9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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September brings us Better Breakfast Month, a time to intentionally enjoy that most crucial meal of the day. At least, we grew up hearing about the importance of breaking our long overnight fast. However, most people find it easier to head out for the day without fueling up.

In fact, only about 1/3 of people surveyed say they take the time to eat breakfast. I understand. I’ve been in that skipper category. Busy schedules, oversleeping or simply not intentionally preparing breakfast all contribute to skipping this meal.

Read on to discover why it really is vital to eat breakfast. And check out 9 healthy breakfast ideas.

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Why Breakfast Is Important

Overall, those who eat breakfast are healthier than those who skip it. They maintain a better weight and have a lower BMI (body mass index).

Starting the day with breakfast reduces hunger, boosts energy and encourages better food choices throughout the day. A healthy breakfast regulates blood sugar levels and curbs overeating later.

Plus including breakfast breaks the body out of the slower metabolic rate it slips into overnight during sleep. Awake, the body needs to get back up to speed and to do that, it requires fuel.

The brain’s supply of energy, in the form of glucose, depletes overnight too. To think clearly and increase concentration, a healthy breakfast is essential.

Ready to up your breakfast game? Try any of these 9 healthy breakfast ideas.

Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls

This is my breakfast of choice, 90% of the time. After drinking a glass of celery juice (read about the benefits of this juice HERE), I make a fruit smoothie for breakfast.

For me, this is the best possible way to refuel my body. Smoothies are easily digested, introducing fructose quickly into the bloodstream for the energy the body needs.

Begin with two bananas in a blender. Add fruit of choice. I primarily use frozen fruit to create a frosty, thicker smoothie. Fill the blender container about half way with filtered water or dairy free milk and blend. For extra health benefits, include spoonfuls of spirulina, Atlantic sea dulse, barley grass juice powder, chaga mushroom powder, plant based protein, flax seeds or chia seeds.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas smoothie
9 healthy breakfast ideas – fruit smoothie

For fun, turn that drink into a smoothie breakfast bowl. Use less liquid to create a thicker smoothie. Pour the mixture into a bowl and then add toppings of choice. Some favorites for me: unsweetened shredded coconut, berries, nuts, chia seeds and sliced fruit.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas smoothie bowl
Turn that smoothie into a smoothie bowl.

Overnight Oats

This simple, nutritious breakfast begins the night before. Easy and versatile, you’ll love the convenience of delicious overnight oats.

Combine in a small mason jar:

  • 1/3 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup dairy free milk, such as almond or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup dairy free plain yogurt, such as coconut milk yogurt
  • fresh fruit of choice…berries make an excellent addition
  • add 1 tbsp chia or flax seed, if desired
  • add 1/4 tsp cinnamon if desired

Cover jar and place in the refrigerator the night before. Open and eat right from the jar the next morning.

Search on Pinterest or Google under “overnight oats” to find a variety of tasty recipes.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas overnight oats
9 healthy breakfast ideas – overnight oats

Chia Pudding

Considered a superfood, these little seeds deliver big health benefits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and especially beneficial for chronic inflammation, heart disease, brain function, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Chia seeds also combat diabetes by helping to stabilize and control blood sugar levels.

Chia pudding is so simple to make. Combine 1 cup dairy free milk, such as almond milk, with 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a mason jar or container with a lid. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add berries, nuts or sliced fruit and enjoy.

Like overnight oats, searching for chia pudding on Pinterest or Google yields tons of recipes to try.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas chia pudding
9 healthy breakfast ideas – chia pudding

Gluten Free Pancakes

For an occasional Sunday brunch, I enjoy a plate of gluten free pancakes. I’ve tried multiple made-from-scratch recipes. Honestly, I’ve found that the easiest way to make a stack of hotcakes involves a mix.

I love Birch Benders Organic Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Simply add water and make pancakes…two or three or a dozen. Topped with fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or sliced bananas, and a drizzle of organic maple syrup, breakfast feels like a real treat.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas gluten free pancakes
9 healthy breakfast ideas – gluten free pancakes

Fruit Bowl

Another simple…and gorgeous…breakfast option is the fruit bowl. I use whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. A favorite for me combines fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pitted bing cherries. Any combination of fruit works. Try melons with blackberries, mix together bananas, mangoes and pineapple or pair grapes with papaya. Drizzle organic, locally produced honey over the fruit to sweeten if desired or enjoy the mix of natural flavors.

For convenience, cut up fruit the night before and chill in the fridge.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas fruit bowl
Try any combination of fruits for an easy and colorful breakfast bowl.

Avocado Toast

This popular meal makes a filling and satisfying breakfast.

I toast gluten free bread and top with sliced avocado. The fun doesn’t stop there. Spread on vegan mayo. Add sliced veggies such as radishes or tomatoes. Top with arugula, spinach or sesame seeds. I love a good sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper on my avocado toast.

This breakfast makes a simple evening meal as well.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas avocado toast
9 healthy breakfast ideas – avocado toast

Apple Porridge & Cooked Apples

Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, introduced me to raw apple porridge in Thyroid Healing. See the easy recipe HERE. Filled with dates, raisins and cinnamon this breakfast bowl recipe is delicious.

Inspired, I created a recipe of my own, using my instant pot.

Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the instant pot. On the steaming tray, add two chopped apples, skin on, and a handful of raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon, lock on lid and steam for one minute. Spoon into bowls and add walnuts or unsweetened shredded coconut. This wonderfully fragrant meal is perfect for chilly winter mornings.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas apples
Cooked apples make a wonderfully healthy breakfast.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

I typically considered vegan muffins and banana bread a treat, best enjoyed with a cup of afternoon tea. And I prefer to stick to nutrient rich foods to break my fast most of the time. However, for those who love breads for breakfast, vegan muffins and quick breads such as banana, pumpkin and date offer ideal healthy alternatives.

Try these gluten and oil free blueberry mini muffins. They also make great afternoon snacks that complement a cup of hot herbal tea.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas muffins
Vegan muffins make a great healthy alternative to traditional muffins.

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

This beautiful loaf is free from gluten, refined sugar, eggs and diary products.

I learned in Anthony’s Liver Rescue book that the fructose in bananas is the liver’s favorite source of food. It provides quick fuel to the liver and wakes up sleepy cells. Bananas soothe the lining of the intestines and also calm the nerves attached to the intestinal tract. This fruit is one of the most antibacterial, anti-yeast, antifungal foods available. It’s a great fruit to combine with other nutrient-rich foods…such as blueberries!

Find the recipe for this amazing bread HERE.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas banana blueberry bread
9 healthy breakfast ideas – banana blueberry bread

Don’t Skip Breakfast

I hope these simple ideas for healthy breakfasts encourage you to NOT skip out on the most important meal of the day. Fuel your body, wake it up and enjoy knowing that you’ve given yourself the best possible start to the day.

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Easy Guacamole

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Today is National Guacamole Day! This delicious green dip, featuring avocados, comes together easily and quickly with a few ingredients. Beyond using as a dip for chips, guacamole pairs well with cut up or cooked veggies and makes an excellent topping on salads.

Check out this simple, versatile recipe!

Easy Guacamole title meme

Start With Fresh Avocados

Amazing guacamole starts with fresh avocados. This fruit, often referred to as the mother fruit, possesses a textured inedible skin and a smooth and creamy yellow-green flesh.

Avocados, with their healthy fats, offer wonderful health benefits. They are easy to digest, making them helpful for soothing and healing the digestive tract. Plus their anti-inflammatory properties behave like aspirin, without thinning out the blood. This reduces narrowing and swelling in the linings of the stomach and intestines.

Because of their healthy omega-6 fatty acids, avocados help to heal the brain and central nervous system, alleviating dementia and Alzheimer’s. They also reduce the effects of aging on the skin.

Avocados are high in fiber, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and contain more potassium than bananas. Combined with other plants, this amazing fruit increases the nutrient value and absorption of those foods.

Easy Guacamole avocados
Start with fresh avocados for easy guacamole.

Easy Guacamole

For this easy guacamole recipe you need:

  • 2 ripe avocados, cut in two, seed and skin removed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Mash avocados with a fork or potato masher. Add remaining ingredients, stir gently to combine and serve with gluten free crackers, non GMO corn chips or veggies. Double recipe if needed, for a larger gathering.

Add sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired, or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you enjoy a spicier dip. Or omit the cilantro. To some, cilantro tastes bitter or soapy. If you like it, add it in for the powerful health benefits.

Include a dollop of guacamole in a cooked veggie bowl or on top of a salad. Or for a fun treat, spread guacamole on gluten free toasted bread for a twist on avocado toast.

Store left over guacamole in the refrigerator, with a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap pressed down snugly against the dip. Exposure to air turns guacamole brown.

Easy Guacamole zuchinni
Easy guacamole served with oven fried zucchini.

Extremely Easy Guacamole

And, here is my super easy guacamole recipe. Sometimes, I don’t have a red onion on hand. Or I don’t have time to chop everything up.

For the simplest guacamole ever, mash up one avocado, add a tablespoon of fresh or store bought salsa and stir to combine. That’s it. Add more or less salsa, as desired. Sometimes I add a dash of garlic powder as well.

This is a quick, healthy snack or small meal, served with gluten free crackers or non GMO corn tortilla chips or an assortment of cut up veggies.

Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

National Days, Weeks and Months

I enjoy celebrating unique holidays through out the year. Every day offers multiple holidays or national days to participate in. Plus, there are national weeks and months. Many of these unusual or playful holidays provide fun opportunities to try new things.

Would you like to celebrate these quirky holidays too?

Check out National Day Calendar for lists of holidays associated with each month, week and day.

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Tips for a Healthy Fall

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As summer transitions into fall, many celebrate the change. Cooler temperatures, cozy hoodies, sturdy boots, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice and crackling fires herald the arrival of the holiday season.

I love fall. However, in the past, fall didn’t always love me. Along with all the joys of the season came seasonal allergies, fatigue, colds, viruses and flu bugs.

Most of us feel powerless against seasonal changes and the ailments that often accompany them. However, I’ve discovered my health is not captive to the whims of nature. Your health isn’t either.

Check out these tips for a healthy fall…and a more enjoyable season.

Tips for a Healthy Fall title meme

Tips for a Healthy Fall

These ten tips make life a bit easier during fall. They don’t rely on equipment or unusual foods. Nor do they require a lot of time.

Vitamin D Every Day

I can’t stress enough the importance of this vitamin. Ten minutes of sunlight or two 1000 mg capsules a day protects the body against a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, protects against cancer, supports lung, heart, brain and nervous system health, improves mood AND boosts the immune system.

Boost Your Immune System

If there’s one health tip I’ve repeated over and over this year, during the pandemic, it’s this one: build up your immune system. It is the first line of defense against invading viruses, bacteria and allergens. A weak immune system in a body already struggling against ailments can’t handle one more invader.

Strengthen your immune system by drinking lots of water, getting enough vitamin D, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the face and eyes. Eat highly nutritious foods.

And along with vitamin D, add vitamin C, zinc, L-lysine, olive leaf and echinacea to your diet. Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria, which is vital to a strong immune system.

Tips for a Healthy Fall boost immunity
Tips for a healthy fall – drink plenty of water.

Moisturize Skin

Cooler temperatures take a toll on the skin, drying it out and causing flakiness, cracking or itchiness.

Drink water and herbal teas, add high water content foods such as cucumber and celery to your diet along with healing herbs like calendula, lavender and rose. Check out a full list of helpful foods and herbs for the skin HERE.

Go to Bed Earlier

During the fall months, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning we turn our clocks back one hour. It gets dark earlier in the day and the nights seem long. The change can disrupt our sleep schedules creating fatigue and moodiness.

Take advantage of the longer nights. Get to bed earlier. Establish a night time routine that prepares the body for sleep.

Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. Take a warm shower or bath. Listen to calming music. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Fall asleep counting the blessings from the day.

Tips for a Healthy Fall turn back the clock
Tips for a healthy fall – go to bed earlier.

Prepare for Seasonal Allergies

As one who suffered for many years with fall allergies, I can attest to the power of increasing health to ward them off. One in five people suffer from seasonal allergies. In the fall, ragweed is the primary culprit.

Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.

Lessening and ultimately avoiding fall allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly, handling allergens without creating symptoms in the body.

Avoid eggs, gluten, canola oil, GMO soy and corn, dairy products and MSG. These foods create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system.

Include wild blueberries, lemons, limes, celery, garlic, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, onions, oranges, cranberries and raw, local honey (from conscientious bee keepers).

And add these supplemental foods: turmeric, vitamin C, nettle and elderberry syrup.

Enjoy Seasonal Foods

Take advantage of the foods of the season. Enjoy more apples, pears, beets, broccoli, cabbage, squash, root veggies, dark leafy greens, cranberries, persimmons and that seasonal favorite, pumpkin.

These plentiful foods perfectly protect the body against diabetes, improve heart health and lower blood pressure levels. Pumpkins offer vitamins C and A and their seeds help lower cholesterol.

Tips for a Healthy Fall pumpkins
Tips for a healthy fall – seasonal foods offer benefits.

Talk to Your Doctor about a Flu Shot

A flu vaccination can keep you healthier by preventing illness due to flu. The shot reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for children, working adults and older adults. It’s especially important for those with chronic health conditions.

And while a flu shot will not prevent COVID19, getting one may prevent overwhelming healthcare systems that are already dealing with the virus. Additionally, a flu vaccine saves healthcare resources for the care of people with COVID.

Beat Stress During the Holiday Season

For many people, the holidays bring additional stress. And I think we can agree that 2020 brought enough of that already.

Establish stress reducing practices NOW, before the holiday season starts.

Begin the day with a morning meditation and a short time of journaling or free writing. During the day practice deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretches or gentle aerobics. End the day with thankfulness, writing, meditation or deep breathing, letting go of the stresses of the day and finding things to express gratitude for.

Tips for a Healthy Fall stress
Tips for a healthy fall – begin practicing stress relief now.

Get Outdoors

Cooler temperatures after a hot summer invite outdoor activities. And fall offers many possibilities.

Rake leaves, tidy up the garden or go for long walks in nature. Jog, ride a bicycle or engage in sports. Getting outside for fresh air and exercise boosts mood and creativity. Plus it reduces inflammation, relieves stress and anxiety and strengthens immunity.

Be Kind to Yourself

During this transition into fall, practice self kindness and self love.

Fall may bring colds, viruses and allergies. Shorter days can usher in depression. During the holidays, it’s easy to gain weight and feel increased stress and loneliness.

Be exceedingly kind to yourself during these months. Set aside at least one afternoon or evening a week to practice self care such as reading, a long soak in the tub, walks in nature, cups of hot herbal tea or writing. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Create. Play.

Taking care of the body and improving health is incomplete without caring for all aspects of ourselves, including mental and emotional health. As the saying goes, the body eavesdrops on the mind. A mind churning with negative thoughts, regrets, anxiety or despair greatly impacts the body’s well being.

Talk to yourself, care for yourself, the way you would someone you deeply love.

How Will You Care for Yourself this Fall?

Which tips can you implement, to improve your health and wellness this fall? Start with one or two suggestions, feel the difference they make, then adopt another…and another.

This is the season of thankfulness. And in spite of the many challenges this year offered, we can find much to express gratitude for. May your improving health be something to rejoice over.

Tips for a Healthy Fall self care
Tips for a Healthy Fall – be kind to yourself.

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Improve Eye Health Naturally

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August is National Eye Exam Month. It serves as an excellent reminder to get our eyes checked and also to care for them throughout the year.

I have a long history of eye issues, from nearsightedness and astigmatism to ocular migraines and retinal bleeds. Gratefully, my eye health continues to improve with a plant based lifestyle.

You can improve eye health naturally too, with these easy to implement tips.

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Ways to Improve Eye Health Naturally

Regular eye exams are an important way to monitor eye health and note any changes. And approximately 75% of adults need vision correction in the form of contact lenses or glasses.

Your ophthalmologist needs to know your family’s eye health history as well. Certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and optic atrophy, are hereditary.

Check out these other ways of improving eye health.

Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet

Add plenty of nutrient rich, colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods provide vitamins A, C and E and contain antioxidants that help prevent macular degeneration, a condition in which central vision deteriorates. The mineral zinc is important too.

Add these foods to meals throughout the week:

  • carrots
  • red bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • strawberries and other berries
  • sweet potatoes
  • citrus fruits

Flax seeds are an important addition, especially to a plant based diet. They provide omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve eye health.

Leafy green vegetables, broccoli and zucchini supply lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important to retinal health. These are available as supplements as well.

Improve Eye Health Naturally carrots
Improve eye health naturally with nutrient rich foods such as carrots.

Protect Eyes with Protective Wear

Whether you are working with tools, performing science experiments, mowing the yard or playing sports, protect eyes with appropriate eyewear.

Choose protective, shatterproof goggles to keep foreign objects, chemicals or sharp objects from entering the eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Shades do more than make us look cool, they block up to 99% of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight. Sunglasses protect the eyes from damage that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, a condition in which tissue grows over the whites of the eyes.

Wearing a wide brimmed hat also shields the eyes from too much sun.

Improve Eye Health Naturally sunglasses
Improve eye health naturally with sunglasses.

Keep Hands Clean

This year our awareness increased greatly concerning the importance of clean hands. Because we frequently touch our faces and rub our eyes, clean hands prevent introducing germs, viruses and infections into the eyes.

Always wash hands before touching the eyes or handling contact lenses. Germs on contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections in the eyes. Change lens solution daily. And never share lenses.

Toss out old bottles of eye drops as well.

Don’t Smoke

We know smoking harms our health, and that includes eye health as well. Smokers greatly increase their risks for developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also creates inflammation throughout the blood vessels within the eyes.

However, just like the lungs, the eyes begin to heal almost immediately, once smoking ceases. For better eye health and health in general, stop smoking.

Improve Eye Health Naturally no smoking
Stop smoking to improve eye health naturally.

Stay Fit

Maintaining a healthy weight not only improves overall health, it helps the eyes. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in overweight people, can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes.

Consuming too much sugar can create diabetic retinopathy, which causes the small arteries in the retina to leak blood into the eye, impairing vision.

Take Frequent Screen Time Breaks

Staring at a phone or computer screen for long periods of time creates eye strain and blurred vision. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule.

For every 20 minutes of screen time, stop and look at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. (I’ve practiced this multiple times while typing this post!)

Improve Eye Health Naturally screen time
Take frequent breaks from screen time, to improve eye health naturally.

Manage Inflammation

Diseases other than diabetes affect eye health as well. High blood pressure and autoimmune disorders, which are linked to chronic inflammation, create problems throughout the body, including the eyes.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and limit gluten and dairy products. They aggravate and increase inflammation.

And manage stress, as it triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, gardening, walking or deep breathing to lower stress. Drink herbal tea as part of your stress busting practice as well.

Pay Attention to Changes

And finally, pay attention to any changes in eye health and vision.

Experiencing frequent headaches or blurry vision? Feeling pain behind one eye or noticing an increase in floaters? These are signals that you need to see an eye doctor.

Years ago, I began experiencing flashing lights followed by a loss of vision for about 30 minutes. The first time it happened, I ended up in the ER with a suspected stroke. Many tests and MRIs ruled out blood clots and tumors. Finally an eye specialist determined the cause….ocular migraines.

I saw the same specialist when blood vessels in my retinas ruptured, in each eye on two different occasions.

Know what is normal for your eyes and vision and see a doctor immediately if something changes.

Improve Eye Health Naturally pain
Pay attention to any changes in eye health, such as blurred vision or pain.

Improved Eye Health

Switching to a plant based lifestyle improved my eye health and vision drastically.

I still wear contact lenses, however I no longer have astigmatism. And at age 62, I do not require bifocals, much to my eye doctor’s surprise. I wore reading glasses for a very short time, thinking I “needed” them, until I realized they gave me headaches. A year ago I stopped wearing them and haven’t put them on since.

The blood vessels in my retinas have not ruptured again and in the last four years I’ve only experienced two ocular migraines. Before going plant based, I had them multiple times a year.

Iridology Reading

And amazingly, a couple of years ago I received an iridology reading at a local health fair. In case you are unfamiliar with that, an iridologist utilizes lights, magnifying glasses, mirrors and cameras to examine the iris. He or she looks for irregularities, changes and pigment patterns to determine the health of the individual.

The iridologist studied my right eye and then laughed in amazement. He said my iris showed him that I recently changed my diet and that my body benefited greatly. I verified that information. He showed me, in a magnifying mirror, evidence that sciatic nerves healed and inflammation cleared up and healing occurred in multiple ways. With a grin, he said I possessed the clearest, healthiest eyes he’d seen all day and commended me for my health changes. His encouragement made me smile.

You can improve eye health naturally, too. Include the above practices in your life and see, literally, the difference they make.

Improve Eye Health Naturally my eyes
I improved my eye health. You can too.

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Healthy Potato Recipes

 

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Today is National Potato Day and what better way to celebrate than with a collection of my favorite healthy potato recipes!

A couple of days ago, my sister asked me to name the vegetable I like the best. Without a doubt, the simple, earthy potato tops my list. I’m grateful for potatoes, actually. They are foundational to my plant based lifestyle.

Potatoes often get a bad rap, blamed for all kinds of health disorders from inflammation to diabetes to cancer, and labeled as a low nutritional food.

Not true!

The entire potato is edible, with the skin high in nutrients. Because they develop underground, potatoes draw trace minerals from the earth. They provide potassium, B6 and amino acids…in particular Lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine fights against cancers, viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles, liver disease and inflammation.

Potatoes strengthen the kidneys and liver, soothe over excited nerves and help the digestive system heal from Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. This antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial vegetable relieves stress, supports the brain and helps us feel centered and grounded.

Healthy Potato Recipes title meme

National Potato Day

Celebrated annually on August 19, National Potato Day recognizes the importance of this versatile and tasty vegetable. Mashed, baked, fried or steamed, potatoes truly are a mainstay of the American diet.

The Incas in Peru first cultivated this vegetable, as early as 8000 BC. Spanish conquistadors carried potatoes from Peru to Europe in 1536. By the early 1800s French fries appeared in the US and NASA and the University of Wisconsin partnered to make potatoes the first vegetable grown in space in 1995.

Currently, more than 4000 varieties of potatoes exist. And potatoes grow in all 50 states, making it easy to enjoy a potato recipe on this special day.

In honor of the day, below are some of my favorite healthy potato recipes. Click on the links for the full recipes.

Healthy Potato Recipes baked potato
Healthy potato recipes – baked

Simple Potatoes

Most often I enjoy a simple baked potato, without dairy products such as butter or sour cream. I use plant based butter if desired. Combined with simple grains such as brown rice, legumes or an assortment of fresh or cooked veggies, a potato bowl is nutritional and satisfying.

It’s also easy to cube potatoes, leaving the skin on, and steam them for four minutes in the instant pot. I season with sprinkles of garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Another easy favorite is oven roasted potatoes.

Crispy on the outside and yet tender inside, these potatoes make a great side dish or meatless main meal. Eat alone or create a veggie bowl featuring the oven roasted potatoes and other cooked veggies, a salad or raw veggies such as sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Healthy Potato Recipes roasted
Healthy potato recipes – roasted

Deviled Potatoes

These tasty bites offer a great alternative to deviled eggs.

This fun recipe makes a great snack or a satisfying meal! I love the little kick of added mustard. And no silverware needed. Pick these deviled potatoes up with your fingers and eat them!

Healthy Potato Recipes deviled
Healthy potato recipes – deviled

Dairy Free Potato Soup

I grew up loving my mother’s homemade potato soup. Fortunately, it’s easy to create a dairy free version to enjoy today.

This savory soup, adapted from my mom’s recipe and a vegan one I found, is full of other hearty vegetables. The broth gains richness from an easy to make cashew sauce.

Healthy Potato Recipes soup
Healthy potato recipes – soup

Nachos Style Potatoes

This amazing recipe, from Anthony William, substitutes baked potato “chips” for corn chips. It features a wonderful garlic aioli! Nachos style potatoes make the perfect lunch or weekend dinner.

Healthy Potato Recipes nachos
Healthy potato recipes – nachos

Aloo Matar

This fragrant, delicious meal is a Punjabi dish from India. It features potatoes and peas in a spiced tomato base. I absolutely LOVE this quick and easy recipe.

I even adapted it to create a flavorful aloo matar soup.

Healthy Potato Recipes aloo matar
Healthy Potato Recipes – aloo matar

Potato and Herb Salad

This fresh take on traditional potato salad comes from Anthony William as well. It features herbs such as chives, parsley, dill and cilantro. It’s the perfect meal for the end of summer.

Healthy Potato Recipes salad
Healthy potato recipes – salad

Shepherd’s Pie

This incredible one dish meal features lentils and vegetables in rich broth, topped with dairy free mashed potatoes. It’s just right for a chilly fall evening.

Healthy Potato Recipes shepherds pie
Healthy potato recipes – shepherd’s pie

Lentils, Potatoes and Brown Rice

This instant pot recipe combines the goodness of lentils and brown rice with cubed potatoes. I love this homey meal, seasoned with thyme, rosemary and garlic.

Healthy Potato Recipes lentils and potatoes
Healthy potato recipes – lentils, potatoes and brown rice

Madras Curried Lentils and Potatoes

And finally, this is one of my all time favorite meals.

This flavorful but not too spicy curry is the perfect make ahead meal that simmers in the slow cooker all day. The tantalizing aroma makes me smile in anticipation!

Healthy Potato Recipes madras curry
Healthy potato recipes – madras curry

Healthy Potato Recipes for Every Day

For National Potato Day…or every day…these potato recipes are sure to please.

Watch this blog for new potato recipes. I’m always looking for fresh healthy ways to prepare my favorite veggie.

What about you? Do you have a potato recipe you prepare again and again?

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Vegan Ramen Noodles

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

Most of us have prepared ramen noodles from a package. A staple food of college kids and those new to adulting, ramen noodles make a quick and inexpensive meal. My eleven year old granddaughter loves them!

And I’ve certainly eaten my share of ramen noodles. The thing is, those packaged chicken, beef or shrimp flavored noodles pack a lot of sodium into a serving, along with other not so wholesome ingredients such as MSG and artificial flavors.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, a healthier version of ramen noodles ranked high on my list of recipes to try. These easy vegan ramen noodles, adapted slightly from a recipe from The Vegan 8 are amazing!

Vegan Ramen Noodles title meme

What Do You Need to Make Vegan Ramen Noodles?

Let’s start with the basics. What ingredients do you need to make these delicious noodles?

This easy recipe requires only eight ingredients plus salt and pepper. It’s important to include miso, a soy bean based product. I found organic, non GMO mellow white miso in the refrigerator section at Natural Grocer’s.

Vegan Ramen Noodles miso and noodles
Vegan Ramen Noodles – miso and pad Thai noodles

Other essentials include minced ginger and garlic, dried parsley, vegetable broth, Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce and noodles. I could not find gluten free ramen noodles so I substituted brown rice pad Thai noodles and they worked well. I’m ordering gluten free ramen noodles HERE.

Vegan Ramen Noodles

These fast and easy vegan ramen noodles are so much healthier than the packaged variety.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, separated
  • 9 ounces gluten free ramen or pad Thai noodles
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth to a large pot. Saute minced ginger and garlic in broth over medium heat. Bring just to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine another 1/2 cup vegetable broth with the miso. Whisk until smooth. Make sure miso is completely dissolved.
  • Add remaining vegetable broth to soup pot along with miso/broth, parsley, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, 1/2 cup of the sliced green onions, salt and black pepper. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add ramen noodles and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently or add pad Thai brown rice noodles and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft.
  • Remove from heat and let noodles sit for a couple of minutes. Serve up ramen noodles in a bowl, topped with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Keyword Ramen Noodles, Vegan

 

Vegan Ramen Noodles
Vegan Ramen Noodles – sauting ginger and garlic
Vegan Ramen Noodles miso
Use mellow white miso in Vegan Ramen Noodles.
Vegan Ramen Noodles miso paste
Whisk miso and vegetable broth until smooth.

Serving Up Vegan Ramen Noodles

This recipe came together so quickly! I loved the aroma wafting through the kitchen as the noodles simmered.

Here are my tips:

  • I used minced ginger and minced garlic from a jar. It’s easier than mincing them myself however mince your own if desired.
  • Make your own yummy vegetable broth. It’s a great way to use leftover vegetable scraps. Or use low sodium organic veggie broth from the store.
  • I buy dried parsley in a small bag at Natural Grocer’s. You can find it in the spice section as well.
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos is available at stores like Natural Grocer’s or in most regular supermarkets.
  • To stay gluten free, I used brown rice pad Thai noodles. Any gluten free noodle could be used.

And….how did these freshly prepared vegan ramen noodles taste?

They were SO GOOD! Less sodium than packaged is a plus, especially when combined with such a delicious flavor. The ginger gives the noodles a bit of heat. Reduce amount to one tablespoon if you desire less zing. I found the spice level perfect.

I enjoyed these noodles so much that I’ll make them again soon…like this week.

Let me know if you make these yummy noodles and what you think!

Vegan Ramen Noodles ready to eat
Ready to eat these Vegan Ramen Noodles…with chopsticks of course!

Vegan Ramen Noodles Ingredients 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.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

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

Did you know that the body’s largest organ is the skin? And what an important organ it is. Skin does more than keep our insides from falling out.

Our skin is a waterproof, insulating defense against temperature extremes, harmful chemicals, dangerous sunlight and infection. Exposure to all of those things ages the skin as we get older, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and rough patches.

I’m not trying to hide my age. Rather, I rejoice in my journey of 62 years. However, I’ve learned to care for my skin as part of my overall health practice. Embracing a plant based lifestyle four years ago made me realize that true skin care begins within with adequate hydration and skin nourishing foods.

People ask me what products I use, to care for my skin. I’m happy to share.

Here is my daily routine for healthy skin, with the actual products that I use and links to those products.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin title meme

Healthy Skin Begins Within

I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin with the most important practice for healthy skin. What we put into our bodies shows up on our skin. I experienced a lifetime of rashes and skin irritations because of a gluten intolerance. A poor diet contributes to a host of skin disorders and conditions. For a glowing complexion, start with these tips.

Adequate Hydration

Our bodies need water to survive. And it is critical for healthy skin. Eight glasses of water is a good guide, just don’t guzzle it down. The body quickly eliminates excess water. Instead, sip on water throughout the day, allowing it to be absorbed more slowly. Fill a large water bottle, keep it nearby, and have a goal of emptying it a couple of times during the day. Hydrating the body goes a long way toward keeping the skin healthy and supple, which helps to combat dryness and aging.

Herbal teas count as water intake and the herbs deliver their own benefits to the body. To nourish the skin, try drinking these herbal teas: dandelion, burdock, calendula, comfrey, lavender and rose.

Limit coffee and alcohol. Both dehydrate the body, and the skin, contributing to aging the skin’s appearance.

Hydrating Foods

Fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as cucumber have a hydrating effect on the body and therefore the skin. Add these healing foods to your diet and experience a difference in your skin’s appearance: celery, root vegetables, avocado, almonds, red and yellow bell peppers, berries, walnuts, hemp seeds and flax seeds.

Skin Repairing Supplements

In addition to the foods and herbs listed above, I’ve seen tremendous benefits from taking these two supplements daily.

Horsetail Grass – the silica in this herb is key to the formation of collagen, a vital skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. As we age, the body naturally produces less collagen, resulting in common signs of aging such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Stiff joints are a sign that the body is producing less collagen. Horsetail grass soothes those aching, inflamed joints as well.

Organic Plant Collagen Builder – this vegan collagen supplement supports healthy hair, skin and nails. Most collagen supplements contain beef. I’m thrilled with this plant based brand from MyKind Organics.

An additional benefits from taking these two supplements…my eyelashes are so healthy and full.

Pick up these supplements HERE and HERE.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin supplements
My daily routine for healthy skin – supplements

My Morning Routine

Because of my evening routine the night before, my morning one is simple.

Filorga Micellar Solution

First, I cleanse and tone my face with Filorga Micellar Solution.

This gentle, fragrance free solution removes makeup and soil without over drying the skin. It’s enriched with moisturizers and 50 anti-aging ingredients that actually help to build up collagen. Apply the solution to a cotton ball and smooth over face, eyelids and throat. No need to rinse. Just let it dry.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

Then I apply Eye Treatment from Smartr Skin over my entire face. I LOVE the products from Smartr Skin. See why in my review. This lightweight, de-ionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the skin.  I use it exclusively in the morning, over my entire face. Eye Treatment Lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Visit the Smartr Skin website and use my code, CINDYM20OFF to save 20% off of your order!

Coppertone Sunscreen

And finally, before applying makeup, I use a SPF 50 sunscreen on my face if I’m going to be outside at all. This Coppertone for Sensitive Skin is currently perfect for me. When I run out of this tube, I’ll explore other sunscreen options.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin morning
My daily routine for healthy skin – morning products

My Makeup

I discovered BOOM Makeup by Cindy Jacob, for pro-age women over 50, four years ago. I love their natural, simplified products. Rather than covering the face, BOOM products add a healthy glow to the skin with lightweight cream moisturizer, color and highlighter.

The BOOM Trio includes Glo, a colorless, protective, nourishing moisturizer in stick form. I primarily use this product when I travel. The trio of sticks make packing my makeup so easy.

BOOMSTICK Color, in sheer berry, that is perfect for all skin tones. This is a multipurpose product that goes on the cheeks, forehead, lips, brows, sides of neck…anywhere you want a touch of color. Cindy’s intention is to mimic the beautiful flush a woman gets when she’s joyful…or aroused…or joyfully aroused!

BOOMSTICK Glimmer goes on last. This pearlescent glimmer is applied on brows, upper cheekbones, bottom lip, shoulders, collarbones…anywhere you want a bit of shine and highlight.

It takes me about five minutes to apply this ultra-nourishing makeup. BOOM is only available on their website. They frequently run specials and carry additional high quality products. Plus they are SO encouraging to women.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin BOOM
My daily routine for healthy skin – BOOM Trio

My Evening Routine

No matter how late it is, or how tired I am, I faithfully follow this night time routine before bed.

Bioderma Foaming Gel Cleanser

I wash my face with a gentle foaming micellar gel cleanser, this one from Bioderma. This highly moisturizing, fragrance free cleanser is designed for sensitive skin. It leaves mine looking and feeling fresh and so soft.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel

Next I apply a traditional favorite, Witch Hazel from Dickinson’s. Read about why witch hazel is a great choice for the skin. I love the way it tightens my pores.

Smartr Skin Vitamin C Serum

After the witch hazel dries, I apply this amazing Vitamin C Serum, from Smartr Skin.

This luxurious enriched serum smooths easily onto the skin of the face, neck and chest. Just a few drops is all that it takes. It contains skin supporting ingredients such as aloe, vitamins C and E, MSM, botanical hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, jojoba oil and horsetail, dandelion and geranium extracts.

The hyaluronic acid helps create new collagen, restoring the elasticity and structure of skin damaged over the years by the sun and harsh elements in the environment. I’ve seen noticeable improvements in my skin’s texture since using Smartr Skin’s Vitamin C Serum.

Smartr Skin Jade Roller & Gua Sha Facial Tool

This is my newest addition to my evening routine. The jade roller helps to reduce under eye puffiness and promotes lymphatic fluid drainage. The cool stone rollers refresh and restore the skin without the use of chemicals.

And the gua sha tool gently stretches and tones the skin, increases blood flow and relaxes tense muscles in the face, neck and shoulders. Watch a tutorial video at the end of the post, for instructions on using both of these amazing tools.

I use the tools after I apply the vitamin C serum. The jade roller and gua sha help the serum to move deeply into my skin. This additional practice only takes a few minutes to complete.

Sometimes, as I’m watching Netflix, I use my DIY coconut oil serum with the jade roller and gua sha tool for an extended time. My face literally glows and feels so tingly!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin jade
My daily routine for healthy skin – jade roller and gua sha facial tool

 

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

This lotion feels so luxurious and my skin drinks it up.

When you visit Smartr Skin, be sure to use my discount code CINDYM20OFF. Use this link to get the trio of the Eye Treatment, Vitamin C Serum and Moisturizer at a special price. And you can still use the discount code to save even more!

DIY Coconut Oil Serum

Finally, I apply my own concoction, this DIY serum, to my lips. I rub this soothing serum onto my upper chest and arms as well. Although I now use the products above on my face, this simple to make serum is amazing and very nourishing to the skin.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin evening
My daily routine for healthy skin – evening products

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

There it is, my daily routine for vibrant, healthy skin. This is exactly what I do, step by step, and the precise products that I currently use. These products last for two months to nine months and of course the jade roller and gua sha tool should last indefinitely.

Am I worth this time and effort?

Yes. My morning and evening routines make me feel good and I love seeing the way my skin responds to this higher level of pampering. Plus these little routines send messages to my body that it’s either time to wake up and enter joyously into the day. Or, it’s time to enter into a calm, relaxed state and prepare for sleep.

Do you have a daily routine for healthy skin? If not, I hope this information is helpful. And please, if you have any questions about these routines or any of the products, ask in the comments below!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin glow
Glowing, healthy skin. I am worth it.

 

 

Journey With Healthy Me participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Smartr Skin Affiliate Program. These affiliate programs provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the companies’ websites, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Laughter is Medicine

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

Laughter is the outward physical expression of humor, joy and delight. And, it’s more than that. There is a strong correlation between laughter and happiness and health.

In the 1300s Henri de Mondeville, professor of surgery, encouraged post operative therapy that consisted of laughter producing humor. And Norman Cousins, a professor and journalist, developed his own mood elevating treatment based on daily laughter. Ten minutes of laughter a day, he claimed, resulted in two hours of pain free sleep.

Laughter is medicine. Experiencing giggles, chuckles and belly laughs heals the body and promotes overall health in amazing ways.

Laughter is Medicine title meme

What Happens in the Body When You Laugh

All kinds of things make us laugh. A funny movie, a silly joke, our pet’s crazy antics or a child’s cute mispronounciation of a word gives us the giggles. Sometimes we laugh from nervousness, relief or even fear. Whatever the cause, during a bout of laughter the human body experiences changes.

A wave of electrical energy sweeps through the cerebral cortex. One side of the brain processes language or sights while the other side tries to make sense of what caused the laughter. We may reach a heightened emotional state that can produce tears. And we get a boost of happiness from the release of endorphins in the brain.

Fifteen muscles in the face contract during laughter. Just hearing someone laugh makes our facial muscles begin to contract, creating a contagious response.

Extended laughter makes the muscles relax and even weaken. The respiratory system responds by half closing off the larynx, resulting in gasps for air, a red face and sometimes that pig snorting sound! Extreme laughter can even cause fainting, as one of my sisters discovered.

Contracting muscles in the abdomen can even make you pee yourself as you laugh.

Laughter is Medicine inside joke
Laughter is Medicine – Greg and I got the giggles at a museum while trying to take a selfie

The Benefits of Laughter

Laughter truly is the best medicine, playing a major role in creating better health. (Read about six other simple health practices with big results HERE.)

Check out these amazing health boosters that laughter provides.

Strengthens the Immune System

Laughter, along with getting plenty of rest and vitamin D producing sunshine, strengthens the immune system. People who laugh often reduce stress related hormones in the body while increasing the number of T cells and natural killer cells, two things that help the body stay strong and healthy.

Gives the Body a Mini Workout

There’s a reason your abs feel sore after a good laugh. Laughter increases heart and respiration rates while causing muscles in the abdomen to contract. These mini workouts caused by laughter are similar to a short burst of aerobic exercise. Additionally, laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns up to 40 calories during those big belly laughs.

Laughter is Medicine belly laugh
Laughter is Medicine – belly laughs are actually good for the belly

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

The giggles instantly lowers the body’s stress response and releases tension held in the muscles. Plus it plays a significant role in decreasing anxiety due to the release of the feel good hormones, endorphins. Laughter also helps you deal with challenging circumstances such as illnesses, embarrassing situations and life struggles.

Clears the Mind and Improves Focus

We are all familiar with brain fog. Laughter changes the chemistry in the brain, helping you think more clearly. And laughing engages the brain in a way that instantly sharpens focus, boosting productivity. Experiencing a mid afternoon slump? Watch a few minutes of a funny video like this one on YouTube.

Laughter is Medicine funny movie
Laughter is Medicine – watch a funny movie to boost productivity

Increases Blood Flow

Laughter increases blood flow…to the heart, improving cardiovascular health…and throughout the body. Stress narrows the blood vessels, reducing blood flow. Laughing expands them, increasing the flow of oxygen rich blood to vital organs and the extremities. Doctors discovered that leg ulcers healed faster when the patients laughed, due to increased blood flow that lowered inflammation.

Boosts Creativity

Laughter loosens up the mind, creating a relaxed state that makes you feel emotionally secure. That state of relaxation enables creative ideas to surface and flourish. Plus problem solving abilities increase after a good laugh.

Laughter is Medicine giggle laugh
Laughter is Medicine – creativity and problem solving increase

Better Quality of Life for Older Adults

Laughter improves the quality of life for older adults by increasing blood vessel function, relieving stress and anxiety and boosting happiness. Additionally, frequent bouts of laughter improves memory and reduces blood pressure and high cholesterol by increasing oxygen through blood circulation. Laughing increases endorphins and dopamine while reducing stress chemicals in the body. And it helps senior with bronchitis and asthma by exercising the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

Improves Relationships

Ask people what’s important to them, in their relationship with another, and many answer “a good sense of humor”. Laughter improves personal relationships, so much so that some experts believe that all other health benefits flow from the improved social support that laughter brings. Laughing together forms bonds, deepens connections, emotionally attunes people to one another and crosses language barriers. Laughter can diffuse a tense situation and lighten moods.

Laughter is Medicine birthday laugh
Laughter is Medicine – better quality of life for seniors

Bring More Laughter into Your Life

So how can you laugh more? Try these ideas.

  • smile more, signaling your brain and other people that you are ready to laugh
  • inject humor into conversations by asking if anything funny happened recently
  • tell funny stories and listen to giggle inducing tales from others
  • tell jokes and ask for one in return
  • read funny stories or crack open a joke book
  • watch humorous films and comedy series
  • laugh at yourself, often
  • watch funny videos on YouTube
  • attend a comedy club
  • watch comedians online or on tv
  • try out a laughing yoga class
  • spend time with kids…they are often hilarious
  • play with your pets and allow them to entertain you

Laughter does the heart and body good. It lightens mood, lifts the spirits and because it is contagious, it spreads easily to others, benefiting them too.

My grandchildren make me laugh. Funny movies and happy surprises do too. And sometimes I crack myself up when I’m feeling particularly witty.

What makes you laugh?

Laughter is Medicine laughing in Italy
Laughter is Medicine – my grandson Dayan and I cracking up in Italy

 

Laughter Finds on 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.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors

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

Ahhh summertime. It’s the season of playing outdoors, camping and swimming. We take road trips, hike through the woods, frolic at the beach and get away for a fun vacation.

We know being outdoors is good for us…fresh air, vitamin D producing sunshine and peaceful nature…however some of the benefits are lesser known.

Check out these 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors. And then get outside to explore and play and boost your health.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors title meme

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors

This year, with COVID19, stay at home orders and social distancing, getting outside is crucial. Not only is nature a safe environment, when maintaining distance from others and wearing a mask when necessary, it offers the gifts of health, wellness, clarity and well being.

Look at the surprising ways the outdoors heals us.

Improves Focus

Studies reveal that when we lose our ability to concentrate or focus on a task, getting outdoors for a few minutes helps us “clear our heads”. Nature allows the brain to take a break from mentally taxing activities, restoring focus when it’s time to concentrate again. Getting outdoors even improves the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Supports Aging Gracefully

While too much sun can actually age unprotected skin, a recent study found that adults over the age of 70 benefit from time outdoors. Improvements include better sleep, less aches and pains, increased mobility and the ability to perform daily activities more easily.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors Edinburgh park
I’m not over 70 however I’m all for aging gracefully, one of the 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors.

Speeds Up the Healing Process

Sickness, disease and surgery are all conditions that can increase stress in our lives. And stress slows the healing process. Researchers discovered that patients who spent time outdoors during recovery required fewer pain meds. Additionally, they had fewer complications and experienced shorter hospital stays.

Reduces Inflammation

Connected to speeding up the healing process is the fact that being outdoors helps to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is linked to a host of health issues, from autoimmune disorders to depression to cancer. Studies show that spending time in green spaces calms the body’s inflammatory response.

For the greatest benefits, spend time in green spaces such as forests, meadows, parks and gardens, anywhere there’s an abundance of trees, grass and plants.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors bridge
10 surprising benefits of being outdoors – walking in the woods to reduce inflammation

Boosts Immunity

We’ve learned just how important a strong immune system is, for fighting off viruses and infections. If you frequently catch what’s going around, spending time outdoors can help.

Trees and plants are especially beneficial for the immune system. Plants produce phytoncides that increase the production of a type of white blood cell in humans. These so called killer cells respond quickly to pathogens invading the body. Plus exposure to sunlight strengthens infection fighting T cells.

Sparks Creativity

Did you know that spending time outdoors can spark creativity? The best ideas come to us when we are relaxed and a bit unfocused. See my post on why showering creates the perfect environment for creative ideas.

Unplugging from the laptop or cell phone and taking a walk outside gives the mind a break, which allows a flow of fresh ideas to arise.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors creativity
Giving the brain a break and enjoying the beauty of nature allows creativity to flow.

Relieves Stress, Anxiety and Depression

One of the best ways to relieve stress, anxiety and depression is spending time outdoors. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is the Japanese practice of connecting with nature through the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.

So how does forest bathing improve mental health? Spending time in nature lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. We need cortisol, for optimal health, however chronic elevated levels create health issues including anxiety, depression, memory and concentration problems and sleep disorders.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Research on this topic is ongoing, however, preliminary studies suggest that spending time in nature, especially forests, stimulates the production of anti-cancer proteins.

This boost in proteins last up to seven days after walking in the woods. Additionally, researchers found that areas with greater forest coverage have lower mortality rates from a broad range of cancers. This is a promising area of exploration.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors walk in the woods
A walk in the woods can help prevent cancer, one of 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors

Boosts Energy

When we feel like we need an energy boost, we often reach for a cup of coffee or a sugary soda. Instead of loading up on caffeine trying getting outside.

One study even suggests that spending 20 minutes outside boosts the brain and energy levels as much as a cup of coffee. Another study found that when participants simply looked at photos of nature, their energy levels surged upward. Pictures of cities did not have the same effect. Skip the pretty photos though, if possible, and step out into the fresh air.

Increasing Life Satisfaction

Getting outside has a positive effect on mood. More than that though, a recent study found that men and women who spent just 20 minutes outdoors in a park increased their level of life satisfaction by 64%!

Participants didn’t even have to exercise. Simply visiting the park boosted overall feelings of well being. Sitting on a park bench, strolling through a garden, having a picnic on a green expanse of grass is the ideal way to give spirits a lift.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors - park bench
Increased satisfaction with life is one of 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors.

Go Outside

As a child, I spent most of my summer outdoors. I swam, climbed trees, rode my bike and played a multitude of games with kids in the neighborhood. We ate lunch and often dinner on our porches and didn’t go inside until our parents called for us after sunset.

Today, kids spend an average of four to seven minutes a day outside. And adults spend 87% of their time indoors.

It’s no wonder our health suffers.

These are easy ways to boost health and well being. Get outside. Visit the park, hike through the woods, swim in the lake, meditate on the beach, plant flowers in a garden. Although activity outdoors is beneficial too, the simple act of being outdoors contributes mightily to our overall health.

Do you have a green space that you enjoy? I’d love to hear about it.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors stream
10 surprising benefits of being outdoors – find a green space to enjoy

 

 

Enjoy the outdoors with 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.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day

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

July is National Blueberry Month and the 8th, National Blueberry Day. Summer provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy this seasonal fruit. Thankfully, however, frozen blueberries allow us to benefit from their goodness year around.

Wild blueberries, especially, offer amazing health benefits. Check out how they boost health and support wellness here. My dad introduced me to blueberries while I was still a toddler. He loved blueberry pie and cobbler. I’m grateful that I grew up appreciating this dark blue berry.

After embracing a plant based lifestyle, I discovered it’s not only simple to include blueberries in my diet, it is extremely desirable!

Check out these easy recipes for National Blueberry Day and enjoy summer’s bounty!

Recipes for National Blueberry Day title meme

Easy Ways to Include Blueberries

Before sharing links to recipes, consider these simple ways to add blueberries to your diet.

  • add fresh or frozen berries to smoothies and smoothie bowls
  • top pancakes or waffles with blueberries
  • use as a dessert topping, such as for vegan wacky cupcakes
  • mix fresh or frozen blueberries with other berries for a simple fruit bowl
  • my favorite, grab a handful of fresh blueberries to snack on
Recipes for National Blueberry Day pancakes
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – gluten free pancakes with organic maple syrup and fruit

Recipes for National Blueberry Day

Try any of these delicious blueberry recipes in today’s round up. They are all healthy versions of traditional favorites.

Gluten Free and Oil Free Blueberry Mini Bites

These snack sized blueberry muffins are perfect with afternoon tea or to pack along on a picnic. And they are gluten, oil, egg and refined sugar free as well, making them extra healthy.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day mini muffins
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – mini muffins

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

This wonderful plant based recipe, from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William, is sugar and gluten free, with no baking required. Light, fruity and so satisfying, this pretty pie is perfect for holidays or special occasions.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day pie
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – raw pie

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

Do you enjoy banana bread? This one ups the yums by adding wild blueberries. This beautiful loaf is free from gluten, refined sugar, eggs and diary products. However it’s full of flavor. I love a slice of this bread with a cup of herbal tea.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day bread
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – blueberry banana bread

Blueberry Scones

I love scones. They perfectly complement a cup of hot tea. The challenge is finding a vegan recipe that is also gluten free. This recipe is the best one I’ve tried yet, although I’m always on the hunt for more scone recipes.

These blueberry scones are so easy to make, and they are gluten, dairy, refined sugar, egg and oil free. And the taste? They are wonderful and satisfy my desire for a tea time treat.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day scones
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – scones

Healthy Blueberry Crisp

I’m excited to try this recipe from the blog Erin Lives Whole. This blueberry crisp is vegan, gluten free and comes together in just ten minutes. Instead of a traditional crust for the topping, Erin combines oats with almond flour, walnuts, coconut oil and maple syrup.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day crisp
Blueberry crisp – photo from Erin Lives Whole blog.

Triple Layer Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

And one more luscious dessert from Erin Lives Whole. These cheesecake bars, using vegan cream cheese, granola and a chia blueberry jam, look amazing. I am excited to try them as well.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day cheesecake
Triple Layer Blueberry Cheesecake Bars – photo from Erin Lives Whole blog.

Favorite Blueberry Dessert

I love blueberries so much that any dessert featuring these berries is a winner with me. What I love even more are these healthier versions of blueberry desserts that don’t contain unwanted sugar, fat, eggs or dairy products.

I hope you’ll enjoy these special treats. And remember that the whole month of July is for celebrating the blueberry. I’d love to see what you create with these tasty berries.

Recipes for National Blueberry Day smoothie bowl
Recipes for National Blueberry Day – smoothie bowl

 

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