling with symptoms caused by histamine, the strains most commonly recommended are bifidobacteria. It is the dominating strain in the gut of healthy breastfed infants. It accounts for more than 80% of microorganisms within the intestine.  Bifidobacterium infants, bifidobacterium longum and bifidobacteriun bifidum not only help reduce allergy symptoms like itchy skin and sinus congestion, but they can also help with headaches, cramps and diarrhea. According to this study, lactobacillus as well as bifidobacterium help alleviate symptoms of allergy.

In conclusion, the world of probiotic strains can get a bit overwhelming and confusing. Some say to pick a probiotic that has at least seven strains and 5 billion CFUs and some recommend certain strains for certain issues. I think the body is an amazing complex machine and trying to put probiotic strains in neat little boxes may make for pretty and reassuring charts, but not for truly reliable information. I recommend you go and try reputable brands and see how it helps you.

Recipes, Uncategorized

Easy Make Ahead Meal Ideas

As most busy mamas know, days can get pretty crazy! I have often felt like I needed a private cook to keep up with all the demands on my time, but I have developed a few ways over the years to simplify the task of putting healthy meals on the table each day.A very important one is freezer cooking. Each week, I try to make at least one meal a double or triple batch to have enough for the freezer. Keep in mind, this is no small feet as feeding my family one meal requires to double most recipes. Another method is make ahead meals. This is the one I will be talking about today.

Easy make ahead meals

In the Winter, one of my favorite ways to save time on cooking is to make a big batch of soup or stew. This is then our lunch a few days in a row with the option to add some bread or a side salad depending on how much time I have each day.

I also often use Saturday to do some prep work that allows me to throw many meals together during the week. In addition, I try to have some portable options for days when we are on the go. Here is an example of what you can do:

1- Hard boiled eggs: Hard boiled eggs are the convenience food by excellence. I cook them in my pressure cooker set on 6 minutes (my rice setting). Put about an inch of water at the bottom of your pot and make sure to release the pressure as soon as they are done. Then, you need to put them in cold water right away and they turn out just perfect. The shell almost slides off, even with my fresh eggs.

2- Salmon patties: I have posted about my salmon patties before. I just love them! I use 3 cans of salmon, 2 eggs, spices and some sort of flour. I made them with about 2/3 cup of roasted sweet potatoes as well. I have used cumin, salt, mustard powder, Herbamare salt or sea salt. The seasoning possibilities are endless. I have used 3 TBS of coconut flour or 1/3 cup of almond flour. It all works out. The best part is, I cook them in my waffle maker. Before discovering that method, I could never flip any salmon patties recipe without destroying them. Now, they stay together and cook perfectly.

3- Coleslaw: There is no doubt that coleslaw is the best make ahead salad. I have been making it with cabbage, carrots, apples and celery. Sometimes I even add in some sunflower seeds and raisins. For the dressing, I use homemade mayo with lemon juice, mustard and a bit of organic cane sugar in it.

4- Marinated meat: Marinating your meat is a great way to prepare ahead. Today, I marinated shrimps in ginger, garlic, tamari, sesame oil and honey. Yum! You could use chicken and change up the marinade to suit your taste.

5- Cauliflower rice: Cauliflower rice also works great to prepare ahead of time. Today, I made it with some celery and parsley. Cilantro or zucchini is also a great addition. When you are ready to use it, just cook it on the stove to soften it and warm it up. Add salt or any spice you like.

These are some ideas you can use to simplify getting dinner ready. And don’t forget: meat and roasted veggies are also a super quick healthy meal!

Gut health, Recipes

Making Coconut Yogurt with a Probiotic Capsule

Ah! Yogurt! Versatile and nutritious, it nourishes the body and heals the gut. Its benefits are multiplied if you make it yourself and ferment it for 24 hours. Also, making your own yogurt allows you to use any type of milk and avoid dairy if needed. During this experiment, I tried four different recipes and four different probiotics. I used coconut milk in all instances except for the last one . The first recipe I followed was from Danielle Walker’s book, Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great.  I halved the quantities, but still added a full capsule of probiotic.

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The result was amazing! Great texture and taste! So, the recipe consists of two cans of coconut milk, 1 tbsp gelatine and one tbsp honey.

Later, I tested this recipe. I put in tapioca starch as a thickener in one version and agar powder in the other. The yogurt didn’t get much thicker, I found that gelatin works a lot better. It still tasted great!

Yogurt thickened with tapioca

A few weeks later, I decided to reattempt Danielle Walker’s recipe to experiment with a third probiotic I had in the fridge.

Lastly, we had  been getting some goat’s milk, so I decided to prepare a batch with a third probiotic. I used only one capsule for a litre of milk. I didn’t add any thickener, but I strained it as shown in the picture. The result was impressive! The taste was just sour enough and the yogurt had a nice consistency.

Goat’s milk yogurt.

So what’s the conclusion of this experiment? You don’t need a specially formulated yogurt starter to get great yogurt, all you need is a great probiotic!

“All disease begins in the gut” is a very important quote attributed to Hippocrates, a Greek physician considered to be the father of medicine. Yogurt is a superfood to improve your gut health. If you would like to know more and purchase quality supplements, please email me here.

For a visual to help you learn more about making yogurt with a probiotic capsule, watch this video (I forgot to mention that the fermentation time is 24 hours):

General Health, Uncategorized

Healing Foods to Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation has become a trendy word in the world of health and nutrition. Why? Because it is at the root of most chronic health issues along with the microbiome. Let’s look at the causes of inflammation and talk about the foods that help reduce inflammation.

What causes inflammation?

Have you ever heard of Donna Gates? She is a pioneer in the gut health movement. Her book, The Body Ecology Diet, has become a classic.

She defines inflammation as your body’s response to stress. Some inflammation is useful and necessary, like when you catch a cold, but now we have an epidemic of chronic, low grade inflammation. She mentions two very important causes of chronic inflammation, which we have talked about on this blog: food sensitivities and microbiome imbalances. Along with that, there is stress, environmental toxicity and poor lifestyle choices.

What are the healing foods that help reduce inflammation?

As you might know, the excess of omega 6 found in processed foods is a major cause of inflammation. It follows logically that consuming omega-3 rich foods is helpful in reducing inflammation:

1- Fatty fish

2- Olive oil

3- Nuts and seeds

Fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, also help restore health and repair the body.

1- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, aragula, bok choy, cabbage, swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, etc. are nutrition powerhouses. If you struggle getting enough, adding them to smoothies and juicing them is a great option. I love this juice.

2- Ginger has been known mainly for helping with stomach upsets and nausea. Did you know that it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been used to treat arthritis?

3- Turmeric has been vastly studied in scientific literature. This beautifully coloured root has been shown to help as an antidepressant, an anticoagulant and guess what? An anti-inflammatory! You can use the fresh root to make tea, juices, curry and many other delicious dishes. You can also purchase turmeric in the form of a supplement.

4- Pineapple, rich in bromelain, also helps combat inflammation.

5- Celery, with its high vitamin and mineral content, has many health benefits. In particular, it is a great source of potassium and we are discovering that the right balance between potassium and sodium is also an important factor in fighting inflammation. Other potassium rich foods include squash, avocados, sweet potatoes, white beans and bananas.

6- Beets, known for their bright colour, are full of antioxidants. They also contain betaine and pectin, which help detoxify the body.

7- Blueberries have been known for their antioxidant properties for a long time! They also contain a strong anti-inflammatory called quercetin. Quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant, play an important role in fighting free radical damage and inflammation.

Food is fuel for your body. It sends information to your cells, that is why it is so important to emphasize foods that are healing in your diet. When you eat as much anti-inflammatory foods as possible, you have less space in your diet for the inflammatory choices that would harm you. I once read the advice that one should make sure to drink a quart of green juice, a quart of green smoothie and eat a great big salad each day. This advice was an eye opener for me. I haven’t put it into practice religiously, but I have taken to heart to focus on nutrient density in my diet. I think you should too!

General Health, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

How to Stop Craving Carbs and and Sugar

Almost everyone can relate to that intense desire to eat more bread or cookies. Sugar and carbs are really the same thing here. Carbohydrate-containing foods will metabolize into sugar by your body. To understand how to stop craving carbs, we need to understand what causes these cravings.

What causes us to crave sugar

Blood sugar imbalances, causing insulin surges, are responsible for carb cravings. It is a viscous circle: you eat carbs, you crave more carbs! Not only that, but your gut bacteria will cause you to crave certain foods. For example, if you suffer from candida overgrowth, the little bugs will really work hard at getting you to feed them sugar. Lastly, eating carbs and sugar provides a burst of serotonin and endorphins. It makes you feel good! Hormonal imbalances will make you more vulnerable to cravings, which explains why women tend to struggle with cravings before their menstruations.

How to Stop Craving Carbs and Sugar

1- Stabilize your blood sugar: Avoiding sugar and processed foods is critical if you want to get off that insulin roller coaster. Using stevia in place of sugar in your sweet treats will help when you feel like you NEED sugar. Gradually, you will find that the cravings are not as strong. Eating more healthy fat and protein, drinking enough water are other ways to improve your glucose metabolism. Also, make sure you consume at least 7-9 cups of vegetables each day. Nutritional yeast is also a great addition to your diet as it provides the B vitamins necessary to lowering insulin.

2- Feed the good bugs in your gut: The brain-gut axis is becoming very well researched. This term doesn’t describe a physical network, but rather the interrelationship between the intestines and the brain. It describes how the microbes in your intestines have an impact on your behaviour and that include your food choices, since different microbes prefer different foods. Furthermore, the vagus nerve (connecting your brain to your gut) plays a major role in brain to gut signaling. When food arrives in your stomach, your gut bacteria will determine whether your vagus nerve will suppress your hunger or not.

3- Get rid of candida overgrowth: Candida, on top of it’s various unpleasant symptoms, will cause you to crave more carbs because that is what it feeds on.

4- Get natural energy: Food sensitivities can leave you drained and looking to sugar as a pick me up. Go through an elimination diet to see if your cravings improve. Avoid gluten, dairy, corn and soy for at least 21 days and start reintroducing them gradually to see if you react to them. Wait 3 days between each reintroduction and keep a journal to write how you feel. Also, feed your body the nutrients it needs to avoid cravings.

If you would like to improve your energy and reduce your cravings, don’t hesitate to contact me here. I would love to accompany you on your journey and I can add you to our Detox through Food and Essential Oils Facebook group.