Monthly Archives: February 2014

Natural Remedy for Cellulite

A few years ago I was on a cruise and treated myself to a “burrito wrap”, body wrap spa treatment. The experience taught me alot. Part of the procedure was having the therapist dry brush my body before applying the clay. She was trying to sell me on a $50 brush to cure my “cellulite”. I didn’t buy it but I did look into what dry brushing was all about (and bought a dry brush at Wal-Mart for $4 when I got home).

I never got completely into the dry brush routine and had all but forgotten about it until several weeks ago. This crazy winter has been giving me dry skin and I thought I’d give the dry brush a go and see if it would help. Its been feeling quite amazing. The dry brushing helps to rev up circulation and feels quite invigorating. Other benefits include opening the pores, glowing skin, tighter skin, reduction in cellulite. Dry brushing can also aid digestion and kidney function. It seems to put me in a better mood too.

Its best to do when your skin is dry. (I usually do before a nice hot shower) You can do twice a day if you like or remember (I’m not usually that good about remembering) 🙂

Make long brush strokes up towards to the heart to promote proper circulation.

If your goal is getting rid of cellulite after dry brushing and shower massage some citrus fresh essential oil blend over the affected area and cover with coconut oil to seal in the blend. Order your citrus fresh here!



Sneaky Cheesy Taco Macaroni

I recently came across The Shrinking Kitchen. If you are sick of cooking the same old things every week this site has some great meal plans and a printable grocery list. This was the first recipe I tried from the site and I already have plans to alter it a little more but I think this would be an awesome introduction meal for a child who is a picky eater or who won’t eat veggies. I thought it would be a perfect meal for my niece who says we only have “garbage” to eat at our house 🙂

The black beans are nourishing to the kidneys and the butternut squash and spices aid the spleen making it a good meal for these cold days as well as a meal to transition from winter to spring.

Here it the original recipe. Below are my adaptations and I share a few hints at the end too.

What you need:

1 pound of organic ground beef

1 can of black beans, drained (I would have added 2 if I had an extra)

1 can of diced tomatoes with chiles with juice (same as beans)

4 cups of water

4 cups brown rice penne pasta

DIY taco seasoning, thanks Mavis this is basically me throwing sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and Chile coban and paprika onto everything 🙂

1.5 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon flour

2 cups cubed butternut squash

1 1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

seasoning salt, pepper to taste

What you do:

In a stock pot brown meat over medium high heat. Add beans, tomatoes, spices, and water and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let cook until most of juices are cooked down. In the mean time melt butter in a space sauce pan. Whisk in flour until lumps are gone. Add milk and bring to rolling boil stirring constantly. Add squash and cook until tender. Add cheese and stir until well blended and melted. Transfer to a blender to smooth. When pasta is cooked stir cheese sauce into pasta and serve. We topped with some avocado.

* As I was cooking I thought ditching the milk and adding a mix of cauliflower puree and chicken stock instead would be nice as we don’t normally have milk in the house. I also think you could ditch pasta altogether and use spaghetti squash instead and it would be just as lovely and even better for the spleen. If you get to it before me let me know how it turns out!

Apple Test Results

The results of the apple test are in. If a picture is worth a thousand words I wonder what the smell of an apple is worth? The pictures do the apples justice but the smells of each apple were most striking to me.

Apple Test Before and After
Apple and Water before and after:
Apple and Trader Joe’s Vitamin before and after:
***This one didn’t turn black which I found interesting according to Tyanna, she has never not seen the other apples go black(GNC, Walgreen generic, centrum). What was striking about this apple is that it smelled the worst, rancid.
Apple and Shaklee Vitamin before and after:

Pretty shocking eh? I didn’t even want to touch this one to throw it in the garbage. yuck.
Apple and Usana Vitamin before and after:
You can see from the picture that the apple still looks pretty good. Again the most striking thing about this apple to me was the smell. It smelled like it has just been sliced crisp and fresh and the feel of the apple was still firm when I threw it away.


*** I consulted with Tyanna at the end of the apple test. She normally leaves the containers open and lets the apples oxidate. The vitamins dissolve and the apples change in 6-12 hours. I kept my containers sealed so I don’t know if that would have changed the results at all perhaps the apple in water would have been more brownish like it normally turns after sitting out for awhile.

Let me know what you think. If anyone does an apple test with their own vitamins please let me know how it goes.

Apple Test

One 1/7/2010 I started my own apple test experiment to share as a follow up to the blog Do You Know What Is In Your Vitamins? For those of you curious as to what the apple test would look like but too lazy to do it yourself. Check back tomorrow to see the results.

I’ve seen the apple test presentation before but wanted to see if for myself. (I always did love science expirements.)

I started with 2 apples and 4 tuperware containers. An apple half is floating in regular tap water in each of the containers.

The first is simply an apple and water. This is meant to represent the normal dealth and decay of the aging process of our cells.

The second is apple, water, and trader joe’s men multi vitamin formula. (it was laying around) This is probably just slightly better then pharmacy and generic brand vitamins. You know the cheap ones that you’re probably buying because a vitamin is just a vitamin right?

The third is apple, water, and Shaklee multi vitamin + iron (again it was laying around) Shaklee is known for having an above average quality.

The fourth is apple, water and Usana Mega Antioxidant. This is half of Usana Essentials that I take every morning. Usana uses a binding agent to keep their vitamins together made of olive oil called Olivol.
Supposedly Usana will help keep the apple from turning brown for longer than any of the others. We’ll see what happens next.

Do you know what are in your vitamins?

Several years ago I posted a question on Facebook to see who was taking vitamins, what people were taking, and what brands people were using. My partner at the time and I were doing research as to what brand we wanted to endorse and that had the best quality and value for our patients.

As we met with various reps of different supplement companies I learned one thing: everyone has the best vitamins on the market. As we poured over research data and stats and catalogs we went back to the simplest way to know if a product is worthy. We started using the vitamin samples left behind by all those reps.

I’m not going to lie, in the past I was not a very good supplement taker myself. At least I didn’t used to be but we’ll get to that. In many circles there is still controversy over the need to take vitamins. Some people feel they are a waste of time and all of those nutrients should be received from the foods we eat. Which in theory is good but who eats fresh fruits and vegetables everyday? Others argue that our soil is so depleted that vitamins are a necessity for health. Still others are starting to take note of vitamin deficiencies and their relation to certain ailments. (for example did you know if you have pain conditions many times a part of the culpret is a vitamin B deficincy?) Anyways I started taking Shaklee vitamins. They had a good reputation, they had research backing them, and as always, I wanted to see for myself. The result was I didn’t really feel much of anything. I went on to another brand, this one was a powder that I mixed with water called isotonix. The result, a big sticky mess. Again I didn’t feel much during the process of taking them as directed or after I stopped.

Now I was starting to get discouraged thinking that maybe vitamins weren’t really all that big of deal and I should just stick with Chinese herbs and call it a day. I might have if it weren’t for my background in nutrition. It was around this time that I met Tyanna Cannata of Usana vitamins doing a presentation on her vitamins. She had some great information to share that I will now pass onto you.

First, the label on your vitamins that tells you what percentage of your daily requirements are in your vitamins tells only half the story, actually more like 20%. Vitamin companies are only required by law to put 20% of what the label actually says is in each pill in the entire bottle. 20%! No wonder I wasn’t feeling anything with these vitamins. There might not have been anything in them to feel. Second, most companies use byproducts of petrochemicals (think about scraps after making a tire) as binders to keep the vitamins together in a pill form. I don’t know about you but that is pretty gross. What’s worse is that Tyanna had a visual of all of this. She calls it the apple test.

In three seperate jars there contained half of an apple soaking in water. The first jar had a regular old apple in water. This represented the natural aging process. The apple was starting to turn brown as apples do when they’ve been out for awhile. The second jar had an apple in water with a Centrum complete vitamin. This apple was floating in murky blackish gray water and the apple itself was blackish gray. This was a demonstation of the “additives” that the body absorbs when taking a vitamin that is not up to par and what it is doing to your body. The last jar held an apple floating in water with a usana vitamin. The apple had not turned brown, instead it looked as if it had just been cut. This represented using a vitamin with actual vitamins in it and how it can slow down the aging process and keep your cells healthy.

You might think big deal, so what, who cares about apples? Me too. I was more intrigued by the results Kara was feeling on the vitamins. She was reporting having more energy to get more things done (she has 2 kids 1 who still doesn’t sleep through the night and owns a business) and having 3 bowel movements a day and on and on. I went through my last round of trials myself, this time with Usana. I started to notice my energy levels pick up. It occured to me when it was midnight and I was laying in bed while Christian slept watching tv not because I was restless and couldn’t sleep but because I wasn’t tired. What was even more surprising is that I was waking up in the morning with the sun shine during the fall without an alarm clock because I wanted to not because I had to. Getting up in the morning has always been a struggle for me, to say the least.

When we sold that practice in 2011, I left Usana with it. I became pregnant and started taking a brand from Whole Foods thinking it was probably just as good and also because usana did not at the time have a prenatal vitamin. Kara became pregnant shortly after and had her own version of the apple test with Rainbow vitamins when she dropped one and absentmindedly threw it into the toilet. After coming home from work she noted her toilet bowl was black and flushing didn’t take it away. It took several tries of scrubbing to get the film off the bowl. She quickly switched back to Usana. At almost the same time my husband said he really missed taking his vitamins. We’ve been back to taking them ever since and have noticed this year in the midst of sickies all over that an extra boost of vitamins added to our healthcare routine has make a huge impact in not getting sick this winter.

Vitamins are rated on a star scale 0-5. 5 star having the best potentancy and purity.

Lyle MacWilliam MSc, FP has published a great book called NUTRISEARCH COMPARATIVE GUIDE TO NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS it contains over 1500 products available in the US and Canada. You can find this book just about anywhere, Barnes and Noble, Amazon etc.

Below are the ratings for the vitamins mentioned above taken for this book.

Shaklee = 1 star

Isotonix = 2 stars

Centrum = 0 stars

Usana = 5 stars

Now I know what its like to take vitamins with vitamins inside of them. It makes a difference to me. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself or try the apple test. Stay tuned for pictures of my apple test in the next blog.

See if you are as healthy as you feel and take the true health assessment.

Homemade Lara Bars

My husband was out of town last week so my daughter and I enjoyed leftovers while he was away. I recently made homemade Lara bars that were a great success. I don’t have any pictures to show because they were eaten that quickly. So here is a picture of a happy belly post double chocolate bar instead.

Double Chocolate Almond Bars

what you need:

1 cup de-pitted dates (about 10)

1 cup almond meal (or whole almonds)

1 tablespoon cocoa

1/4 cup chocolate chips (we used minis)

what you do

If using whole nuts using a food processor or Ninja blender (that’s what I used) blend well. Add dates and blend again. Look for a sticky consistency. If you don’t have good clumps add a few more dates. Then add cocoa and chocolate chips. Press into wax papered cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes to set.

Walnut Cherry Bars

what you need

1 cup walnuts

1 cup dates

1/4 cup freeze dried cherries

Same directions as above.

Let me know what you think! 🙂

p.s I was inspired to try the recipe with dried figs instead of dates and it was a fail, a delicious fail but a fail anyway. I think a combo of fig and date would have worked better.

p.p.s We are giving a few of these recipes a try for inspiration this week. (got to love facebook) I’ll let you know how it goes. Of course I’m most excited about the chocolate chip cookie bites!

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Bentonite Clay

I am a super sucker for a good spa treatment. Its been a couple years now since one of the perks of my job was having to receive a massage every week to give out grades. (I’m wondering now why I gave that gig up! :)) One of my personal favorites are wraps. I love how soothing it feels to be wrapped up and feel all the yucks get pulled from my system.

I’ve recently been reading alot about bentonite clay and discovered its simply awesome for a variety of reasons. Wellness mama has a great post showing all the benefits of bentonite clay and how to use. What especially peaked my interest about it was using it in bath water to reduce the negative impact of the chemicals in the water that my daughter loves to splash and play in. I’m finding now that adding a tablespoon or so of a mix of bentonite clay, Epsom salts and dead sea salts to my daughter’s bath water makes me feel better about her playing in the water (our water is terrible, definitely not drinkable by any means except if you are almost 2) and I’m finding that my daughter is sleeping better!


I’ve written on my love of epsom salt baths in the past but I’m really enjoying the addition of the bentonite clay and I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need for an expensive burrito wrap at the spa now that I can make clay masks at home.

This was part of my week-long ritual to prepare myself for a new decade.

Bentonite Clay Mask

Equal parts clay and apple cider vinegar.

A little goes a long way! I was able to add about 2 tablespoons of each for a mask and body rub. When the clay is mixed with water or apple cider vinegar it expands and asks like a porous sponge that draws toxins from your body. It feels cool to the skin and eventually hardens and then leaves your skin feeling firm and smooth. A simply luxurious treat!

I left the mask on for 10 minutes or so and then washed it off. I massaged the remaining clay all over my body and then drew a warm epsom salt bath and soaked for 20 minutes or so. It was fantastic! Its my plan to do this at least twice a month.


Mung Bean Stew with Eggplant and Mushrooms

If you came to the Oils and Herbs class for digestion and weight loss you know we talked about foundations of a healthy diet, sometimes referred to as the spleen diet. Mung beans are a great thing to add to your diet for both healthy digestion and weight loss.

Here are few other reasons to be excited about mung beans. Mung beans originally are from India and are also a staple to Chinese cuisine. They are cooling in nature and help to cleanse the body. They are thought to help with weight loss because of their ability to reduce swelling and can act as a diuretic. Mung beans can be used for food poisoning, diarrhea, painful urination, lead and pesticide poisoning, boils, heat stroke, conjunctivitis and edema. Mung beans can also benefit reducing high blood pressure, acidosis and ulcers. (Healing with Whole Foods. Paul Pitchford) 

I came acrossthis recipe and ended up with what you see below. This was my first time cooking with mung beans and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Even my husband thought it tasted great too. 🙂 This recipe at its core nourishes the spleen and the addition of eggplant strengthens the kidneys, celery and spinach strengthens the liver and mushrooms the lungs. Mung beans green color benefits the liver and gall bladder as well making this a perfect dish to help with transitioning to spring. (learn more about what all this means at this month’s yogapuncture class!)

What you need:

3 cups of mung beans

container of baby bella mushrooms

5 stalks of celery

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 eggplant (cubed)

2 cups of spinach

8 cups of vegetable broth

2 tablespoons cumin, more to taste

1 tablespoon tumeric

black pepper and sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

Soak mung beans overnight. Strain mung beans and rinse. Chop onions and garlic. In a stock pot add oil, onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add eggplant and cook until tender, another 3 minutes or so. Add mung beans and vegetable broth. Bring to a rolling boil and then turn to low. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, celery, spinach, and spices then turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes or so. Transfer to bowls. This is hearty enough to eat as is or you can add some rice. If you have one handy add some avocado slices and enjoy!

Let me know what you think! 🙂