Spring Cleaning Your Digestive System

Spring Cleaning Your Digestive System

We all love a good spring cleaning, right? I've been on a minimalist cleaning spree lately. Getting rid of things I don't love or need is my new hobby. Letting go of junk and non-essentials, and overall doing a deep clean just lightens my load, helps me be more productive, and seriously reduces anxiety and stress.  And let me tell you, with four kids, a spring cleaning is necessary. Clutter just builds up. We accumulate things we don't really need, want, or even know we have.

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Recycling Healthy Meals Throughout the Week

Recycling Healthy Meals Throughout the Week

   

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Revamp Your Diet: A Healthy Eating Plan You Can Stick To

Revamp Your Diet: A Healthy Eating Plan You Can Stick To

Butternut squash for Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

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3 Natural Ways to Manage Inflammation

3 Natural Ways to Manage Inflammation
   Inflammation is the body's natural and helpful response to injury or illness. Basically, it means that the body is alerted to a problem and sends reinforcements via added blood (and white blood cells). However, when inflammation becomes chronic then it begins doing more damage than good. Doctors and researching have been working on new ways to combat disease by understanding this immune response.Mastery of the inflammatory response should aid the development of novel strategies to predict disease susceptibility, target and monitor therapies, and ultimately develop new approaches to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases...Libby, Peter. Inflammitory Mechanisms: The Molecular Basis of Inflammation and Disease; Oxford University PressWhile there are many pharmaceuticals on the market that may help with this inflammatory response there are always natural ways to reduce  it in a healthy way. Here are 3 simple ways to manage inflammation....1. Turmeric TonicWhen you think of turmeric you probably think of Tiki Masala or some other kind of Indian curry dish. Turmeric gives these ethnic foods their distinct yellowish color and earthy flavor. But did you also know that turmeric (specifically the main ingredient in turmeric called curcumin) is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory? However, the only way to really absorb this beneficial spice properly and do the most good is to eat it with black pepper. These two spices together allow the body to absorb and utilize the curcumin and give you the best results. Now I can totally justify my extreme love of curry! You don't have to just get the benefits of turmeric occasionally just from your curry though. You can take a shot every morning to start your day off right. A Turmeric Tonic usually consists of a few essential ingredients: turmeric root, citrus (usually lemon or orange), ginger root, water, and a little sweetener such as honey.  Here's a yummy looking recipe by Heather at Mommypotomus that's simple to make: Wellness Shot - Turmeric Tonic2. Frankincense oilIf there was ever a cure-all essential oil it would be frankincense. Frankincense has been known for it's medicinal qualities for thousands of years and considered holy in some cultures. It's anti-inflammatory as well as anti-depressant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and immune stimulant properties can help with any kind of inflammation, mood/depression, viruses, Alzheimer's, aneurysm, arthritis, asthma, brain injury, cancer, and supports the immune system. Yes, it even helps reverse aging and reduce wrinkles! Like I said, a cure-all.Not all essential oils are created equal so be sure to use a brand that is made from pure, organic ingredients and check the manufacturer for how to use the oils. I use Doterra oils - you can learn more about them here - and have used Frankincense topically (on the bottom of the feet or diluted with coconut oil directly on the needed area), aromatically (open the lid and take a deep breath for mental clarity and a mood enhancer), and internally (a few drops in a capsule).3. Refined Sugar Free DietYou don't have to be a microbiologist to know that bacteria need the right environment and food to survive. After all, they're living organisms. What do they eat? Sugar! Eating refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (which break down into sugar in the body) actually acts as an immune suppressant. This keeps your body's natural ability to fight back against bacterial overgrowth less than substantial. Overgrowth causes inflammation.Consuming large amounts of sugar (which is very easy to do on an average American diet) won't just make your seasonal cold worse or last longer, but the added weight and work for your body to filter through all that junk can increase the likelihood of developing other more serious conditions like diabetes, thyroid problems, and cancer.However, our bodies still need some sugar to live on. Choosing healthy, less refined sugars, and using them sparingly is a great way to reduce inflammation, lose weight, and detox your body. Some good alternatives to sugar is fruit- fresh, frozen, dried, pureed, etc., raw honey (local if you can find it), and pure maple syrup.
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Why Sprout? What to Know About Sprouting

Why Sprout? What to Know About Sprouting

When you think of sprouting you probably think of planting a seed in some dirt, add water, sunlight, and all that. What I'm talking about is only half the process, but can yield wonderful healthy results. When someone sprouts a seed, grain, bean or nut they are initiating the process of germination but not allowing it become a full blown plant.

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5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds

5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds

I'd like you to meet my new best friend...chia seeds. Okay, not really but I keep finding myself using these tiny black seeds everywhere and with great results. So I wanted to share it with the rest of my friends (that's you guys).You may have heard that chia seeds are good for you so some of what I say may be duplicate information that you're already aware of and some may be new to you. Let's get started!

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3 Simple Ways To Balance Your Health and Life

3 Simple Ways To Balance Your Health and Life

Have you ever met someone who seems to have mastered the art of balance? They always seem calm, in control, thoughtful, and observant. They're healthy, youthful, energetic, and lighthearted. Are some just born with these traits while others struggle daily to find any kind of peaceful balance in their lives? In my opinion, the answer is yes and no. Yes, there are some who naturally possess the gift of insight and a peaceful demeanor, but those characteristics still had to be nurtured so as to become ingrained in their character. Yes, there are some who have been healthy and fit their entire life, but there are many more who have had to overcome some serious health obstacles and follow a strict regimen to maintain it.Here are some things that help me refine my character a little and stay healthy as I try to live a balanced life....

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10 Tips For Gluten Free & Clean Eating On A Budget

10 Tips For Gluten Free & Clean Eating On A Budget

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CrossFit Challenge Part 2: My Nutrition Plan

CrossFit Challenge Part 2: My Nutrition Plan

Sore. So. Very. Sore.I have felt nothing but stiff and sore in places I didn't even know could hurt. I'm not just talking about the physically hard part of the past two weeks - my first two week of CrossFit. It's a psychological workout too. This sport demands more than the amount of weight I put on the bar (which isn't much by the way). I couldn't believe I could experience so many emotions in such a short period of time - anticipation, determination, excitement, frustration, relief, embarrassment, energized, exhausted, angry, rewarded... And that's just during one workout! I honestly never knew I could suck so bad at something and still want to come back for more.If you're wondering why I'm putting myself through this then read Part 1 of My 8 Week CrossFit Challenge.ChallengesThe competition is fully underway now. With weekly challenge WODs (workout of the day) that earn your team points for doing the prescribed amount of weight at the fastest time. Honestly, I know my limits. I know where I can push myself and where I need to just take it at my own pace. In other words, the parts of the competition that involve running, rowing, or jump ropes I can power through. I'm not even close to being the fastest, but I can hold my own. Anything that involves lifting a weight higher than my knees...well let's just say I'm taking baby steps. Since this is my first time doing any kind of weight lifting I'm being smart and safe and only practicing the lifts with minimal amounts of weight (or sometimes just a PVC pipe) to learn the proper technique.So far this experience has done a pretty good job of exposing all my weaknesses. I guess it has for everyone. I'm not the only one digging deeper to find that extra resolve to keep going. For many, it's not the workouts that are the hardest part, it's the diet. (Although, don't get me wrong - the workouts are hard!)  Thankfully that's one area that I'm feeling good about. Having a plan and and creating good eating habits now will prove very helpful as we approach that time of year where sugar filled goodies are served in abundance.

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Which Diet Should You Be Following?

Which Diet Should You Be Following?

 

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Got Essential Oils? Healing Oils: The Ins & Outs

Got Essential Oils? Healing Oils: The Ins & Outs

How many times have you heard about the health benefits of essential oils? Coconut oil? Well, there's a good reason - oil is AMAZING!I'll admit, I was once a skeptic about oil - confused by all the misinformation. The more I've learned the more I understand how beneficial a little oil can be in healing, preventing, and curing the body. The cool thing about oils is that many can be used internally and externally.However, if you would have asked someone 20 years ago about, say, coconut oil you may have heard a different story. Did you know that coconut oil was once used to make movie theater popcorn in place of butter? Outraged movie-goers, and I'm sure more than a few industries whose sales margins were dropping, claimed the fattening oil was unhealthy and should no longer be allowed in U.S. concessions food. Coconut oil has made a comeback, but I'm sure it won't be the last time that the debate over healthy vs. unhealthy oils is discussed.It's not just coconut oil that's getting accolades for being healthy. Essential oils, like Doterra Essential Oils are produced by distilling the potent oils from organic healing plants and herbs from around the world. These types of oils have been used for thousands of years to heal and support the health of the user.

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6 Must-Know Gluten Free Grains

6 Must-Know Gluten Free Grains

Alright, I've spent the last year tasting, experimenting, and making different gluten free grain breads. Before we started out on this journey  to me "grains" were wheat in the form of bread and pasta, rice and occasionally quinoa.  Not a bad list, but wow I was missing out on some amazing grains! This is not to say that organic whole wheat isn't a good grain. It is! Just not if you have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, or a gluten intolerance.Just like getting a variety of different colored vegetables and fruit on a daily basis provides our bodies with all the varied and necessary nutrients, it's important to eat a diversity of grains as well.

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Five Body Balancing Gluten Free Smoothies

Five Body Balancing Gluten Free Smoothies

I believe that when our bodies are balanced and healthy then it is that much easier for our souls and spirits to be balanced as well. Instead of trying to do a balancing act with all the obligations we place on ourselves (talking to me here) I'm going to make a little more effort to create a balanced life instead of juggling my life in an attempt to keep myself from losing my balance and dropping the ball (figuratively speaking).  So I'm sharing these five gluten free, yummy, body balancing smoothies to get you and me a little balanced start. Lynsay Caylor Russell shares this easy berry paleo smoothie for those busy mornings on the run.  Here's another clean eating berry smoothie from Tiffany at The Gracious Pantry. Love the purple! Gaby from What's Gaby Cooking shares this yummy green machine smoothie made with some Greek yogurt. I'll be making mine with my homemade greek yogurt. Nicole from Gluten Free on  a Shoestring has some great gluten free recipes and shares this Paleo Chocolate Banana Smoothie. Yum! And here's one of my favs, Citrus Ginger Green Smoothie I posted here on Food L'amor a little while ago, but it's worth sharing again ;) Why all the talk about balance? I picked up a book the other day, one I'd read before, but it'd been long enough that as I read the words felt new and fresh. It's called, A Quiet Heart by Patricia T. Holland (wife to Jeffrey R. Holland. An apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) Reading it is like having a conversation with my soft spoken, surprisingly funny and deeply wise grandma.  In it she quotes Anne Morrow Lindbergh about the tumultuous conditions woman today struggle with in an effort to have a quiet heart at peace: "The Feminists did not look...far [enough] ahead; they laid down no rules of conduct. For them it was enough to demand the privileges...And [so] woman today is still searching. We are aware of our hunger and needs, but still ignorant of what will satisfy them. With our garnered free time, we are more apt to drain our creative springs than to refill them. With our pitchers, we attempt...to water a field, [instead of] a garden. We throw ourselves indiscriminately into committees and causes. Not knowing how to free the spirit, we try to muffle its demands in distractions. Instead of stilling the center, the axis of the wheel, we add more centrifugal activities to our lives -- which tend to throw us [yet more] off balance...[For women] the problem is [still] how to feed the soul" (Gift from the Sea, 20th anniversary edition, with an afterword by the author [Vintage Books, 1978], 51-52). Holland sums up this balancing act with this great analogy. "The analogy is of the soul -- a human soul, with all if its splendor -- being placed in a beautifully carved but very tightly locked box. Reigning in majesty and illuminating our soul in this innermost box is our Lord and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God. This box is then placed -- and locked -- inside another larger one, and so on until five beautifully carved but very securely locked boxes await the woman who is skillful and wise enough to open them...Success will then reveal to her the beauty and divinity of her own soul, her gifts and her grace as a daughter of God." Now to unlock the boxes.   

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Gluten Free, Clean Eating Costco Shopping List

Gluten Free, Clean Eating Costco Shopping List

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5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters

5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters

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Stress and Nutrition

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 So I decided to let you in on some of the conversations I had this last weekend and some interesting things I keep thinking.Obviously I'm a bit of a "health nut" (no surprise there).  I enjoy learning about and applying good nutrition and sharing that information with others.  However, I've found that some people just do not care what's in the food they eat or why it's good or bad, just as long as it tastes good.  So the question is, does it make one a "nut" if you do care?I've read books and health journals that say more whole, organic foods, less meats and fats are the way to keep arteries clean, organs running properly, and lose or maintain a healthy weight.  But there is more to health than just what you eat (although its a major factor).  It's also your stress levels.Western society has been dubbed as overweight, unhealthy and overall sick!  Diseases like heart disease, cancer, obesity and its consequential offshoot diseases have all become rampant in America and other "developed" countries.  All this despite the fact that we have the best medical technologies and sanitation systems in the world.  Which makes me think that another culprit of American life is to blame.National Geographic did a documentary on some ground breaking studies of stress and it's effect on our health.  Its not just a mental thing, they said, its actually physiological.  That fight or flight response (the original stress) found in every living creature has been taken to a whole new level in our society.  Now instead of our heart racing only when we're being chased by a hungry lion, we lie awake at night with our heart racing, mind working while we stress over family, money, work, school, global warming, whatever!So how do we combat such illusive predators without adding to the stress.  Here's some helpful suggestions:

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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