Archive for Holistic Medicine – Page 2

Two grain-free “shortbread” cookies: rosemary and lavender

It’s like picking a favorite child. The woodsy, savory flavor of the rosemary cookie pairs so well with this buttery recipe, but the lavender is so fresh, subtle, and unique. I make two batches: one of each, so I can alternate flavors as I eat them.  I adapted this recipe from the Nourish Blog for the lavender cookies. Lavender is my absolute favorite, and a good friend gave me a gift of culinary lavender for my birthday this summer, so I had to make a grain-free version of these cookies that I made with her back when I was wheat-eater.  Baked goods are a rare treat for me, and these most certainly top my list of favorites.

Paleo Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Prep time: 10 min  Total time: 1 hr 30 min Makes: 18 cookies

1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, softened

2-3 tbs (45 mL) honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweetener

4 tsp (20 mL) culinary lavender, minced

2 cups (240 g) almond flour

½ tsp (2.5 mL) sea salt

First, cream your butter and sweetener together. Next, combine your (3)  dry ingredients and add them to the creamed mixture. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. The next step is of utmost importance. Roll your dough into a 10 inch cylinder, using cling wrap. Make it as even as possible so that you can slice cookies from it once it has hardened. Refrigerate (or even freeze) the dough for 1 hour (freezer) 2+ (refrigerator). Once your cookies have chilled, preheat your oven to 325 Degrees. Remove cookie cylinder from plastic wrap before cutting, and slice into 16-18 cookies. Place them on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes (until edges are brown). Remove, let cool, and enjoy!

To Doula or not to Doula

When I tell people that I’m becoming a Doula, the most common response is “what do they do?” and “why do people want one?”Well my friends…I have a pretty compelling list of reasons for that I came up with last night. I know that I won’t go through my future pregnancies without a Doula, and I hope you consider all the richness that this service can add to your childbearing journey!

1. One of the most obvious reasons that I’ve come across is that asking a father or other family member to provide primary support is an extremely difficult expectation put in place by modern society. A Doula enables a father or other family member to present at their comfort level; run the gamut of feelings and fears, and still be able to remain present spiritually for the mother and child in labor.

2. Doulas are trained in massage and relaxation techniques and use bonus natural medicines like essential oils, herbal tinctures, and hypnosis pain control. You are 100% guaranteed to be more comfortable and experience less pain through these techniques. If you also choose to use a breathing technique from another class, Doulas are trained to support you in that as well. It’s like a relaxation and pain control UPGRADE.

3. The largest study to date of Doula-assisted medical births shows a major reduction in length of labor, and a 50% reduction in unnecessary C-Sections. Doulas help to moderate procedures that may not be in your birth plan if they are avoidable, such as pitocin augmentation, membrane rupture, epidural, episiotomy, or any other preference for the expecting mother.

4. A dual certified birth/ postpartum Doula is typically with you from 3 months before delivery to 3 months after. Studies show that this constant companionship and support can have a truly positive effect on a mother’s long term view of herself and her relationship with her child. This is the best part to me! What more do you need to know?

5. If you are planing your birth at a Birth Center, then you may have an individual midwife who is trained in Doula techniques and Nursing, and committed to you through your pregnancy- woohoo! If you are birthing in a hospital, then you should contact me or check out your local DONA listings for options in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum companionship!

Super Sisters Bikini Bootcamp!

IMG_0728This January my acupuncturist told me to build lean muscle in my body as diligently as possible to combat my Crohns and PCOS, so I started on a new journey; one of strength building and pushing my body to new limits, rather than the previous 28 years of just trying to remain lean and under 140 pounds [ I’m 5’10 5’9.5 like Cindy Crawford 😉 and no, coffee did not stunt my growth]. I was so happy to get the news last night that I was selected as this year’s Bikini Bootcamp (Part 2) winner by Super Sister Fitness, LLC , a pair of sister trainer/nutritionists that I recommend to anyone pursuing optimum health. They have taught me so much about business & fitness and the importance of being persistent, consistent, positive, and resilient in both endeavors. I haven’t weighed myself in 12 weeks, and I have finally realized what a poor marker that really is for health and fitness.

You can check out my story and recent fitness journey on their blog. I’m excited to share my thoughts on the Rise Protein Bars and Health Warrior Chia Bars they are sending me as a prize! Additionally, I have free access to their Super System for Fat Burning Metabolism Program, and I will keep you updated on how you can participate along with me! Please comment below if you want to stay in the loop on my future programs with SSF.

I’m feeling the best I ever have and a huge part of that is my paleo diet and fitness regime. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m excited for it and excited to build my life around it. I am so grateful to have my results and hard work recognized at this early point in my journey. In the last 2 years, I’ve been diagnosed with both Crohns and PCOS which have both had an impact on my self-esteem and body-image (along with the late twenties metabolism slow down). This program has truly empowered me, as a woman and as an athlete. We are not pretty things to be admired and held to unrealistic standards! We are strong mothers, sisters, daughters, and partners who can do ANYTHING we set our minds to.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

2 PM craving: Detoxifying Green Smoothie

Yum!

I don’t know about you, but every weekday between lunch and dinner my blood sugar gets so low that I crave things I wouldn’t normally eat like sweets, soda, chocolate…you get the picture. This is actually a normal physiological reaction that happens as a result of  a combination of dipping blood sugar during “fasts” or periods between meals, combined with specific areas of the brain [hippocampus, insula, caudate] being activated by stress, which triggers food cravings.  There’s nothing wrong with indulging in moderation in these things once in a while, but the resulting spike in your blood sugar after eating something processed or unnaturally sweetened can cause crashes, lethargy, and can effect your cravings and choices for later meals. I’ve come up with a much healthier, long-term solution that serves the double-duty of addressing that natural sugar craving we have with the sweetness of berries, while detoxifying your liver with the properties of antioxidants and cucumbers, which is something we could all stand to do between meals! When I pack my lunch for work, I also pack this green smoothie, which you can freeze the night before and drink when it is defrosted, or make the morning of, and store in your fridge at work.  Your day can totally change with one healthy choice, and this is an easy and impactful one. I use a NINJA blender for my smoothies so that I can include and really liquify fibrous veggies, which pack in so many nutrients!

Liver Detoxifying Green Smoothie
1 cucumber, peeled
1 cup of berries
1 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of yogurt (see my post on how to make your own yogurt!)
handful of spinach

 

DIY Sunscreen

It’s summertime! I hope you caught my essential oil bug spray post here! But sunscreen is arguably even more important in your daily summer repertoire, though checking out the long list of ingredients on your average sunscreen bottle can be disheartening. I’ve had a lot of luck with a natural mixture of shea butter, which has a natural SPF of about 5 or 6, cocoa butter, which adds moisture and smoothness to your skin, zinc oxide powder, which carries the majority of your SPF, and essential oils. See details below about how to mix up this concoction and then you’ll  never leave home without it!

*note, this is for everyday wear and outside activities, not beach or extended wear. Also note that online DIY recipes that use almond, carrot, coconut or grapseseed oils might actually promote burning.

Homesteader’s Sunscreen
Measurements are rough for solid ingredients. Combine ingredients in a double boiler to melt
, constantly stirring to mix and avoid sticking. I store this in a small glass or durable plastic jar; consistency is a hard cream.

1/4 cup beeswax pellets
1/4 cup shea butter
1/4 cup cocoa butter
2-3 Tablespoons of non-nano Zinc oxide powder (one like this that does not seep into pores)
Optional: Vitamin E oil and essential oils for bonus effects on skin and mood

Some suggested essential oils: raspberry for extra SPF, lavender for skin calming, or melaleuca for added bug repellent

You need a lot of SPF when you are camping in the OBX! I use a combo of my DIY cream and natural versions like Tom's and The Honest Company

You need a lot of SPF when you are camping in the OBX! I use a combo of my DIY cream and natural versions like Tom’s and The Honest Company

 

Natural Bug-Repellent

The best thing about the summertime is all the extra daylight you get for outdoor activities. I am a self-admitted Fall/Winter person, but getting home from work and having time for a long walk with my pups, gardening, or grilling outside with my man, makes me super happy! Evening in North Carolina is prime for the myriad bug life that shares our warm, damp home. With a few essential oils and homesteading tricks, we’re able to enjoy our outside time without bugs prays and their long list of chemical ingredients, and we’re able to save money on our dogs’ flea/tick repellents.  Check out my suggestions below for a spray bottle that will last all summer if kept at room temperature!

1. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 a cup of water and 1/4 cup Witch Hazel or Organic Vodka

2. Add the following essential oils:

  • 45 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 9 drops rosemary essential oil

OR

  • 8 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 15 drops geranium essential oil
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 35 drops thyme essential oil

 

 

Probiotic Tip #2: Yogourmet Yogurt

Now that you have had a week to get your SCOBY going from Probiotic Tip #1, it’s time to incorporate even more probiotics into life with homemade yogurt. What is with our grocery store yogurt STILL being effected by the low-fat craze from the 90’s? So many sweeteners and “natural flavors” are injected into our favorite brands to make the palatable for the SAD (Standard American Diet). And so much of the good fat found in the milk protein is extracted to keep fat and calorie counts down for uninformed consumers.

Why would you want cane syrup and chemical flavoring that makes me hungrier, instead of natural fat and protein that keeps you satiated for hours? You wouldn’t. So if you want to buy your yogurt, look for brands that sell full fat, plain, unsweetened yogurt at heath food stores (good luck). OR you could do what I do, below, the homesteading way!

Homestead Yogurt:

– Pour 1 litre of Whole Milk into a pot and heat to 180 degrees to remove lactose (use  a thermometer and watch the milk to make sure it does not boil or curdle)

– Bring your yogurt back down to about 110 degrees and add your Yogourmet yogurt starter, mixing it in evenly to distribute the starter and create a creamy, smooth yogurt. I buy mine at Whole Foods, where it is much cheaper than the Amazon price.

– Pour mixture into Yogourmet Yogurt Maker, plug in, and let sit for 24 hours.

Now you’re ready to enjoy your healthy probiotic snack for any meal. Add a teaspoon of honey for great, natural flavoring.

Essential Oil Highlight- Thieves Oil

A rendering of the black death (1347-1351) by an unknown artist

A rendering of the black death (1347-1351) by an unknown artist

Thieves Oil is so named because because of Medieval Spice Traders. As we know, the precious spices and plants of the middle east and far east came to Europe hundreds, even thousands of years ago (as archaeology demonstrates). Explorers popularized the fragrances and tastes of these exotic essences when trade became more world-wide in the 14th century — can you imagine life without the smell of clove at Christmas? Or jasmine and vanilla on your skin? Anyway, legend has it that the plague suffered business for merchants so much that they resorted to the unthinkable– grave-robbing! As the dead outnumbered the living at this time in Europe, it had become the most lucrative “trade” there was, thus the merchants became thieves. So at night, the thieves covered themselves with every oil essence they knew to be protective, healing, and immune boosting, so that they could rummage through the graves of the plagued without risking their health or their lives—and it worked!

Thieves Oil is a delicious combination of wild orange peel, cinnamon bark, clove bud, eucalyptus leaf, and Rosemary flower essential oils. It smells like Christmas, and if you rub it on your feet every night, I seriously doubt you will ever get sick (regardless of your night time activities) I use this as my daily hand soap, my non-toxic household cleanser, my natural cold & flu medicine (in a veggie capsule), my toothpaste, and diffuse as a warm scent.

 

Probiotic Tip #1: SCOBY Bryant For the Win!

SCOBY= symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast

A Scoby is used in the brewing of Kombucha Tea. They are surprisingly simple to create in the comfort of your own home, especially this time of year since they thrive in warm, damp, dark settings–Thanks 105 degrees with humidity! My Scoby formed at home in just over a week, and you can make one too by following these steps:

  1. Use a sterile- clean glass jar, such as these from Ikea that I love
  2. To your jar, add a bottle of store bought kombucha (or some tea borrowed from a reliable source)
  3. Brew some simple green (or black) tea and add 1 cup to your kombucha jar
  4. Sprinkle in sugar to speed up fermentation
  5. WAIT for this guy!IMG_0494

After you have your SCOBY and a Gallon Jar, you can make your own home batch of Kombucha and feel the probiotic magic happen in your gut!

Stay Tuned for Probiotic Tips #2 Homemade Yogurt and #3 Homemade Sauerkraut

(Credit to my friend Darren for naming the SCOBY)

Eating Local- Haw River Ranch

I had such an amazing time visiting a local farm last month- Haw River Ranch in Saxapahaw, NC. I cannot describe what pleasure I got from meeting the animals and seeing them frolic and feed so naturally and happily together.

I don’t make apologies about being omnivorous. It makes me feel strong and healthy when IBD and PCOS make that a battle for me nutritionally.  HOWEVER, I love animals. I want every animal to be as happy and carefree as my puppies Safin and Arthur. Challenging myself to purchase meat from sustainable, small, local run farms has proved rewarding in countless ways. The slightly higher prices are not even a consideration after weighing all the positives of this experience, which I’ll do for you below:

  1. Experience Nature: Getting to spend the morning on the farm: watching chickens run free, cows bathing, and little lambs feeding; it was so beautiful and a perfect Saturday morning meditation. Thank you God for these lives and this beauty
  2. Community: Meeting this passionate neighbors of mine, and rewarding them for their hard work with my
    IMG_0204

    Farm Fresh Eggs Can’t go wrong!

    patronage

  3. Quality: Cracking double egg yolks for brunch when I got home and making the best bone broth of my life
  4. Nutrition: By buying local and on the weekend, I planned our meals ahead and had less meat to stay within our budget. The meat we ate was nourishing and healthy, but we also had more vegetarian meals, which is a better balance.

Thank you to all the small, sustainable farmers out there. Sometimes it may be hard to see that you are making a difference, but I am here to tell you that you are!

Feeding Lamb while chickens are at pasture

Feeding Lamb while chickens are at pasture

Pregnant Mama in the shade!

Pregnant Mama in the shade!

Welcome to My New Site!

If there is anything I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that most journeys, especially ones toward health and well-being are taken one step at a time. My aim is to be able to share my steps toward holistic health daily, in the hope that my experience will reach someone and make a real difference in their quality of life, the way mine has been forever altered.

My new posts will include recipes, ancestral health tips, archaeological stories & findings, adventures of my doula training, thoughts on sustainable and natural living in the home and garden, and herbal and essential oil remedies. There’s something for everyone, and I’m excited about this new chapter.

Let me know what you think of the new look and if you have any recipe or topic suggestions for the coming year! I’ve got a bunch of fabulous ideas that I can’t wait to share!

Be Well,

Elisabeth

set your life on fire

8 IBD Foods for Malnutrition

An amazing read for anyone with gut inflammation!

getting started with acupuncture

I have found acupuncture to be extremely effective in combating my IBD symptoms lately. While my diet focuses on my gut health, I sought acupuncture as a holistic supplement to diet & exercise this fall after a 3 week battle with vertigo. I cannot praise the practice and specifically Chapel Hill’s acupuncture healing center enough. After 3 visits and 6 weeks, I am feeling more energetic, hopeful, healthful, and focused than I have in a long time.

Acupuncture approaches IBD and autoimmune diseases from a perspective we often forget, reminding us that our organs and organ systems are totally intertwined in symbiosis. Those of us who struggle with gut and digestive health see dramatic ramifications in thyroid and liver function, especially. I know what you’re thinking–Seriously? SO unfair that because you suffer with one ailment you are more prone to others? It’s sadly true though. There’ an equilibrium we have to keep up and when one organ system MAJORLY fails, then the others are put upon. Because of my GI disease, I need liver balance and thyroid balance and because those are out of whack, so are my adrenals. It can get overwhelming!

Enter, Chinese Medicine. acupuncture is a key tenant of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used for balancing the key life imagesforce known as qi (or chi) that is believed to flow through Meridians or pathways in the body. The small needles are inserted along these pathways, stimulating movement or “life force.” It’s beautiful in its simplicity. When you suffer from issues affecting your thyroid, digestion, gut, and immune system you can get so bogged down in the fatigue and lethargy of it all. Acupuncture leaves me feeling lighter and more energetic.

Needlephobic? The needles rarely hurt. The exception for me are times like this morning when my qi grabbed at the needle in my throat as it gained energy and movement through my body. I just look at it as proof that it’s working!

thankful.

So happy to share my Thanksgiving Paleo/SCD recipes that will be perfect for your upcoming December holiday meals. People are OBSESSED with my easy Roasted  Vegetables.  But first, a bit on why it’s so important to get fresh, antibiotic/hormone free turkey, and then my Paleo/SCD recipes for the two STAR dishes of my family’s Thanksgiving potluck: acorn squash/sweet potato puree and roasted root vegetables. 

An estimated 30,000,000 (that’s MILLION) pounds of antibiotics are sold yearly for use in industrial farming. That is FOUR TIMES the amount used in human healthcare annually. The antibiotics are issued to perfectly healthy animals because of the disgusting and potentially harmful conditions that they live in (never leaving cages, going outside, being able to move, etc.) We are at ever-increasing risk for antibiotic resistance as a human population, thanks in large part to the meats we consume. In addition to antibiotic overabundance leading to resistance, antibiotics also attack the GOOD BACTERIA we need in our gut to fight disease, aid digestion, and maintain healthy metabolism. The meat industry’s neglectful use of excessive antibiotics and hormones is potentially what is leading to more cases of IBD, IBS, and other diseases related to imbalances in gut-health and the microbiome. As research advances, the gut and microbiome seem to be culprits in, not only autoimmune diseases, but cancer and heart health as well. This holiday, pay the little extra for your bird and smile a bit wider in the knowledge that he saw the sky, ran around, and actually “gobble, gobbled” and didn’t need to be given daily medicine in order to survive hellish conditions. See, there’s a reason for the EAT LOCAL craze.

Crazy Easy & Delicious Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
Brussels Sprouts on stalk (these are juicier)
1 head of cauliflower
1 red onion
1 bag of multi-colored carrots
optional parsnips

Cut brussels sprouts in half after pulling them off their stalk, chop onions, cauliflower, and carrots into bite sizes. Sprinkle liberally with salt, black pepper and rosemary, then toss in Olive Oil. Cook for 40 minutes on 400 for crispy, flavorful veg.

Sweet Potato and Acorn Squash* acorn squash baby food recipe

Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
2  sweet potatoes
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup butter
dashes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg
2 eggs

Roast acorn squash and sweet potatoes in the oven until they are soft and easily peeled. Transfer flesh into food processor or blender. Add other ingredients and puree until smooth. Pour contents into an 8×8 casserole dish and back on 350 for 30 minutes

This year, I want express how I thankful I am for waking up between my two boys every morning! Those few moments when i get to remember how loved I am all over again are the best of each day, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their constant love and support.

Gratitude feels so good! What are you all thankful for this year?

kissing safin

why bone broth?

bone-broth-jars

2 cups in each mason jar. This is a 12 cup recipe made in my crockpot with 3 pounds of organic chicken bones. Lunch all week during a flare!

I have a dream of opening up a broth window like this guy, except mine would be called “the BROTHel.” Seriously though, there are too many benefits of bone broth for one post. Bone broth helps to heal digestive disorders, autoimmune disease like RA, and other joint pain. Drinking bone broth speeds up healing from surgery, reduces cellulite, and boosts your immune system. I thought that bone broth was just a necessary staple in the beginning of breaking the vicious cycle, but with all its health benefits, it’s really something that we should all incorporate into a regular holistic health routine.  So here’s how I do that! After I’ve jarred mine, I throw them in my bag for breakfast or lunch at work. You can heat them in the microwave, or pour into a sauce pan on the stove. If you are in a particular flare, I suggest using it as a meal replacement. Otherwise, just replace one of your daily coffees or teas and enjoy the rich benefits.

1) Use bones from your organic, grassed protein OR buy them at a minimal price at your local grocer/farmer’s market

2) For every pound of bones, add three cups of water

3) Add roughly chopped carrots, onions, and ginger, salt, and pepper

4) Add a tablespoon of Apple cider Vinegar which aids in pulling the healing marrow out from the bones

5) Let simmer on stove or in your crock pot for 24 hours.

5) Strain and funnel into mason jars for optimal storage time and transport ease

joyful.

 

moon

I’m so happy to be writing my first post on the Full Moon in Taurus. “A full moon in Taurus also coaxes us to shed the layers of our old selves, allowing the illumined authentic self to finally, truly emerge. Many of us have experienced the intensity of recent cosmic shifts, so it’s time to release the perpetual grip we still have on what no longer serves us, for good.”

Now that’s a sentiment that I can surely get behind. RELEASE the perpetual grip YOU STILL HAVE on what NO LONGER SERVES YOU. After this full moon begins to wane,the tight grip that I’ve had on all the things that do not serve the person I am becoming will loosen. I will let go. Why wait until New Year’s! I’m making a list of all the things that no longer serve me:

1.) Past hurts
2.) Unreasonable Grief
3.) Complacency in my job
4.) Processed food and harmful  “cheats” I haven’t fully let go of
5.) Excess alcohol
6.) Ever believing that I don’t deserve to be totally. joyful.
7.) Waiting until tomorrow….