Friday, September 13, 2013

Easy DIY Cold And Flu Remedy Honey and Ginger

Make this super simple honey and ginger remedy BEFORE cold and flu hits your home.
Ginger is well known for treating upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, and cough and colds and honey will sooth a sore throat, calm inflamed membranes and ease a cough. Both ginger and honey are great immune system builders and provide extra energy, and both have antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties.

Keep this herbal honey on the table and take a teaspoon a day to not only ward off 
colds but also helps improve digestion and decrease inflammation in the body.
And you only need 2 ingredients! Ginger and Honey!


I use organic ginger and local raw honey because I like to know what I'm eating and also to get the most nutritional value possible but use whatever you have available to you. 
You can also use powdered ginger if that's all you have access to. 
For powdered use 1 tablespoon of ginger to 1 cup of honey.
~
This is a great tip I learned for peeling ginger, use a spoon to gently scrape away the outer skin. It saves a lot more of the ginger too.

Next you can grate the ginger with a grater but I don't like how it gets all stringy so I'm going to coarsely chop then chop into finer pieces in the food processor




 I filled the jar I'm using about 2/3 full of ginger to leave room for the honey


then add the honey by spoonfuls until the jar is full


and there's your finished herbal honey


Herbal honey's are very stable because of the honey and can stay out of the refrigerator for up to 1 year. Make sure you leave this out where you know you'll see it so you remember to use it!

If you don't have time to make this honey you can purchase some here:

If you do get a cold or flu use a teaspoon of this honey in a cup of hot water with lemon as needed to cut duration of illness and speed recovery. The ginger and lemon will also help break a fever.

You can also add cinnamon to your ginger honey for added health benefits and flavor.
Cinnamon also helps build immunity, sends cold's packing and improves digestion.
For 1 cup of herbal honey add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.

Cinnamon ginger honey is great on toast and hot cereal, and makes a nice tea.

Caution: Do not give honey to infants under 1 year. 


Disclaimer-All health care information is for educational purposes only. Please consult a health care practitioner or physician regarding products and recommendations from this site. The products shown, recommended or sold here are not intended as a cure, treatment or to diagnose any disease. If adverse reaction occurs to any product discontinue use and consult a physician immediately.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

DIY Trader Joe's Lavender Dryer Bags

Tutorial For DIY Trader Joe's Lavender Dryer Bags

Love the scent of Lavender on your linens?
These dryer bags are too easy and inexpensive not to make yourself, plus I will show you how to enhance the scent by adding essential oils to your dryer bags.

      
      What you need:
  • Lavender flowers dried
  • t-sac Tea Bags
  • Flat Iron

     You can get the Lavender and Tea bags from any health food store



Open the empty tea bag and put in 1+1/2 teaspoons of lavender flowers




Next fold down the flap and seal with a hot flat iron being careful not to burn yourself.
I have a mini flat iron that is perfect for this!



Now you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to mix with the lavender scent.
Just drop a few drops right onto the bag before putting in the dryer.


Some of my favorites are:
  • Lavender with Orange and Vanilla
  • Lavender with Peppermint
  • Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus (for smelly dog blankets)
Plus they Make great gifts, just tie with a ribbon!


Keep finished bags in a zip lock bag to keep them fresh and put in the 
laundry room so you don't forget to use them!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Health Benefits of Fermented foods

Have you tried fermented foods? If you're not sure you probably have without knowing it.
Today there are a lot of popular drinks and pills like "Kombucha" and "probiotics" and we've all heard that yoghurt is good for our digestion but when you start talking about billions of lactobacillus even I get a bit lost.
But fermenting foods is nothing new, our ancestors have been doing this form of food preservation for centuries, think miso and sauerkraut.
Science is just finding out how healthy these foods are for us, also how they help our bodies digest and absorb nutrients, add essential vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids to foods while removing toxins.
                                   

"The fermentation doesn't just preserve the foods they make them rich in healthy microbes"


I used to have a lot of problems with my digestion before understanding and noticing the link between what I'm putting into my body and how my body is reacting. I knew little about food allergies, sensitivities and healthy gut flora.

Gut flora might sound kinda weird but really they are the tiny microbes living in our stomach lining and digestive tract, they are considered the "healthy" bacteria. This healthy bacteria is essential for a balanced hormone production, healthy immune function, and can even help prevent depression. 
  
The balance of "good" bacteria to "bad" bacteria ratio is very important and should be in the range of about 80% "good" to 20% "bad" but sadly in our North American diets is is often the opposite!
This unbalance is also due to our Health Care culture of over-prescribing antibiotics, which kill all bacteria, the good, the bad and the ugly!
For more information on healthy gut flora click here fermented and cultured


If you suffer from regular heartburn and indigestion you may want to start doing some research into how fermented foods can help.
Water Kefir Grains

I started using water kefir grains a few years ago and noticed the health and digestion benefits soon after; less indigestion, gas and bloating, more energy and even better complexion!
Making your own kefir grain drinks is very simple and since they grow when you use them you can give the surplus away and get all your friends to try it too. You can also get milk kefir grains but use the water grains if you are lactose intolerant like me.
 There might be an online site near you where you can get kefir grains for free locally. Here is a free site for the San Francisco/Bay Area  Kefir Grains

And if you're really interested in trying to make your own fermented foods 
check out this site Wild Fermentation
They have tonnes of recipes and information to get you started.

~

This super easy to make elixer aids digestion and is good to use where there is gas, bloating, and discomfort after eating. 
Mix equal parts honey with apple cider vinegar in a container with a tight fitting lid, keep refrigerated or it will ferment and turn to alcohol.
 Take one tablespoon of elixer before meals, make sure to shake mixture before taking each time as it may separate.

This powerful "Oxymel", it's called, helps digest fats, 
carbs and protein and helps revitalize the metabolism.

~

Another great way to get healthy fermented food into your diet is with a
sourdough bread starter, and yes you can make them gluten free!
Sourdough starters can be used to make your own pancakes, 
bread, muffins and add some air and spring to your baked goods. 
This recipe for a gluten free started uses a mixture of gf flours but you can make a starter with any one of these flours, you don't have to use them all.

Now you have some information on healthy flora and hopefully some inspiration on making your own fermentations or at least working some more fermented foods into your life.

When you use less energy digesting you can use more energy thinking and creating!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lemonade with Ginger, Sage, Echinacea

Stay healthy during cold and flu season with this delicious lemonade elixer. Make your own according to taste and available ingredients. I make a big pitcher of this juice and drink daily to keep up immunity during the cold season or when I'm feeling run down. Lemons, Sage and Honey are especially soothing for sore throats. 


What you will Need:
-10 Lemons 
-2 Tblsp Echinacea (dried)
-2 Tblsp White Sage fresh or dried
-2 Tbl Ginger fresh sliced
-8 tblsp Raw Honey (to taste)
-10 cups distilled water

Measure 2 cups of distilled water and pour into saucepan, next add Echinacea, Sage and Ginger. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes being careful not to let mixture get to a rolling boil.
Strain the mixture into a heat safe container, next add 6 tblsp of the honey to the hot herbal mix and stir until dissolved.

Next squeeze or press 8-10 medium sized lemons into a glass pitcher (I like mine quite lemony), add 8 cups of distilled water and 1 cup of the herbal honey mixture. Chill and taste.
At this point you can add more lemons to make it more sour and if you like it sweeter add more honey. I find it easiest to add honey to hot water to dissolve first. Use 1 tblsp to 1/2 cup of water and add in increments according to taste.


I also like my juice with lots of ginger and add another tblsp of fresh sliced ginger to stay in the pitcher, it generally stays on the bottom. This doesn't last long in my house!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

RE: Homemade Dog Food For Arthritis Update

An Update on this recipe...

I am now feeding my dogs 3/4 wet homemade dog food to 1/4 dry kibble and make the food without meat so I can rotate different options of protein into each meal. I am using more fish, such as canned salmon and sardines, this helps to keep their weight down and supply omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are good for the skin and coat. In addition, they help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
I will also add one eggs a couple of times a week, my dogs are 80 and 100lbs so I will add a whole egg per dish of food. Yogurt is also a nice treat for them and good for digestion.

Keeping their weight down is always a challenge so I have decreased the barley and lentils to add more quinoa, squash, raw apples and carrots, fresh peas, blueberries and greens.
Try different things out on your dogs to see what they like. 

Never feed dogs grapes, rasins, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, avocado's or macadamia nuts
and try to limit fat scraps.

This will keep in the fridge for a week. I make 2 large pots at a time and freeze one pot so I only have to make the food once a week.













Here is a pic of the homeopathic pellets that I have my Rottweiler on that make the biggest difference in her mobility.

I started her on 2 pellets 2x day for a month and now keep her on 2 pellets once a day. I have tried to reduce to 3x a week and she started limping.
These pellets can be found at most health food stores or try looking online. I use rhus toxicodendron  30c and bryonia alba 30c
Remember she is a 100lb Rottweiler so consult your vet or health professional before giving your pet any medications for specific amounts.

That's all for now, good luck and keep me posted on any updates or great tips you may have as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Harvesting Plant Medicine In A Sacred Manner

Native Americans have used plant medicine since the first creation of man. Being an oral society, teaching through stories, many of the traditional ways of doing things have been lost through assimilation into our now modern culture.
These teachings I am sharing here are from many years of working with plants, elders and attending ceremony. Learning how to listen, how to pay attention to nature and to look for the signs when the plants are ready to be used. Native American Medicine Way teaches the interconnectedness of all things, and it celebrates and respects all living things. It teaches us to harvest plants by taking only what we need, to give back and to live in balance with nature.
Over harvesting is also a great problem these days, many of our medicines like Goldenseal and Black cohosh are endangered because they have been used as a "cure all". 


There is a lot of talk about using cultivated plants vs wild plants. I too agree that plants grown in their natural environment will be more potent but I also understand the need for sustainable practices, and continually harvesting root medicine that kills the plant is not sustainable. I also have a great respect for the Plant Nation and their ability to adapt and believe that healing has a lot more to do with than it's constituents.

Harvesting of herbs and plants should be done as if in a sacred ceremony. You should never drink alcohol or be under the influence of drugs for at least 4 days within harvesting or making medicine. You should be in a good state of mind and not have feelings of anger or sadness or anything you could pass on to the medicine. Think of yourself as a vessel of healing that the Creator flows through.
Women should not harvest or make medicine during their moon time, when menstruating. This guideline is not meant as a negative or sexist tradition but to honor the life giver's and respect their monthly sacred ceremony. A woman is considered to be too powerful at this time and making medicine or attending ceremony at this time could make others sick. This warning is for their protection too.


Medicine should be gathered in the morning, preferably after the dew has evaporated a bit and before the heat of the day has arrived. Gathering plants begins before you leave your house. One must be in a good mind set, start off by praying, smudging and cleansing in a good way. Your mind should already be on the plants, talking to them, letting them know what your intentions are and that you are coming to gather them today.
An offering of tobacco corn or cornmeal is left outside under a tree where it will not be stepped on. Introduce yourself, make your intentions known, what plants you are looking for or what type of healing is needed. 

It is best if you are learning to gather plants from someone knowledgable in this area. Try to see if there are any native plant walks or guided tours, this will help you get to know the area and what grows where. If you are going out on your own take a plant identification guide with you and do not touch a plant if you are not absolutely sure of what it is.
Here are some of the tools I take when I go out to harvest


When you have found a plant that you want to harvest take a look around, is the patch large enough for you to gather what you need? The general rule is to gather no more that 1/4 or 25% of what is growing there. If there is enough give an offering of tobacco or corn to the plants as a sign of respect, and in giving something back to the earth when you have taken something.
Take only what you need and be sure to take a variety of plant sizes so as not to take all of the plants of the same generation.


To harvest the top part of a plant use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife that will cut through the stem without crushing or bending the remaining stem. 
When digging for roots be careful to do as little damage as possible to surrounding plants. Use your hands or small digging tools shovels are usually too big for tight spaces and leave big holes. 
Try to replant anything dug up by mistake and cover up any holes left behind.

Some Native Americans follow strict guidelines and only harvest until 2-3pm. I have been taught this way, unless there is an emergency and I need to gather a plant right then.

To gather plants according to the moon phases, gather the top part of a plant (including the leaf, flower, stem and tree bark) during the time when the moon is closely approaching full. Likewise the roots are gathered when the light of the moon is going down during the new moon phase. The best time to gather bark from the tree's is in the Spring when the sap is running. When the moon is up and the sap or the water levels are up the bark will release easier from the tree. Be careful when harvesting bark from a tree and try to find someone who has done it before to show you because any puncture of the inner membranes can cause the tree to bleed to death from loss of sap.
There is a lunar chart on the bottom of my blog if you are unsure of the moon phases.

Do not gather plants from road sides or places that you know to use contaminants or pesticides. Always look up to see where the runoff of rain water is coming from, what is being washed down to where you are harvesting from.
Before you go out into the field know the State and Federal laws, some states have protected or endangered plants that cannot be harvested.
When you harvest the plants make sure you have a way to carry them back without crushing or mixing the plants. I take a large woven basket style bag and bring extra bags and paper to layer in between. When I get home I take the plants out immediately to hang or lay out to dry outside in the shade for an hour to let out any bugs or spiders that may be in the plants 


never leaving them in the bag too long to get wilted and moldy.
Then hang the plants to dry or lay somewhere where the air can circulate.


Dried herbs and plants should always be dried and kept out of direct sunlight and away from heat.
When plants are dry they can then be stored in paper or plastic bags, labelled with the date harvested and  when properly stored will keep for up to 2 years.

When you gather Medicinal Plants in a good way to make medicine for yourself or someone else, this is the foundation of your Medicine. It is my belief that this is where the healing starts.

The information presented here is for education only from teachings I received from a Coast Salish elder I worked with for the past 10 years, and also from the book "Native Plants Native Healing Traditional Muskogee Way" by Tis Mal Crow


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homemade Dog Food for Arthritis

So I'm finally posting this dog food recipe after being asked many times.
I can't tell you enough how happy I am that I finally started my dog on this recipe as I noticed changes in them immediately! 

I have a 7 tear old Rottweiler (Nikita shown below with our other guy Levi) that has had shoulder injuries and joint issues since she was 3. 


Nikita doesn't have hip displasia and the condition comes and goes so we have just tried to take the best care of her that we could. We have always fed our dogs the best food, top quality supplements and fish oils and tried to keep their weight down. We have always been super active so in the last year when her mobility really went down we were at a loss. Some days she was is so much pain and we hadn't even walked her!
 The Vet said Nikita has arthritis in her shoulder and she needs to lose weight. I was at a loss because she could barely walk at this point so I realized I needed to change the way we were feeding them.  
I then started doing some serious research online and hit my Natural Remedy Veterinarian Books. 
This recipe has been adapted from "The Veterinarians Guide To Natural Remedies For Dogs" by Martin Zucker, which is super easy to read and follow and has some great info.
I call this Dog Stew because that's what it looks like and tastes like! 
(I've even eaten it myself for lunch it's pretty good)

Dog Stew 
1 lb ground turkey, lamb or beef heart
1 cups of celery
2 cups of carrots
2 cups of spinach/kale or greens
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of pearl barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup of fresh parsley
1 cup of fresh/dried nettles
1/2 cup dried rosehips

Most of these ingredients are naturally alkaline and anti-inflammatory. I add the rosehips for Vitamin C and the Nettles for the minerals, nutrients and they are excellent for joint pain. 
Combine ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil then simmer 1 1/2 hours. Keep pot covered and stir every 15-30 minutes. Add water if needed but it should be quite thick when done.
This makes a lot of stew so I let this cool then freeze half at a time.
I mix and match with the ingredients with what I have in the house or garden but try to stay consistent with what I find is the "base" of the recipe, which is the barley, brown rice, good quality meats, minimum of 2 cups of fresh greens, garlic and the parsley. 
Other than that I sometimes put in squash in place of carrots and I've used quinoa in place of the lentils.




This whole pot costs around $14 if it's all organic and feeds both my dogs for a week, mixed with dry kibble. I give them 1/2 cup of dry kibble and 1 cup of stew 2X daily and they both look so good and have lost weight. Nikita (Rottweiler) has a very sensitive digestion and usually a lot of gas but on this food her poop has never been so normal looking, solid and consistent and almost no gas. 
And they love the food! they can't wait for feeding time and it's easy for me to add their supplements to.
For Nikita I also add a glucosamine with MSM and a Calcium carbonate supplement. I recommend doing your own research and discussing any changes with your Vet. 
I would also suggest just starting your dog on the new food regime first then adding supplements one by one with a few weeks in-between so you can see what is working or not.  

Nikita now has more energy so I can walk her again because with her arthritis she needs to keep moving. 

Short daily walks keep her fit and keeps her mobile. We also gently stretch her out at home on the floor and give regular massages. When she's having a hard day like when it's extra damp and cold out we just play inside. I try to keep a close eye on her when we walk because she wants to go forever, she has no sense of when she needs to stop and if I overdo it she pays the price limping in pain for 2-5 days after. For these times I give her Arnica homeopathic pellets which seem to heal her up faster and help with the pain and inflammation.

I wish I had started all of my dogs on homemade food a long time ago but I always thought it was going to be labour intensive and expensive. It only takes me about 2 hours a week and saves me around $30 a month in food bills for them! (never mind the Vet bills) Plus they are healthier and happier than ever!

From now on this is how I will feed all of my dogs, unless I find an even better recipe! I'll keep you posted;)

UPDATE ON THIS RECIPE!!!


An Update on this recipe...

I am now feeding my dogs 3/4 wet homemade dog food to 1/4 dry kibble and make the food without meat so I can rotate different options of protein into each meal. I am using more fish, such as canned salmon and sardines, this helps to keep their weight down and supply omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are good for the skin and coat. In addition, they help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
I will also add one eggs a couple of times a week, my dogs are 80 and 100lbs so I will add a whole egg per dish of food. Yogurt is also a nice treat for them and good for digestion.

Keeping their weight down is always a challenge so I have decreased the barley and lentils to add more quinoa, squash, raw apples and carrots, fresh peas, blueberries and greens.


Try different things out on your dogs to see what they like. 

Never feed dogs grapes, rasins, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, avocado's or macadamia nuts
and try to limit fat scraps.



Here is a pic of the homeopathic pellets that I have my Rottweiler on that make the biggest difference in her mobility.



I started her on 2 pellets 2x day for a month and now keep her on 2 pellets once a day. I have tried to reduce to 3x a week and she started limping.
These pellets can be found at most health food stores or try looking online. I use rhus toxicodendron  30c and bryonia alba 30c
Remember she is a 100lb Rottweiler so consult your vet or health professional before giving your pet any medications for specific amounts.



That's all for now, good luck and keep me posted on any updates or great tips you may have as well.