November natural health order

For a myriad of reasons I won’t get into tonight, I decided to blog my monthly natural wellness order. Maybe one day I’ll blog about the reasons why I did so 😉

The big bottle is alcohol-free, essential oil infused On Guard mouthwash and it is my new obsession. Seriously, I had run out for a few days and I was freaking out over my oral health. Why? Because I see HUGE benefits from using this mouthwash every day. You only see me unpack one bottle here but I actually ordered two bottles – I couldn’t even wait to do this short video and blog post to start using it again. It’s now one of my MUST HAVE products. It also rates super well if you look up the ingredients in the Environmental Working Group database.

You also don’t see me unpack my second obsession, which is the PB Assist Junior kids probiotics. I’ve unpacked these a few times already and talked about them. I’ve ordered them regularly. However, the problem now is that I’ve tasted them… and well… they taste AMAZING! So I haven’t even been taking my “adult” probiotics anymore I just want the kids version. No kidding, I crave the stuff like I crave candy or chocolate. Except this is actually good for me. Have a hard time remembering to take probiotics? If you fall in love with the taste like I do, it will never been an issue again! In fact, you’ll have a hard time holding back from taking more 🙂

So now for the oils… I won’t explain all the different uses for these oils – because there are tons! – I’ll just cover what I used these for.

  • Clove: incredible antioxidant; good for oral health (Health Canada approved for internal use).
  • Bergamot: love diffusing at night for bedtime; on an emotional level, it’s an oil that helps provide confidence and self-esteem. It might sound crazy y’all but it works for me!
  • Lemon: an all-around great cleanser. What don’t I use lemon for? People also love it for the skin but make sure you avoid the sun for at least 12 hours if you apply it topically.
  • Geranium: this is another great one for the skin. It’s in the skin moisturizer I make. I like putting a drop over my heart when I need some emotional support. I’ll mix this with Clary Sage and apply topically for respiratory relief (and my beau loves the smell of this combo on me).
  • Black pepper: honestly, I’m just low on this one and not too sure why. It’s used a lot in pain blends.
  • Arborvitae: I love the smell of this one (think: wet cedar) so I diffuse it a lot with a citrus oil and flowery oil. I like to put a drop under my feet as a tonic.

Voilà! That’s my November health products restock.

M.

Easy sourdough bread recipe

I dabbled into bread-making several years ago when I was on maternity leave. Since I was on leave from work, I had more time to experiment with the complicated recipes I had. But, as soon as I was back to work, the bread-making completely stopped. Trying to time the multiple rises with a 9 – 5 job was just way too much trouble.

This past summer, I discovered dutch oven bread-making. It sounded too good to be true but I decided to give it a shot! I have to say, since making bread this way, I’ve never goofed up a loaf of bread (except the time I forgot the yeast… and the time I forgot to put flour at the bottom of the pot and the loaf stuck). It’s practically fool-proof.

I’ve seen different variations of the recipe but here’s the one that works for me.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

Instructions

In a glass bowl, mix all ingredients and cover with a warm, humid cloth. Let rise at least 8 hours.

After dough has risen, put the dutch oven in the oven and preheat at 450 degrees. While everything is heating, flour the counter and knead the dough adding more flour if too sticky. Fold dough under into a nice ball and score the top. 

When the oven is preheated, take the dutch over out and add some flour at the bottom. This is important, otherwise your dough will stick! Add the dough and bake covered for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. 

Consume within the next couple of days. You can experiment by adding spices, olives, food-grade rosemary essential oil, etc.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

M.

My first wild harvest

There’s a trail I bike down often lined with red clover. For the first time ever, I mustered up enough courage to pick some for use. If I told you how much I pay for a bag of dry red clover from the health food store, you would ask me why on earth I ever waited so long to harvest it myself!

Red clover is used as a blood purifier and thinner. It contains the phytoestrogens daidzein and genistein, and can help relieve a variety of women issues. It is also naturally high in protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. In order to get the full benefits from this herb, I prepare it as a herbal infusion.

In this short video, you’ll see how I harvested the red clover, used my dehydrator to dry it and then conserve it in a mason jar ready to make an infusion. Make sure you harvest only healthy-looking flowers and cut off the stems. I cleaned the red clover by soaking them in water and therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil.

Dehydrators probably vary but I put my at 95 degrees and left the red clover in for 24 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven or I’ve read some people just let it air dry. I then stored it in glass and, once I’m ready to consume, I will add boiling water to it and let it infuse overnight.

I’d love to harvest more of my own herbs for drying, especially nettle and red raspberry leaf. I’ll have to build up my confidence over the winter months and do more research for next summer 🙂

Hope to see you out wild harvesting some day!

M.

 

I got Shiso (Japanese mint)

I love shopping at my quaint, neighbourhood organic grocer. One of my favourite things about it is they often have unusual products.

This past week, they had Shiso. The lady working there didn’t even know much about it! She said the local herb farmer likes to drop off “weird” plants ever now and then, and she gets concerned people will be “weirded” out by them. Well, I’m all about weird so I took it off her hands!

Turns out, Shiso is also called Japanese mint. I’ve been topping my salads with it and you can infuse the leaves to make tea out of it. Its health benefits include:

  • Lots of vitamin C, K and A; potassium; and flavonoids (anthocyanins to be exact).
  • Helpful for cold symptoms such as a cough.
  • Supports digestive issues and is anti-inflammatory.
  • Eases allergies when eaten regularly.

We’ve managed to keep the plant alive and thriving on our window sill. We’ll see how long that lasts…

Next time you see a strange herb at the grocery store, you might want to give it a try 😉

M.

Allergy and sinusitis relief

Contrary to what you would think, I don’t use this as a sweetener…

I’ve had sinus issues for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, during sleepovers with friends, they would tell me they knew I was awake the next morning because I would sniffle.

A bit later on, I also developed allergies. Chronic congestion is no stranger to me and I often sneeze for no good reason. Plus, if you knew how many boxes of Kleenex I go through…

Sure, I tried cutting out dairy in the past and that helped a lot. I even have a Neti pot that I would often use to try to get relief but the Bulletproof nasal rinse has made the biggest difference.

At first, I was paranoid I would get some of the mixture in my lungs (because I’m weird like that). However, I soon got used to the feeling of pulling water through my nasal cavities and into my mouth. It was more difficult at first, when I was still really congested.

Plus, lately I was having issues with my eyes but this has helped tremendously with that too. I do the nasal rinse twice a day and the eye rinse once. Plan to keep cutting back as my symptoms continue to improve.

Xylitol is the magic ingredient in this mixture. I ran out for a few days and the effectiveness was seriously reduced. There’s even scientific research on it for you science junkies 😉

(I haven’t tried with the grapefruit seed extract yet; haven’t needed to.)

Once I’m done, I apply super high-quality clary sage and geranium essential oils diluted in fractionated coconut oil. I don’t have science to link to here but it’s backed anecdotally from my aromatherapist course.

Hope this helps!

M.

Slow cooker chaga tea

Chaga mushroom is a fungus that grows on birch trees. Sounds appetizing, huh?

My parents introduced me to chaga a few years back. They had friends that discovered chaga and started consuming it for the amazing health benefits it offers. They knew this was something that would likely interest me so they gave me some to try out.

It has some pretty impressive health benefits. Here are my favourites:

  • Slows down the aging process.
  • Prevents and fights cancer.
  • Supports the immune system.

My favourite way to prepare this is in the slow cooker, as a perpetual brew – similar to what you can do with bone broth. I put a large chunk of chaga (like the one pictured) in the slow cooker, add boiling water to fill and set it on low. I drink a cup each morning and replace what I take with more boiling water. This lasts me about a week.

I got this idea from one of my natural health heroes, Ange Peters from HOL:FIT.

These friends of theirs also added lemon peel to their chaga tea cup. Back then, I didn’t quite understand why they would do this and my parents simply said it had added benefits. Now, as an essential oils educator, I totally get why you would add lemon peel: d-limonene.

“d-Limonene, a monoterpene, is widely distributed as a natural nonnutritive constituent of a variety of foods and volatile oils, particularly citrusoils. d-Limonene and its derived metabolites have been shown to possess cancer chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive efficacy in various preclinical model systems.” (Source)

I encourage you to replace your cup of Joe one morning and try it out 😉 (or do half and half). Don’t worry, it provides you with a great energy boost!

M.

Seaweed and thyroid health

This is my favourite health snack these days. It looks a little funny and has an interesting texture but I actually enjoy its salty taste. Plus, it makes me feel like a mermaid when I eat it!

“Wakame is an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines.” (Source) I eat it dry as shown in the picture above (although, I’m not sure you’re supposed to so comment below if you know!) or use it in homemade miso soup. I also read you can add some to your bath water for a beneficial seaweed soak! I will definitely be trying that…

This amazing sea plant is so nutrient-dense, despite being low in calories, it helps me feel satiated until I can finish prepping a healthy meal.

But the three main reasons I love Wakame are:

  1. Iodine: this is probably your thyroid gland’s best friend*. It keeps it in balance and is necessary for the release of thyroid hormones.
  2. Magnesium: if you’re not already, you’ll soon get tired of me raving about magnesium! This mineral is necessary for the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles. Plus, it’s been said that people with hyper- or hypo-thyroid conditions are likely deficient.
  3. Fucoxanthin: this is an antioxidant from the carotenoids family. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and even fat-burning properties.

Just don’t overdo it with seaweed. It has super high levels of sodium so, like anything else, moderation is key!

Plus, *some thyroid conditions apparently don’t like too much iodine – normally when it’s in supplement form. Always check with a medical professional if you are concerned 😉

M.