Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

For this Try This Tuesday post, I’m sharing about a product I’ve used for just over a year now. Have you heard of dryer balls? They replace fabric softener sheets in the dryer. I’ve used a synthetic set for several years. However, my daughter and son-in-law gifted me with a set of alpaca wool dryer balls, and that, my friends, upped my laundry game in such a positive way.

Do these wool dryer balls really work? And what are the benefits of using them?

Read on…

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls title meme

The Problem with Fabric Softener Sheets

An amazing thing happened, on my healing journey. As I eliminated unhealthy foods from my diet, and my body recovered, my awareness shifted. I recognized the effects of chemicals on my body and health. What I allowed on my skin became as important as what I put in my body.

As a result of this heightened awareness, I moved away from chemical laden beauty and bath products and household cleaners, including laundry detergent and softeners. Switching to plant based products in all areas of my life is not only better for me, it is better for the environment.

It was simple enough to switch to a chemical and dye free laundry detergent. What about fabric softener sheets though? Those little scented sheets are a laundry staple in most households. They remove static, soften clothes, reduce wrinkles and make our clothe smell good. Are they healthy for us though?

The Negative Effects of Fabric Softener Sheets

It turns out those dryer sheets can cause more harm than good. They contain a chemical called quaternary ammonia compounds (QACS). The chemical is known to cause or worsen asthma and skin irritations. It’s also linked to more serious conditions such as nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, dizziness, cancer and reproductive problems.

Additionally, the coating on dryer sheets that softens laundry makes towels less absorbent. Plus it wears away the wicking abilities of socks and activewear and it lessens the effectiveness of fire-resistant clothing.

And finally, those sheets are designed for one time use. With every load of laundry we toss a dryer sheet in and then throw it away.  The average family does 416 loads of laundry a year. Think of the cost of those dryer sheets!

Consider this alternative to fabric softener sheets…alpaca wool!

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls
Alpaca wool makes an excellent dryer ball. And isn’t he adorable?

The Benefits of Using Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

My dryer balls are made from alpaca wool. The wool fibers have hollow cores that absorb water, making them an ideal material for drying clothes…and the animals are not harmed when they are shorn . The dryer balls, which are approximately three inches across in size, are felted from alpaca wool yarn.

The benefits of using alpaca wool dryer balls over fabric softener sheets include:

Hypoallergenic

Alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic. Unlike sheep, alpaca do not produce lanolin, which can irritate sensitive skin. The alpaca wool is untreated and free from chemicals and dyes. It contains anti-bacterial properties as well.

Cost Effective

Unlike the one use dryer sheets, alpaca wool balls last for years. When they look worn, they can be refelted, making them even more economical.

Softens Clothes and Prevents Wrinkles

Alpaca wool dryer balls are designed to soften clothes, reduce static and prevent wrinkles, without coating the inside of the dryer or clothes with chemicals. The balls work by bouncing around in the dryer, separating and fluffing clothes as the tumble. Air moves more freely through the clothes as the balls separate them, reducing wrinkles and speeding up drying time.

Decreases Drying Time by as Much as 25%

Because alpaca wool absorbs water as they bounce among wet clothes, drying time is decreased. Studies show that drying time is reduced by as much as 25%, which cuts energy costs.

Ecological

Alpaca wool dryer balls save time, money, energy and resources. A set of wool dryer balls lasts through hundreds of loads of laundry. And they can be refelted and made like new again. When they finally do wear out, add them to the compost pile, where they break down naturally.

Chemical Free

Wool dryer balls are chemical free. That means they are naturally unscented as well. While many people love the fragrance of their dryer sheets, that scent is chemically produced. And those chemicals contribute to illnesses and allergies and the increased risk of diseases such as cancer. Plus clothes wear out faster, due to the chemical residue that dryer sheets leave behind.

If scent is important to you, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to alpaca wool dryer balls. Clothes smell fresh rather than perfumed and the scent remains on the wool dryer balls through several cycles.

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls Review

Using Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

To use these laundry aids, simply toss them into the dryer with a load of clothes. I recommend using at least two wool balls, and preferably three. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil to one of the wool balls before throwing it into the dryer.

That’s it. Turn on the dryer and either use the automatic setting that senses when clothes are dry or check the dryer before the end of the cycle. I’ve found that clothes really do dry faster using the wool balls. After noting results, you can set the timer for a shorter amount of time for future loads.

Wood Dryer Balls in the Dryer
I leave my alpaca wool balls in the dryer between uses.

Where to Purchase Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

My daughter and son-in-law bought my alpaca wool dryer balls from a local provider at Joplin’s Empire Market. Doug and Penny Moore reside at the family owned Wellspring Acres in Sarcoxie, Missouri, and make their dryer balls from wool from their own alpacas.

Purchase alpaca wool dryer balls in health conscious grocery stores, farmer’s markets and through Amazon. Check out the links below.

I appreciate these amazing laundry aids. The environment benefits. My clothes and towels are fresh, soft and wrinkle free. They dry more quickly. And my clothes and skin remain chemical free. For that, I am most grateful. I don’t miss the fabric softener dryer sheets at all.

An alternative to fabric softener sheets

Purchase alpaca wool dryer balls below:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Apple Crisp Vegan & Gluten Free

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In honor of National Pie Day, I celebrated with a healthier option. This apple crisp is vegan and gluten free and absolutely delicious. Packed with red skinned apples, this crisp is also easy to make. It’s perfect for a chilly winter evening. Add a cup of hot herbal tea to experience bliss!

Apple Crisp title meme

Apple Crisp Without the Guilt

This yummy dessert comes from blogger friend Rebecca. I adapted her recipe slightly. Check out her blog Strength & Sunshine for lots of vegan and gluten free recipes. And see the original recipe for her apple crisp here.

Apple crisp, the vegan and gluten free version, uses simple ingredients such as red skinned apples, gluten free oats and flour, cinnamon and plant based butter. It comes together in minutes and the result is a hot, fragrant, good-for-you dessert.

For the best health benefits, leave the peeling on the apples.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp starts with red skinned apples and fresh lemon juice.

Apple Crisp Recipe

I left the peeling on Gala apples and sliced them fairly thin after coring them. Next time I’ll slice the apples a bit thicker. Any apple is fine for the crisp, however red skinned apples have more health benefits.

Although oats are naturally gluten free, they are usually processed in facilities that also process wheat flour. If gluten free is desired, make sure the package of oats says “gluten free”. For this recipe I used oat flour. Use any gluten free or regular flour. And I only use plant based butter. More and more options are available at the grocery store for plant based products. I’m so happy about that! Find plant based butter in the refrigerator section, next to dairy products.

Apple Crisp Vegan & Gluten Free

This delicious apple crisp is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Crisp, Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large red skinned apples, sliced or apples of choice
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, organic, non GMO & sulphur free
  • 1/2 stick plant based butter, cubed (1/2 stick = 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For Apple Filling

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine apple slices, coconut sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Stir to coat. Place apples in a greased 2 quart glass baking dish.

For Crisp Topping

  • In another bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, plant based butter and vanilla. Use hands to to incorporate butter into mixture.
  • Sprinkle topping over sliced apples in baking dish.
  • Baked uncovered in oven 40 - 50 minutes, or until crisp topping browns. Makes 4 - 6 servings. Serve warm topped with dairy free ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

 

Apple Crisp apple filling
Apple filling
Apple Crisp
Ready to bake.

Enjoying Apple Crisp

The apple crisp tasted as great as it smelled while it baked. I love simple desserts like this for an occasional treat, especially during winter. As I stated above, next time I’ll slice my apples a bit thicker. And I’ll shorten the baking time by five minutes. I left my crisp in for 45 minutes and the topping got a little dark. It tasted wonderful though! And I will make this special treat again.

Do you have a favorite winter treat?

Ready to Eat Apple Crisp
Ready to eat.

For National Pie Day Try These:

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

Order gluten free flour and oats below:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Health Benefits of Valerian

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

The health benefits of valerian go beyond providing a restful night’s sleep. This flowering herb offers a range of healing properties that soothe and support the body.

Check out these benefits and easy ways to include valerian as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Health Benefits of Valerian title meme

What is Valerian?

Valerian, also commonly known as valerian root, is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It’s grown in the US as well. The herb is a perennial flowering plant adorned with sweetly scented pink or white blooms. Valerian normally blooms during the summer months.

The name of the plant derives from the Latin word valere, meaning “strong and healthy”. The Greeks and Romans appreciated valerian for its medicinal properties, using it as a sleep aid and as an early remedy for epilepsy.

Valerian root contains oils and other active components that produce a soothing, restorative effect on the body’s nervous and muscular systems. The plant also contains calcium, manganese and quercitin.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Valerian flowers

Health Benefits of Valerian

This extraordinary medicinal herb offers the following healing properties:

Lowers Blood Pressure

Valerian’s soothing properties lower blood pressure, which in turn improves overall heart health. High blood pressure creates increased risks for stroke and heart attack.

Promotes Sleep

Well known for aiding insomnia, valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep while improving the quality of sleep. Unlike prescriptions or over the counter meds, valerian has few side effects and it’s less likely to cause grogginess the next morning. Valerian root is frequently combined with other herbs, such as lemon balm, to soothe the body into rest.

Health benefits of valerian - better night's sleep
Health benefits of valerian – a better night’s sleep

Eases Menstrual Cramps

Valerian’s natural antispasmodic abilities relax muscles, calming severe uterine contractions that cause cramps during menstruation. For many women, those cramps are extremely painful and debilitating. Valerian acts as a muscle relaxer, easing cramps and pain while reducing stress.

Relieves Anxiety

Valerian increases a chemical in the body called gamma aminobutyric (GABA). GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and naturally calms anxiety. In fact, studies show that valerian works as well as antidepressants at reducing anxiety, without the serious side effects of those drugs.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Health Benefits of Valerian – eases anxiety. An afternoon in a hammock helps too!

 

Soothes the Digestive Tract

Valerian’s antispasmodic properties also calm and relax the digestive system. It is especially helpful for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the herb helps to control hunger and reduces the urge to eat during times of stress.

Helps with Stress Management

By reducing anxiety and improving sleep, valerian helps with daily stress management. Improving GABA levels enables the mind and the body to relax, which increases wellbeing and quality of life.

Health Benefits of Valerian
Valerian roots

Using Valerian

Valerian is available dried, as a tea or tincture, and in capsule form. It is easily found in health conscious stores or online. Check out the Amazon links below.

For insomnia, try a cup of valerian tea, a teaspoon of tincture or a capsule without two hours of bedtime. Brew tea by steeping one teaspoon dried valerian root in a cup of very hot water, for 5 – 10 minutes.

To help with anxiety, take 200 milligrams of valerian up to four times a day.

Continue valerian for up to six weeks, to improve sleep and lower anxiety.

Possible Side Effects of Valerian

Valerian is considered a safe, natural alternative to prescription drugs and over the counter meds. However, a few people experience dizziness, an upset stomach or increased anxiety while using valerian. Talk to a doctor before taking this herb and discontinue if any of the above symptoms occur. Also, do not combine valerian with melatonin or over the counter or prescription sleeping aids and antidepressants.

Have you tried valerian? What’s your experience using this healing herb?

Health Benefits of Valerian
Health Benefits of Valerian – relaxation

Pick up Valerian by clicking on links below:

 


And check out these herbal teas that help to calm anxiety.

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Cooking With Chayote

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

During my 62 Outrageous Things to do for My 62nd Birthday, one of my activities read: try a new vegetable. I noticed bright green gourds in the produce section of my local supermarket. And I wondered about them. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? They are a bit of both! Chayote squash is a fruit that is prepared and eaten like a vegetable.

Cooking with chayote became an interesting first experience. And I love the simple Chayote Mexican Skillet that I created.

Cooking with Chayote title meme

What Are Chayotes?

Chayote are a type of squash, originally grown in central Mexico and parts of Latin America. Also known as the mirliton squash or chocho, it is now grown around the world. Technically considered a fruit, chayote tastes like a vegetable. It is delicious raw or cooked.

The squash is full of nutrients including vitamins B6, B9, C and K, manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It is rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation, lower stress in the body and protect against cellular damage.

Benefits of chayote include:

  • promotes heart health
  • controls blood sugar
  • supports a healthy pregnancy
  • provides anticancer properties
  • slows aging
  • supports liver health
  • promotes digestive health
Cooking With Chayote Squash
Cooking with chayote squash. Look for these pear shaped fruits in the produce section.

Cooking With Chayote

After purchasing this new-to-me fruit, I felt inspired to create a Mexican themed recipe. Versatile and easy to prepare, the squash has a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. Peel and dice chayote to add raw to salads. Add to soups or stir fries or steam alone for a cooked treat.

This festive Chayote Mexican Skillet came together in minutes.

Chayote Mexican Skillet

This festive, easy to prepare recipe using chayote squash as a main ingredient.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chayote, Mexican Skillet
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 large chayote, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can non GMO corn, drained
  • 1 small can chopped green chile peppers, mild or hot
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • In a large non stick skillet, saute onion, garlic and chayote in coconut oil, until onions are softened and chayote crisp tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt, if desired, and serve over cooked brown rice. Makes 4 - 6 servings.

 

Cooking with Chayote Saute
Onions, garlic and chayote sauteed in coconut oil.
Chayote Mexican Skillet
Cooking with Chayote Mexican Skillet

How Did Chayote Taste?

While chopping up the chayote, I sampled a sliver. It reminds me in texture of a cucumber, however the flavor is much more mild. I peeled the squash using my favorite knife, as I would a potato. Some chayote are extemely wrinkled with deep folds, making peel removal more difficult. I deliberately chose smoother fruit.

The Chayote Mexican Skillet was excellent! Greg is my taste tester. Chayote is new to him as well however he trusts my creations and sampled this recipe without fear. He declared the meal delicious. I served the completed skillet dinner over cooked brown rice. (Prepare the rice in this easy to make vegetable broth for a rich flavor.)

I loved this chayote dinner. The recipe is quick and easy to prepare, making it a wonderful meal after a busy day. And clean up is a breeze, using only one skillet.

I think cooking with chayote will become a regular occurrence in my kitchen. I’ll try adding it to a chopped veggie salad next.

Have you tried chayote? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?

Cooking with Chayote Ready to Eat

Try out this non stick ceramic skillet set from Amazon:

 

 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Incrediwear Pain Relief and Recovery

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Incrediwear for sending product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Throughout my life, I’ve had issues with my left knee. I messed up the knee cap at age 13 and it took years before the pain and numbness went away. I’ve twisted that knee and strained it, weakening the joint. And after a horrific car accident, 25 years ago, the sciatic nerves in both legs became inflamed, creating years of chronic pain. The left leg…and knee…suffered the most.

Incrediwear title meme

My Darling Left Leg

Over the years I babied my left leg, named her Darling, tried to ignore her, worked at strengthening her. Eventually I walked with a cane, due to the continuing deterioration in that leg. At last, thankfully, a plant based lifestyle eliminated the pain and inflammation.

However, I’m still careful with my left leg and knee. A fall, a stumble or a misstep results in tenderness and stiffness. Early last year, I fell carrying groceries into the house from the car, badly twisting my left knee. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it took eight months to fully heal from that fall.

When Incrediwear emailed me recently about trying one of their pain reducing products, I immediately opened the message. The subject line cinched it.

Pills are out – Wearable Anti-Inflammatories are in! Sleeves, wraps and braces shown to accelerate recovery for acute and chronic injuries up to 46%

I’m all for using natural products and methods for healing pain and inflammation. “Yes!” I responded to Incrediwear. “Please send me a knee sleeve.” The company graciously did so.

Incrediwear Knee Sleeve
Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

Move Incredibly with Incrediwear

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat.

Those negative ions activate cellular vibrations that speed up blood flow. The increased circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which supports the body’s natural healing process.

The company sells sleeves and braces, socks and apparel. The clothing effectively reduces the risk of overuse injuries and relieves muscle fatigue. Incrediwear’s socks relieve foot pain and fatigue while wicking away moisture. The sleeves and braces reduce inflammation and swelling and relieve pain while restoring mobility and accelerating recovery.

Incrediwear products reduce symptoms associated with:

  • arthritis
  • tendonitis
  • sprains/strains
  • neuropathy
  • carpal tunnel
  • lymphedema
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • post operative healing
  • muscle fatigue
Incrediwear Wearing the Knee Sleeve
Darling left knee trying out the sleeve

My Experience with the Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

When the knee sleeve arrived, I examined it carefully. The material is soft and stretchy, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. My left knee felt great at that time. Within a few days of receiving the sleeve I slightly twisted that joint, providing the perfect opportunity to try out the product.

I slipped the sleeve over my left knee that night and went to bed. In a few minutes I noticed warmth around my knee, which felt incredibly good. Whenever I woke during the night, I cautiously tested my knee by bending it and straightening it out. The joint flexed without pain. The next morning my knee felt great…no pain, no swelling, no stiffness. I was impressed!

A week later, I experienced stiffness in the joint after a great deal of walking the day before. Would the sleeve ease my discomfort? This time I wore the knee sleeve throughout the day. I noticed the warmth around the joint again and a short time later, I completely forgot about the stiff knee. That’s a sign of relief! My attention was no longer drawn to my knee because it felt fine.

I’ve worn other sleeves and braces on my left leg and I can honestly say that the Incrediwear sleeve is the best that I’ve tried. I love that it relieves discomfort and promotes healing, without the need for pain meds.

Incrediwear Pain Relief

Sharing a Good Thing

When you find something that you appreciate and love, you share it. I’m doing that here, with my dear readers. Check out this awesome company online via this LINK. Or order Incrediwear products through the Amazon links below.

I gave away my Incrediwear knee sleeve. My son, who works for UPS, just completed an intense holiday season, making up to 200 deliveries a day. His left knee complained a bit about the long busy days. He’s now benefiting from the knee sleeve.

And I am ordering another one, for myself, for my Darling left knee. She deserves the opportunity to continuing healing.

Increadiwear Wearable Therapy

Find Incrediwear on Amazon too:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Turmeric Green Tea

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I didn’t either and I love drinking hot tea. It’s simple to celebrate during this month. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, find a cozy spot to relax and enjoy.

Since 2014, I’ve practiced the custom of afternoon tea time, favoring herbal teas. For this special month, I am choosing to experience several new to me teas or tea blends.

Leading off the celebration is this combination of two powerful healing foods, Turmeric Green Tea.

Turmeric Green Tea title meme

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric and Green Tea

These two superfoods are packed with healing benefits. Together they offer amazing health support throughout the body.

Turmeric

I’ve taken turmeric as a supplement since starting my plant based journey. I also create a non dairy turmeric milk that is a delicious way to end the day.

Turmeric is a rhizome perennial herb in the ginger family. It is native to India and southeast Asia. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color, and it has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

There are incredible healing benefits in turmeric. This herb contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains natural steroidal compounds that calm down the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens, such as viruses.

This makes turmeric ideal for fighting inflammation anywhere in the body, from joints to the liver to nerves to the brain. The compounds in this herb increase blood flow to the parts of the body that need it the most, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, inhibit tumors and cysts and help to prevent all types of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combating a host of conditions, including skin disorders, anxiety, colds and flu, sinus issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, heart disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s, liver disorders, joint pain, headaches, leg cramps, body aches, blurry vision, brain fog, menopause symptoms and many other health problems.

Turmeric Green Tea Grated
Freshly grated turmeric for Turmeric Green Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases.

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body. Green tea protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

You can see why combining green tea with turmeric creates such a powerful health drink.

 

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Preparing Turmeric Green Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. I’d recommend using fresh turmeric root rather than dried or ground, for the best health benefits.

I purchased a piece of fresh turmeric root at my local Natural Grocers. Buy a larger section of turmeric root so that it is easier to peel and grate. I used a sharp paring knife to remove most of the outer skin, leaving a section to hang on to as I grated it. Turmeric leaves a bright yellow stain on fingers and clothing so handle carefully!

Grate about a tablespoon of turmeric and save the rest, storing in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the grated turmeric and two black peppercorns or a dash of ground black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound that inhibits the breakdown of turmeric in the liver and gut. This improves bioavailability, allowing higher levels of turmeric to remain in the body and increasing the effects.

Cover the pan and allow turmeric and black pepper to steep for 10 minutes.

Strain turmeric tea into a large mug or cup. Add an organic green tea bag, cover and steep for 5 more minutes. Add raw organic honey, if desired.

Turmeric Green Tea
Freshly brewed turmeric green tea.

Enjoying Turmeric Green Tea

The above recipe makes one large cup of turmeric green tea. Double the recipe to make a pot of tea. Save the grated turmeric in the saucepan. It can be used up to three times to create tea. Store any leftover tea in the refrigerator and reheat before drinking.

I brewed this healing drink for my afternoon tea. Previously I’ve only enjoyed turmeric in curries and golden milk, so I wondered if this tea would be overwhelming or too spicy. It’s not, at least, it’s not to me. I like the taste of turmeric and don’t use any kind of sweetener in my herbal teas. I drank the turmeric green tea straight up, without adding honey or coconut milk.

It is strongly flavored, but not overpowering. I enjoyed the drink and could imagine all those anti-inflammatories going to work throughout my body. In fact, I loved it so much I’ll have a second cup of turmeric green tea before bed. The turmeric root is inexpensive and easy to grate. My intention is to enjoy a cup of this healing tea once a day for the next week and note the effects.

I’ll keep you posted!

Turmeric Green Tea Cheers
Here’s to health!

Pick up these items, to create turmeric green tea:


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

The fresh pineapple I bought yesterday inspired this oh so simple recipe, Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice. I’d never bought and prepared a fresh pineapple before. The experience came about as a result of my 62 outrageous birthday activities. Check that post out here. It proved remarkably easy to cut up that pineapple.

I intended to use my delicious pineapple in a fruit salad today. However, a new idea arose. What about creating a simple pineapple fried rice, free from egg and soy? I liked that idea!

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice title meme

Cutting Up a Pineapple

I love pineapple. I’m one of those that used to request it on pizzas and mix it in with cottage cheese. Currently I add frozen pineapple chunks to smoothies most mornings. And for good reason. Pineapples reduce inflammation in joints and muscles and protect against constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. They prevent infections while wounds heal and improve oral and eye health. Pineapple boosts the immune system and helps to prevent arthritis, cancer and heart disease. And finally, this fruit reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

When I purchased a pineapple yesterday, I did so knowing I don’t own a corer. I do own a knife, and that was good enough. Fortunately, the tag on the pineapple offered four easy steps for preparing the fruit. Cut off the top of the pineapple. Divide it in two and then divide those halves again so that you have four sections. Slightly trim away the center and then slide the knife between the outer skin and the fruit. Cut down through each section of pineapple and slide the segments into a bowl. See the photo collage below. Easy peasy.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice Cutting the Fruit

Pineapple Fried Rice

I frequently prepare stir fried veggies, without a recipe. I adapted what I know to create this simple dish. It’s perfect for a quick evening meal. Use any veggies that you have on hand. Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice is also a great way to use leftover brown rice. Prepare brown rice with water, or use this veggie broth recipe.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice

This easy to prepare recipe is adaptable. Use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Fried Rice, Pineapple, Vegan
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Non stick skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp raw organic honey
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together liquid aminos, sesame oil, ginger, honey and red pepper flakes (if using). Set aside.
  • In a large non stick skillet, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in coconut oil until veggies are crisp tender. Add pineapple and cashews, stirring and cooking until heated through.
  • Add cooked rice and liquid mixture. Stir well, simmering for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice Saute

Adapt This Recipe

The Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice was so good! The recipe was the perfect use for my fresh pineapple. The beauty of this simple recipe is that it is so adaptable. Use whatever veggies you have on hand…peas, non GMO corn, fresh tomatoes, snow peas, broccoli. Saute the veggies first and then add the pineapple and cashews and the cooked rice. Leave out the red pepper flakes, for a no spice dish. Or add more if you like the heat!

I enjoyed the Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice. Grabbing a set of chopsticks, I savored this delicious meal. It goes into my meal rotation.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice with Chopsticks
Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice with chopsticks

 

Check out these Amazon finds:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Aloo Matar Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

If you enjoy Indian food, Aloo Matar is a delicious meal, robust with potatoes, peas and tomatoes in a garam masala and curry sauce. However, have you ever tried Aloo Matar Soup?

Over on my other blog, Cindy Goes Beyond, I’m sharing 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday…in January. Pop over there and see what the adventure is all about. The short version is, I wrote 62 fun and outrageous activities on slips of paper, folded them up and dropped them into a jar. Every day I draw a piece of paper, randomly, and do what is written there. It’s fun. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone. And I’m learning and growing from the experience.

Last week one of the activities I drew out was this: Create a New Recipe

One of the perks of a plant based lifestyle is that I cook at home most of the time. I’ve enjoyed learning new ways of cooking along with new ways of eating. As a first born perfectionist type, I heavily rely on recipes, so that the dish turns out right. The past couple of years, though, I’ve experimented with recipes more, followed my intuition while cooking and just had fun.

Creating a new recipe sounded fun…and it challenged me to rely on what I’ve learned and what I know. No peeking at recipes allowed.

Aloo Matar Soup title meme

Aloo Matar Soup

As the day progressed, I considered what recipe to create. Suddenly, into my head popped an idea…Aloo Matar Soup. The original easy to make recipe came to me by way of Anthony William. It’s a favorite of mine. I wondered how making Aloo Mater into a soup would be? I could use the pressure cooker and create dinner in minutes.

Here is the recipe I came up with:

Aloo Matar Soup
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Aloo Matar Soup

Wonderful soup featuring peas, potatoes and tomatoes in a curry flavored broth
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Aloo Matar Soup
Servings: 6 Servings

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cans peas, drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp raw organic honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth may substitute water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • In uncovered pressure cooker, saute onions and garlic in coconut oil on high heat, 3 minutes or until softened.
  • Add potatoes, peas, tomatoes, honey, sea salt, garam masala, curry powder, ginger and vegetable broth.
  • Lock on lid and bring to pressure on "soup" setting. Cook for 15 minutes. Use quick release. Makes 6 servings.
  • Can make on stove top as well. Saute onions and garlic in large soup pot, in small amount of coconut oil. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.

Aloo Matar Soup Cooking

Enjoying Aloo Matar Soup

I enjoy soup and I can eat it every day. It’s especially nice to have a big container of soup ready to go in the fridge, for a quick and healthy meal. This wonderfully flavored Aloo Matar Soup is perfect! I love the blend of spices and the simplicity of the recipe.

It’s Aloo Matar, eaten with a spoon. That’s a win/win for me.

Aloo Matar Soup Bowl

Pick up your soup items below:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Today is National Gingerbread House Day. This celebration recognizes a Christmas tradition for many, creating a house out of gingerbread. An Armenian monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD. Gingerbread, cut into shapes, sold in Christmas markets and shops during the holidays.

It was the Brothers Grimm who introduced the gingerbread house though. In the classic and somewhat dark fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, the witch in the story lives in a house made of gingerbread. After the publication of Hansel and Gretel, inspired German bakers created and sold ornamental gingerbread houses. The holiday tradition came to America by way of German immigrants.

I love spicy, fragrant gingerbread. My grandson Dayan and I made gingerbread last Christmas for gifts, which prompted me to adapt a recipe. The result is a vegan and gluten free gingerbread that is delicious, with all the feels of the tradition version.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread title meme

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread Recipe

Whether you make a house, a man, bars or cutout cookies with your gingerbread, this easy recipe supplies the perfect foundation for creating. The key ingredient in gingerbread is…ginger! This warm spice creates the subtle, distinctive flavor. Ginger also offers a host of health benefits. It relieves indigestion and nausea, contains anti-inflammatory properties, cuts the risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol levels.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

This delicious treat is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time15 mins
Chill in refrigerator30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gingerbread, Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread
Servings: 12 servings
Author: journeywithhealthyme

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil spread or 1 1/2 sticks plant based butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T water. Set for 5 min)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • In large bowl whisk together olive oil spread, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in flax egg. Add salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda.

  • Using a wooden spoon add flour, half a cup at a time. If baking as bars, don’t allow dough to form into a ball. Chill mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

  • Press dough into baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and edges are slightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Makes 12 - 16 servings.

  • Or for cookies, add enough flour so that dough forms into a ball. Chill for 30 minutes. Then roll dough out, between two sheets of parchment paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake 8 – 10 minutes. Cool completely. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread batter
Whisking together ingredients for Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread.
Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread ready to bake
Ready to bake.

Enjoying Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

The whole house smells wonderful as gingerbread bakes! And the flavor is amazing. You can add icing to the bars or cookies or cut out shapes and assemble a house with icing and a variety of candies.

My favorite way to savor the deliciousness of fresh gingerbread is with a cup of hot peppermint tea. Truly, this is bliss.

Enjoy vegan and gluten free gingerbread during the holidays…and beyond. And if you make a gingerbread house, send me a photo. I’d love to see your creation.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread Baked
Fresh gingerbread, warm from the oven.

Check out these fun gingerbread house kits:

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Find this post on the following:

Inspire Me Monday Link Party

 

Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

After embracing a plant based lifestyle, I heard a lot about alkaline foods vs acidic foods. I understood enough to know that one is better for health than the other. But why? My curiosity led me to investigate.

Do you wonder which foods contribute to creating an alkaline body…and which create acidity? Or perhaps you wonder…what difference does it make anyway?

Check out alkaline foods vs acidic foods and discover why they DO matter to health.

Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods title meme

Alkaline Foods

Alkaline and acidic refer to the pH level in the body. All systems, tissues and fluids range from 0 to 14 on the scale. A lower pH level is more acidic and a higher one is more alkaline. A slightly alkaline pH of 7.35 – 7.45 for the body is considered ideal for health.

Our kidneys help to regulate pH by maintaining electrolyte levels and either excreting or absorbing acidic and alkaline ions through urine. However, a diet high in acidic foods can have a negative impact on health while one higher in alkaline foods provides benefits.

And by benefits, I mean that eating enough alkaline foods helps to promote an optimal environment within the body for health. The kidneys work well. Weight is easier to maintain. An alkaline body lowers the risks for heart disease, strengthens bones, balances hormones and improves brain functions such as memory and cognitive abilities. There is also evidence that consuming more alkaline foods eases pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.

Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Berries
Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Berries

Foods that are Alkaline

Choose foods from this list of foods, adding them to the diet weekly. They help to neutralize the effects of acidic foods.

  • green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, parsley, arugula and mustard greens
  • cauliflower and broccoli
  • sea vegetables, such as Atlantic dulse, nori and kelp, and sea salt
  • root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets
  • fruits such as kiwi, watermelon, berries, nectarines, apricots and apples
  • nuts such as almonds, cashews and chestnuts
  • onion, garlic and ginger
  • beans and legumes
  • citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and oranges

Citrus fruits may come as a surprise, however they are actually one of the best alkaline foods. Citric acid has an alkalizing effect on the body, providing relief from acidity and heartburn.

Alkalizing lemons
Alkalizing lemons
Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Processed Meats
Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Processed lunch meats

Acidic Foods

A diet that is high in acidic foods creates an environment in the body that contributes to disease and feeds pathogens. Acid forming foods typically include animal proteins, wheat products and alcohol.

Too many acidic foods throw the body out of balance. The results are lower bone density, acid reflux and heartburn, kidney stones and disease, chronic pain in muscles and joints, headaches, back pain, muscle spasms and hormonal imbalance. An acidic body is at higher risk of heart disease and brain impairment.

Acidic coffee
Acidic coffee

Foods that are Acidic

The typical American diet is highly acidic. Limit these foods, to reduce acidity and improve health.

  • milk and dairy products such as cheese
  • meat
  • eggs
  • alcohol
  • caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda
  • artificial sweeteners
  • wheat products including breads and pastas
  • lunch meat
  • highly processed foods such as cereals, frozen dinners and store bought snacks
Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Greens
One of the best ways to get your greens…in a smoothie.

Tips to Help

One way to support a healthy alkaline body is to switch to a plant based diet. However, if you are not ready to do that, these tips can help.

  • substitute beans or legumes for meat two or more times a week
  • try eating only fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch
  • combine fruits and greens into a nutrient packed…and alkaline…smoothie
  • eat fruit instead of highly processed store bought snacks
  • cook more at home, to avoid processed foods
  • reduce coffee and soda intake by switching to water or unsweetened herbal teas
  • try chicory tea in the morning instead of coffee
  • sweeten herbal teas with organic honey or maple syrup instead of artificial sweeteners
  • focus on whole foods rather than processed foods
  • use wild caught salmon in place of farmed fish

I can’t personally recommend bottled alkaline water. For one thing, I’m eliminating plastic use from my life. And I prefer eating foods that naturally balance the body, over drinking alkaline water. Will it hurt? No, not if you occasionally drink alkaline water. Again, grab a piece of fruit instead or enjoy a fresh chopped salad. Gain the health benefits that those foods provide, beyond contributing to an alkaline body.

In the battle of alkaline foods vs acidic foods, I’d love to see you on the side that promotes health, wellness and vitality.

Alkaline Foods Vs Acidic Foods Veggies
Fresh veggies

Pick up dried chicory below, by clicking on the photo.

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.