B12

This important vitamin is crucial to our health and well being. Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, writes that virtually everyone is deficient in B12. He also states that without B12, we die. That’s how critical a deficiency can be.

Because B12 comes primarily from animal products, it is very important for those following a plant based lifestyle to get this in supplemental form. Look for a time released or slow release B12 tablet, as methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin.

A special probiotic film covers the leaves and skins of above ground fruits and vegetables. These elevated biotics are able to survive the digestive process and make it to the ileum, the final section of the small intestine, where vitamin B12 is created in the body.

Be selective about which produce is best consumed without washing it first. Veggies out of your own organic garden, sprouts grown on the countertop, and local organic farmers are all good sources. Produce from the grocery store is not. It typically has a waxy film and the skin has traces of pesticides. Wash it before consuming. It’s fine to lightly rinse dirt off of freshly picked garden produce. That doesn’t destroy the biotic film.

B12 is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. It repairs and strengthens both when they have been damaged by the shingles and Epstein Barr viruses.

Additional benefits include:

• boosts mood and eases depression

• maintains a healthy heart

• improves memory, skin & hair, and digestion

• raises energy levels and helps to ease adrenal fatigue

I had never taken a B12 supplement, until I switched to a plant based diet. I started taking it to help fight the shingles and Epstein Barr viruses. I immediately noticed an increase in energy. For all the reasons listed above, B12 continues to be one of my most important supplements.

Amazon carries a great selection of reasonably priced B12 supplements, as do health minded grocery stores and health food shops. Take one tablet a day. And to benefit from the probiotics thriving on the skin of unwashed fruits snd veggies, consider growing your own. I pop unwashed cherry tomatoes into my mouth while working in the garden. And I don’t wash the herbs that I pick for cooking or hot drinks. Unwashed dandelion leaves, from your own unsprayed yard, can be plucked and chewed on as well, or made into a tea.

The important thing is, get this vitamin into your system, and reap the healthy benefits.

Going Bananas

When I switched to a plant based lifestyle, bananas very quickly became foundational to my diet. My day typically begins with a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and a couple of bananas go into the blender first.

And no wonder this powerful antiviral food is an important part of my diet. According to Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, bananas are high in the amino acid trptophan, and help to ease sleep disorders, reduce anxiety and alleviate depression. They destroy fungus and remove unproductive bacteria in the intestinal tract, while enhancing B12.

Bananas are antispasmodic for hyperactive colons, relieve gastric cramps and help to reverse colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. They are also wonderful blood sugar stabilizers.

Although bananas have been blamed for being too high in sugar, in reality the sugar in the ripe fruit is completely different from processed sweeteners in desserts. The fruit sugar in bananas is bonded to crucial minerals such as manganese, selenium, potassium and copper. The rich supply of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients in bananas is the reason they are able to help fight diseases.

Not only do I add bananas to my daily smoothie, I include them in my meals in a variety of other ways. I purchase very ripe bananas at the market, slice them up and freeze them in gallon sized bags in a single layer. The frozen bananas are great to add to smoothies, if I am out of fresh fruit, and blended in a food processor or high speed blender, they transform into a cold and creamy dessert with the texture of ice cream.

I chop them up to add to fruit salads, and grab a banana to take with me when I am on the go. They are the best before and after workout food available and make perfect travel snacks. I have tried several drink recipes, with frozen or fresh bananas as the base. This afternoon, I sampled a new one!

Banana Milk

In a blender combine 1 fresh banana, 1 cup of unsweetened non dairy milk, 2 tablespoons of gluten free oats, 1 teaspoon raw organic honey and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth.

This cold, frothy drink makes a great late afternoon pick me up. I savored it. Using a frozen banana would create a milkshake like consistency.

Bananas are at the optimal stage for eating when the skin is yellow, with brown speckles. Purchase them before they are completely ripe, and consume them as they reach peak nutrition.

Anthony writes that on an emotional level, bananas strengthen the core of who we are, encouraging us to peel back our false layers and reveal our true selves. They help reverse a state of mind that is saturated with fear and help us to release unproductive behaviors.

What an incredibly beneficial fruit. Going bananas? Yes, I think I will!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

I love soup! I grew up enjoying a variety of homemade soups and stews. One of my favorites was my mother’s potato soup. A steaming bowl of creamy potato soup is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night.

This plant based version is just as perfect as the soup from my childhood, and without the milk, cream or butter, it is good for me too!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

Potatoes, like fruit, have gotten a bad rap. They have been blamed for a variety of ills including obesity and diabetes. In truth, potatoes help to reverse illnesses. High in minerals, and vitamins such as B12, and the crucial amino acid Lysine, potatoes help to fight off cancers, inflammation, liver disease, and viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles. They also strengthen the kidneys and soothe the digestive system.

Try this savory, nutrition packed soup, and bring the goodness of potatoes into your life. I adapted this recipe from my mom’s and a creamy vegan potato soup I found on the recipe app Yummly. More about this great app in a future blog post!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk, or 2 cups of non dairy milk
  • Cashew sauce (directions below)
  • Sea salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large pot. Stir-fry carrots, celery, and onion until veggies are tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and parsley and cook 1 minute longer. Add potatoes and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add coconut milk or non dairy milk and cashew sauce, stirring well. Simmer for 5 more minutes, and serve.

Cashew Sauce

Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Combine cashews and 1/3 cup of water in blender. Mix until smooth sauce forms. Add 1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper.

Dairy Free Potato Soup

This soup was so delicious. The cashews are neutral enough that you can’t taste the mildly flavored nuts at all. However, the cashew sauce adds a richness to the broth that is scrumptious. I included the minced parsley in my soup, but it can be easily left out, if desired.

I loved all the vegetables in this soup. Combined with the potatoes, they make a hearty, flavor packed meal that I will make, and enjoy, often.

Dairy Free Potato Soup

Turmeric for Wellbeing

Welcome to Sunday Supplements. This day of soulful self care is perfect for sharing weekly about the supplements that aid and support healing. From vitamins and minerals to herbs to health boosting drinks and teas, I will be sharing the best supplements to take for different situations.

I chose to begin with what I consider to be the best supplement for overall health and wellbeing…turmeric.

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. Science has caught up to what the people of India have known for a long time…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 can help prevent any type of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combatting 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.

You can see why this herb is considered one of the best supplements to include for the greatest overall benefits. It basically helps every system, every area of the body.

And, it is the supplement that I make sure I don’t run out of. I can feel a difference in my body if I skip a day or two of taking it. Joint pain and stiffness begins to return when I don’t take turmeric.

Turmeric is available in many forms. It can be purchased in its rhizome form, in health food stores or in the produce section of most grocery stores. Use one inch pieces at a time and run it through the juicer to add to other fresh juices such as orange and apple. Combine with fresh ginger and orange juice for powerful anti-inflammatory shots.

I take turmeric daily in capsule form. I have used several different companies. Make sure the capsules also contain black pepper, which helps the body to absorb the turmeric better. The bottle of Gaia Turmeric pictured above has black pepper listed as an ingredient, on the back label. I take two capsules in the morning, with my breakfast smoothie.

My favorite way to include turmeric in my diet is with this tasty Turmeric Tea, also called Turmeric Milk or Golden Milk.

In the bottom of a large mug, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of raw organic honey and a dash of black pepper. Fill cup with warm unsweetened, non dairy milk. I love unsweetened almond coconut milk. Stir well. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

This drink is so delicious. I crave it. Turmeric Milk is the perfect way to wind down after a busy day and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Taking turmeric as a daily supplement, drinking my Turmeric Milk, makes me feel like I am taking excellent care of myself. I know I am calming inflammation in my body while combating the Epstein Barr Virus. For me, it is nurturing at the highest level.

I am so worth it.

Get your Turmeric here!

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Cara Cara Oranges

One of the things I love about this time of year, other than the Christmas season, is the arrival of oranges in the fresh produce section. I’ve always been okay with oranges. I have to peel them, but I know they are worth the extra bit of trouble. They are full of health benefits.

A couple of years ago, I discovered an orange that is so delicious that I don’t mind removing its peel at all!

Cara Cara Oranges are a natural hybrid, a cross between a Washington Navel Orange and a Brazilian Bahia Navel Orange. They look like ordinary navel oranges on the outside, but peel one and its secret is revealed. The flesh ranges in color from light pink to dark red and they are juicy, sweet and refreshing.

Cara Cara Oranges, also called Red Oranges and Blood Oranges, are lower in acid than regular oranges, meaning they are never bitter or sour. And, they are incredibly good for health reasons, making them an ideal foundation in the plant based diet.

Oranges are rich in flavonoids and limonoids, which fight off viruses in the body, while protecting from radiation and deactivating toxic heavy metals. This citrus fruit also contains a form of bioactive calcium that can’t be found anywhere else. The body readily absorbs this calcium. It strengthens teeth while helping to dissolve kidney stones and gallstones.

Rich in vitamins and nutrients, oranges help with a host of diseases and disorders, including diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and fertility issues. They also ease hormonal imbalances, body pains, ringing in the ears and provide emotional support.

Cara Cara Oranges can be peeled and eaten as a fresh fruit snack. They can also be added to salads, mixed with other fruits, juiced or peeled and added to smoothies. Because they help to cleanse the body of heavy metals, I frequently add a Cara Cara Orange to my Detox Smoothie, which also contains frozen wild blueberries, bananas, Hawaiian Spirulina, Atlantic Dulse and Barley Grass Juice Powder.

I crave these sweet oranges. I was excited to find them back in the grocery store two weeks ago, just in time to add slices to Hot Spiced Cider. Sadly their season ends about mid April, so this is the perfect time to grab these luscious fruits and enjoy them to the fullest. I know I will.

Vegan Black Bean & Corn Salsa

I was looking for a healthy salsa to share at my family’s Christmas Day Smorgasbord. I contributed plant based snacks, sides and desserts. My family members brought their favorite sides or main course dishes, however, they got to sample my plant based recipes too.

I had in mind to make my sister’s Cowboy Caviar. But when I saw that the recipe called for bottles of salad dressing, I opted for this easy to make salsa that includes the fresh juice of two limes instead.

The recipe, from SparkPeople, on my first official Try This Tuesday, is not only quick to throw together, and healthy, it is pretty to look at too! And, it is incredibly delicious, as the flavors all blend together.

I omitted the cilantro, because of a family member’s dislike of it. And the salsa was still excellent. In fact, the recipe made a large bowl of salsa and I brought home a very small bowl of left overs. I used only organic, non GMO canned goods. Del Monte brand now has non GMO canned goods, as do other brands found in health conscious grocery stores, like Natural Grocers. I diced the avocado and added it right before serving.

The salsa was accompanied by organic, non GMO tortilla chips, made by Tostitos, and available in the chips aisle at any supermarket. These bite sized scoops are perfect for dipping.

The black bean and corn salsa was so good that I will be making this recipe often. It is a great side dish to take to parties or family gatherings. I can know that I am contributing food wise, and also to the health of everyone present!

Dairy Free Turmeric Milk

I enjoy a warm drink in the evening, year around. During the summer, my drink of choice is a cup of hot herbal tea, brewed from herbs freshly picked from my garden. With the arrival of cooler weather, I look for additional nighttime drinks to sip on. It is essential to me that these bedtime drinks be warming and soothing and also full of health boosting benefits.

I was excited to try this dairy free turmeric milk. I found the recipe on Facebook, in a group I am part of called Avocado. This delicious and easy to prepare recipe comes from Anna Davis.

Warm Turmeric Milk

Ingredients

• 1 teaspoon dried turmeric

• 1 tablespoon raw organic honey

• Dash of coarsely ground black pepper

• Dash of cinnamon

• 1 cup of unsweetened dairy free plant based milk such as almond or coconut

In a small bowl mix together honey, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon, making a paste. Warm plant based milk. Add small amount to turmeric mixture, stirring until smooth and thinned out. Add turmeric mixture to remainder of milk. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and enjoy.

I used unsweetened almond coconut dairy free milk. The coconut adds a subtle flavor that I like. Plain almond milk can be used as well. As the milk heated, I whisked the honey, turmeric, and black pepper together.

The spicy aroma was wonderfully tantalizing as I added a small amount of warm milk to the honey mixture. After it was thinned out, I poured the mixture into the cup of milk.

A sprinkle of cinnamon on top and my bedtime turmeric milk was ready to savor. And savor it I did. This drink was so good that I had to pace myself. The taste is full of flavor but mild.

Turmeric is considered one of the most effective medicinal herbs with powerful benefits for the body. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The body absorbs curcumin much better when black pepper is ingested at the same time.

Curcumin is linked to improved brain function and a lessening of brain diseases, less risk of heart disease, cancer prevention, depression prevention, inhibition of Alzheimer’s, improvement of arthritis through lessening of inflammation and it has anti-aging properties.

That’s a lot of health benefits packed into a tasty nighttime drink. In addition, turmeric soothes the digestive tract, which contributes to a better night’s sleep.

Raw organic honey, locally produced, is a good source of antioxidants. Health benefits of honey include soothes the digestive tract, eases seasonal allergies and sore throats, protects the body from cell damage, and it is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

Best of all, this drink centers me as it warms me, preparing me for a time of deep rest. My body craves it, encouraging me to sip on a cup every evening. Turmeric milk has become my favorite bedtime drink!

30 Day Walking Challenge

One of the things I loved about my recent travels abroad is how much walking I did. The best way to explore new places is on foot, and I would spend hours walking with my traveling companions. My body responds well to that kind of daily exercise. And yet, when I return home, in spite of my good intentions to continue walking daily, I fall back into my old routine and my old habits.

I decided to challenge myself, in a way that encouraged me to walk daily while having fun and seeing some new places in my own area. The 30 Day Walking Challenge was born.

The rules of the challenge are simple.

One…walk every day for the next 30 days.

Fourteen months ago, the 28 Day Cleanse, during which I ate raw fruits and vegetables, shifted my life. I felt so much better and saw such profound improvements in my health and well being that I embraced a plant based lifestyle. I know what adopting a new practice for 30 days can do! I am curious to see what walking daily does for my body and my soul.

I prefer to walk outdoors, so rain or sunshine, cool or warm temps, I’ll dress for the weather and enjoy nature or suburban neighborhoods. If it is storming, or there is heavy rain, then I can walk at the mall or other indoor venues.

Walking has many health benefits, including improving mood, maintaining or losing weight, improving circulation, preventing disease, toning the body, improving balance, and boosting creativity. For me walking connects me with my body, quiets my mind and increases my appreciation of beauty and fills me with wonder.

Two…walk somewhere different every day.

Because I am easily bored, and boredom kills an exercise routine for me, I chose to add a fun element to the challenge. I will walk in a different location every day.

There are many nature trails and walking paths in my area. And I want to explore parts of my own city that I have never visited before. There are neighboring towns that I can walk in and three nearby states that offer parks and hiking trails.

I will do solitary walks. And I intend to walk with others. I’m excited to walk with my three grown children, along with their spouses, kids and pets, in their neighborhoods. I’ve been invited to walk along on a golf course. And I will drive to visit my grandson, who is away at college, and walk the campus with him.

This is day three of my walking challenge. Here are the locations I have visited.

Day 1: Wildcat Park, south of Joplin, with its trails through woods and along Shoal Creek. Walking in nature is so restorative to me, body and soul.

Day 2: Joplin High School Campus. Although I drive by this school, rebuilt after the 2011 Joplin tornado, I’ve never explored the gorgeous campus. Among the buildings, sports fields and parking lots are natural areas designated for water run off and collection, where flowers and ornamental grasses flourish.

Day 3: Cunningham Park, west Joplin. This park and the surrounding area was destroyed in the tornado. However, now it is a beautiful memorial park, in honor of the people who died and with gratitude for the many volunteers who came to help Joplin in the recovery phase. It was a soulful place to walk this morning…peaceful and yet with signs of life everywhere. There was a child’s birthday celebration beneath a pavilion, kids playing on the playground and even a couple of knights having a mock sword fight.

I’m excited about this 30 Day Walking Challenge. I want to see how my body responds. I am curious to see how I respond, on the first rainy or blustery day, when I feel the tug to skip the walk. I look forward to walking in new places and having companions that walk alongside.

It is a challenge…and I am in high anticipation as I meet it. Walk with me.

Eliminating Heavy Metals with a Detox Smoothie

Recently, I woke up craving this nutrient rich detox smoothie. After a year of following a plant based lifestyle, one of the many benefits I have received is that I am very aware of my body’s needs. When I crave something, it is because my body needs it. When I am repulsed by something or I feel “off” about a food or drink, it is because my body doesn’t want it or need it.

Eliminate Heavy Metals with a Detox Smoothie

I follow the Medical Medium health protocols, established by Anthony William. So I am well educated on the problems caused by heavy metals in the body. Most of us, if not all of us, have too many metals in our bodies, and we experience poor health as a result.

Anthony shares that toxic heavy metals…aluminum, mercury, lead, nickel, cadmium and copper…accumulate in our bodies and settle deep into our organs and tissues. We are exposed to these metals by daily contact with aluminum cans and foil, batteries, metal cooking pans, old paint and the food we eat. Herbicides and pesticides used on fruits and vegetables are a common source of heavy metals. As a result, we carry these toxic substances throughout our lives, and they build up.

It’s the metals we’ve had in our bodies the longest that pose the greatest health risk. Over time, the metals oxidize, damaging surrounding tissue and causing inflammation. Every system and organ in the body can be affected, including the brain and nervous system, the digestive system, and the immune system.

A unique characteristic of the heavy metals is that they form a neurotoxin. This poison is disruptive to the brain and nervous system, causing brain fog, memory loss, fatigue and depression. In the digestive tract, heavy metals create inflammation and serve as a food source for viruses, bacteria, parasites and pathogens, often resulting in a condition called Small Intestine Bacterial Overload, or SIBO. SIBO is characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation and nutrient deficiencies.

When viruses such as shingles and Epstein Barr feed off of the metals, this can produce symptoms such as tingling, numbness, fatigue, anxiety, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations and dizziness, as well as knee pain, nerve pain, neck pain, foot pain and headaches in the back of the head.

I have dealt with many of these symptoms. I was tested for heavy metals years ago, and told that I did have them, but I was never told how to clear them from my body. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to pull the metals out of the tissues and organs with this simple to make detox smoothie.

Heavy Metals Detox Smoothie by Anthony William

Hawaiian spirulina draws heavy metals out of the brain and nervous system. Atlantic dulse binds to all of the metals deep in the intestines and doesn’t release them, removing them from the body. Cilantro is great for removing old metals that have been in the body for years. Wild blueberries draw metals from the brain, healing and repairing any damage caused by oxidation. Barley grass juice powder soaks up mercury drawn from the spleen, intestinal tract, pancreas, thyroid and reproductive system.

The Hawaiian spirulina, Atlantic dulse and barley grass juice powder are available at your local health food store, or through Amazon. (Links below). Wild blueberries are in the frozen food section at the grocery store. Make sure the package says Wild Blueberries, as they are more powerful. Cilantro can be found in the fresh produce section at the grocery store.

The recipe makes 32 ounces of health boosting goodness. I enjoy the taste. If you don’t care for cilantro, it will take getting used to, although the taste of this pungent herb is not overwhelming, combined with everything else. I have felt a huge difference this past year, since adding the foods listed above to my diet. Aches and pains have disappeared. My digestive system has healed.

However, for me to wake up craving this detox smoothie meant my body needed to get rid of more heavy metals.

On the recent long plane flights to and from Italy, I experienced mild restless legs. I used to suffer greatly from this irritating disorder. Restless legs syndrome can be caused by several things, including heavy metals in the body. I have not had problems with it for months, until the long flights.

With another overseas trip coming up at the end of August, perhaps my body is getting ready by alerting me to what it needs to do well. I am grateful for my built in guidance system and very grateful for Anthony and a way to continue detoxing my body.

I’ll be drinking a heavy metals detox smoothie daily. I intend to feel my very best as I head off to explore Ireland, Scotland and England. I owe it to myself to pay attention and practice such diligent self care.

Links below for Anthony’s books and products mentioned in the post:

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Banana Nice Dream

This yummy alternative to ice cream has been a favorite this summer. Easy to make, using one ingredient, banana nice dream is sugar and dairy free. Other ingredients can be added to the basic recipe, creating a variety of flavors.

The main ingredient is ripe bananas. My grocery store often has bags of very ripe bananas offered at a discounted price. I buy up the fruit at that time. They are great used in smoothies as well.

Making banana nice dream is easy:

Cut up ripe bananas and freeze in gallon sized freezer bags. I cut up four bananas and freeze together in each bag.

Place frozen banana chunks in a good quality blender or food process and blend on high speed. I have done better using a processor. Stop frequently to push mixture down off of the sides, and keep blending.

Be patient. The bananas will become coarsely chopped. Keep going. Suddenly the mixture changes, becoming the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

Eat immediately, topped with fresh, cut up berries or other fruit. Or store in the freezer for a firmer consistency.

For variety, other frozen fruits can be added. Berries, cherries, mango or pineapple chunks are all good additions. Or a half a teaspoon of vanilla can be added to the frozen bananas, for more of a vanilla ice cream taste.

I recently made blueberry nice dream by adding 2 cups of frozen wild blueberries to the chunks of bananas. The process was the same. Suddenly the mixture changed and the bananas and blueberries blended together into a cold and creamy treat.

It is nice to have healthy alternatives to standard desserts and treats. I haven't missed ice cream, like I thought I would. I used to be a frequent visitor to Andy's Frozen Custard. My favorite treat there was a blueberry concrete. The fruit made it healthier, right? Wrong. The sugar and dairy products were not good for me, and I knew it.

It wasn't just about watching my calories or my weight. Sugar fed the inflammation in my body, making my joints stiff and painful, and it gave me severe indigestion. Milk is a mucus producer and kept my sinuses clogged, and it upset my digestive system as well. It amazes me, looking back from this place on my healing journey, that I continued to eat what I wanted to eat, knowing I wouldn't feel well afterward.

How do I feel after eating banana ice dream? I feel good…good emotionally that I am taking care of myself, and my body thanks me for not putting things into it that will create poor health.

Banana nice dream…it's a delicious win/win!