Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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I know, I know. Black bean brownies? The title of the blog post gives away the secret ingredient in these rich and decadent vegan brownies. I’ve looked at posts and Pinterest recipes for black bean brownies. I finally found one, thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie, with a wholesome, easy to follow recipe. The ingredients are staples that I keep on hand. I felt ready to give these flour free, refined sugar free, egg and dairy free treats a try.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Rich chocolate brownies with no flour, refined sugar, eggs or dairy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Black Bean Brownies
Servings: 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking dish.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Blend well until completely smooth.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let brownies cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Makes 9 - 12 servings.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Can You Taste the Black Beans?

I prepared this special treat quickly this evening. While the black bean brownies cooled, I brewed a cup of lemon balm tea, with fresh herbs from the garden. Greg knew I was preparing a new dessert recipe, however I didn’t tell him what the ingredients were. I wanted him to taste the brownies first.

The black bean brownies smelled wonderful as they baked. I removed them from the oven after exactly 15 minutes and they were perfect.

After allowing them to cool for about half an hour, it was time for the taste test.

These black bean brownies are WONDERFUL! Rich, moist and full of chocolate flavor, I couldn’t taste the beans at all. Greg enjoyed two brownies, with a glass of almond coconut milk, and declared them very good.

Then, and only then, did I tell them about the secret ingredient. I have to say, I really appreciate that Greg is so willing to try new recipes. He thought the brownies tasted great and found that one or two satisfied him totally.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies Make the Cut

These brownies definitely go into my treat rotation. They are so quick to prepare and have a short baking time. I like too that the recipe makes a small batch of brownies. We primarily eat fruit for “dessert”. Even healthy snacks such as these brownies and Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are considered an occasional specialty rather than a frequent occurrence.

The vegan black bean brownies make a wonderful dessert for guests or a treat to take to a family gathering. No one will guess what the main ingredient is! However I feel good knowing I am contributing to everyone’s health while providing a delicious dessert.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

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A reader recently made a request. She asked about herbal teas that relieve bloating. I’m happy to respond with a post that offers help.

Bloating is a condition in which the abdomen feels uncomfortably full. Triggers for bloating include:

  • intolerance to dairy, gluten, high protein or high fiber
  • build up of gas
  • intestinal bacteria out of balance
  • constipation
  • parasites

Up to 30% of the population experiences bloating, the majority as a result of food intolerance. If this discomfort is a problem for you, check out these herbal teas that relieve bloating.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Peppermint

The use of this herb for healing the digestive system dates back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Peppermint relieves bloating, gas, constipation and other digestive disorders by relaxing the gut and calming intestinal spasms. It is especially helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Steep 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, lemon balm has a pleasant lemony scent and flavor. This herb possesses antiviral, antibacterial and sedative properties. It’s a digestive stimulant as well. As a tea it soothes indigestion, nausea and bloating. Many people suffer with sensitive stomachs and guts. Lemon balm soothes and calms the nerve receptors in the digestive tract and reduces inflammation so that the nerves become less sensitive. It is also anti-parasitic.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon balm leaves to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes.

 

Herbal Teas that Relieve BloatingFresh lemon balm

Fennel

One of the most widely used herbs in the world, fennel seeds are used to treat many ailments, including stimulating the digestive system. The plant with the slight licorice scent and taste eases the discomfort of gas while stimulating bile for better digestion. And better digestion means less risk of bloating.

To make fennel tea, steep 1- 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Chamomile

A member of the daisy family, this herb contains flavonoids and terpenoids that provide medicinal properties. Chamomile relaxes the digestive system, relieving the discomfort related to bloating. The herb also treats gassiness, indigestion and nausea, which commonly accompany bloating.

Use 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile flowers to make tea, steeping them for 15 minutes in a cup of boiling water.

Ginger

The healing power of ginger has been used for thousands of years to cure a host of digestives problems. The root of the plant contains bioactive compounds that ease bloating quickly. Ginger stimulates the digestive system, eases nausea and soothes acid reflux. It also fights against pathogens in the gut.

Peel a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger and slice into slivers. Steep in a cup of boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Dandelion

Although considered a weed, this powerful little plant makes a great herbal tea that relieves bloating. Dandelion flowers stimulate the digestive system and have a cleansing effect on the intestines, eliminating bloating.

Gather a handful of fresh dandelion flowers, in an area free from chemicals, pollution and herbicides. Steep flowers in hot water for 15 minutes. Or cover flowers with water and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Strain out flowers and sip on dandelion water throughout the day.

Lavender

This very versatile herb originated in the Mediterranean. It’s been used medicinally for centuries. Drinking lavender tea eases digestive problems that cause bloating, including gas, an upset stomach, abdominal pain and swelling. Lavender also stimulates a sluggish appetite, which can accompany bloating.

Pour boiling water over 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender flowers. Steep for 15 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Additional Tips to Ease Bloating

Bloating is a symptom, indicating the digestive system is sluggish or reacting. Consider eliminating dairy, gluten, high protein and high fiber, one at a time, for a week. Notice whether bloating is relieved or improved.

I talk to people every day who want to feel better. However, they don’t want to give up their “favorite” foods, even though those foods are making them feel bad. Many people have a dairy or gluten intolerance and don’t realize it. Stop eating those foods, for a short time, to confirm whether that’s the case or not.

Eliminating those problem causing foods reduces gas build up and restores digestive health. Drinking herbal teas increases water consumption, which helps to ease constipation. Turmeric balances gut flora. And adding raw organic honey to herbal teas that relieve bloating adds an anti-parasitic property to the drink.

The herbal teas ease bloating, and improve health and wellbeing, while you discover the underlying cause. Be sure to check in with your primary care physician also.

Here’s to enjoying health, at every age!

Herbal Teas the Relieve Bloating

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Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

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A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed foraging for tea in my own yard. Spring announces itself with a flurry of early blooming flowers and plants. I learned last fall that many of these harbingers of spring are edible, making them suitable for tea.

Since that day, I’ve enjoyed delicately flavored lilac tea and earthy redbud tea. From the backyard I gathered dead nettle and henbit. It grounds and centers me to gather wild edibles and savor them as tea.

I had one last tea to try, before this first blooming season ended. Sweet violet tea offers many health benefits and the gift of beauty as well.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violets

This common flowering perennial, which is considered an herb, is among the earliest to appear after winter. The hardy plants favor the edge of woods and are not too shy to show up in lawns and gardens, uninvited. The herbs prefer shady areas. Look for them near house foundations, in areas of the yard and garden protected by other plants and on the north side of structures.

The flowers range in color from dark purple to lilac to pale yellow to white. The plant, which reaches a modest height of four to six inches, has dark green heart shaped leaves.

In the late Victorian era, the sweet scent of the violet proved popular in fragrances and perfumes. The French created violet syrup and the Americans used this concoction to make violet scones and violet marshmallows.

Culturally, Shakespeare mentioned this sweet flower in these now famous lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk roses and with eglantine.”

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Medicinally, sweet violets have been used for centuries, valued for their healing properties. The entire plant is edible and rich in vitamins A and C and full of bioflavonoids, alkaloids and anti-inflammatories.

Benefits include:

Anti-cancer properties that are effective against lung, skin, stomach and breast cancers.

Soothe respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, congestion, asthma and sinus infections.

Contains high amounts of rutin and salicylic acid which act similarly to aspirin. This makes the herb helpful for treating aches and pains, inflammation, flu symptoms, headaches and arthritis pain. Those same compounds help to prevent blood clots as well.

Eases nervousness, anxiety, stomachaches, indigestion, ulcers, insomnia, swollen glands, canker sores and gum disease.

Lowers blood pressure.

Added to baths, the flowers and leaves help treat psoriasis, eczema, rashes, sores and skin cancer.

Purifies the blood, strengthens the heart and detoxes and cleanses the entire body.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea

This herb is available online or at health conscious stores as dried tea, capsules, syrup, tinctures, extracts, creams and salves. Fresh flowers and leaves are suitable additions for salads, smoothies and fruit bowls.

However, in early spring it’s fun to gather sweet violet flowers and leaves and create freshly brewed tea.

I gathered a handful of delicate flowers and several small leaves from plants clustered in shady areas of my yard. When foraging, choose a patch of violets that are in a familiar area, where no chemicals or fertilizers have been used.

To brew sweet violet tea, cover 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers and leaves with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with organic honey if desired. Or for fun, leave the flowers and leaves in the tea.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Enjoying Sweet Violet Tea

I sipped my first cup of sweet violet tea and savored the mild flavor. The brewed tea is a pretty shade of pale green, the perfect representation of spring’s arrival. My freshly prepared tea paired well with a bowl of apple slices, creating a simple afternoon tea.

I might get to enjoy a couple of cups of sweet violet tea before the flowers fade away.

It’s just the beginning of the growing season, however. Dandelions are popping up all over the yard. And while some see these cheerful plants as weeds or wishes, I see tea!

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Start a tea time tradition. Pick out your favorite teacups below.

 


 

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8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the Body

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I think we all agree that sugar isn’t good for us. And yet, it is so difficult for most of us to eliminate it from our diets. We are raised consuming sugar and we die, consuming sugar. It is very much a part of the average American diet. In fact, sugar lurks in surprising places. The stuff is found in everything from cereal and drinks to spaghetti sauce and peanut butter.

I’m not going to say that you can’t have sugar. Me telling you that sugar is bad for you won’t shift you one bit. No, it’s a choice each person has to make. My desire is to share with you what sugar does to the body, and let you decide for yourself whether it’s something you want to continue to consume.

This is by no means a complete list, however, here are 8 toxic ways sugar impacts the body.

8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the Body

How does sugar affect the body?

Sugar increases the risk of diabetes

Consuming too much sugar, especially in sugary drinks such as soda and sweet tea, causes obesity. And obesity is the strongest risk factor for developing diabetes. Prolonged consumption of  high levels of sugar leads to insulin resistance as well, causing blood sugar levels to rise. This condition is another major contributor to diabetes.

Sugar is linked to depression

A diet high in sugar can increase the chances of developing depression. Fluctuating blood sugar levels, inflammation and neurotransmitter dysregulation all have a negative impact on mental health.

Sugar causes weight gain

It’s a given that regularly consuming too much sugar puts on the pounds. But did you know that sugar actually increases your hunger? The hormone leptin regulates hunger and tells the body when to stop eating. Sugar can cause a resistance to this important hormone so that the body no longer responds to the signal that hunger is satisfied.

Additionally, those who drink a lot of sweetened drinks develop belly fat, a condition associated with diabetes and heart disease.

Sugar increases the risk of heart, liver and certain brain diseases

Heart disease is the leading cause of death. High sugar intake leads to obesity and causes inflammation, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. All of these factors contribute to heart disease and atherosclerosis, which is characterized by fatty deposits in arteries.

Sugar overloads the liver, leading to potential liver damage and/or a condition known as fatty liver. Alzheimer’s and dementia are diseases that studies are connecting to high sugar consumption as well.

8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the BodySkip the sugar and just eat the strawberries.

Sugar elevates the risk for cancer

Consuming high amounts of sugar may increase risks for certain types of cancer, primarily because of the inflammation that it produces. Sugar consumption has been associated with esophageal cancer, pleural cancer (the fluid filled space that surrounds the lungs), small intestinal cancer and endometrial cancer.

One study found that sugar is used by cancer cells to speed growth, enabling cancer to spread more quickly.

Sugar accelerates the skin aging process

Compounds called Advanced Glycation End Products are formed when sugar reacts with protein in the body. These compounds damage collagen and elastin, which help skin to remain elastic and youthful. As damaged skin loses its firmness it begins to sag, causing wrinkles.

Additionally, sugar increases cellular aging as well. And trust me, that’s worse than sagging skin.

Sugar causes inflammation throughout the body

Many doctors claim that inflammation is the root cause of disease in the body. A sugar laden diet causes inflammation throughout the body, and continues to feed inflammation once it develops. That inflammation affects blood vessels, organs and joints.

Sugar is addictive

In recent years some have called sugar more addictive than cocaine. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on how sugar impacts the body, found that it is indeed, addictive.

A high sugar drink or food causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin and an increase in hunger and cravings for about four hours after consumption. What the study showed is that a region in the brain, the pleasure center, lights up as well. The conclusion is that foods and drinks that spike blood sugar are biologically addictive.

I can believe that.

There are more than 600,000 processed foods available on the market and 80% of those have added, and often hidden, sugars. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. The body can safely process about 8 teaspoons. The food industry uses sugar and high fructose corn syrup to addict us to foods. We crave them. Sweetener is used as well to make bad ingredients, like processed flours and chemicals, taste good.

8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the Body

Reducing Sugar Intake

If you’d like to reduce sugar consumption, try these suggestions:

  • Eat more whole natural foods such as fruits and vegetables. Fruit is good for us. Don’t worry about the natural fructose found in fruits.
  • Drink water and herbal teas rather than soda and sweet tea or sweetened artificially flavored drinks.
  • Read labels, on everything. Sugar is hidden is so many foods. Look for it near the top of the list of ingredients. Choose sugar free foods as much as possible.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Sugar impacts the body adversely and artificial sweeteners do too.
  • Make choices. Swap out sweetened cereal for gluten free oats with berries. Instead of a candy bar, have a small square of dark chocolate. Grab an apple instead of a cookie. Bake with organic maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. Eliminate sugary snacks from the house.
  • Cravings are different from true hunger. Go for a walk or get outside instead of eating a sugary treat. Chat with a friend. Play with the kids. Meditate. Treat sugar cravings for what they are…a sign of addiction.

It is a Choice

Sugar impacts the body negatively. I knew that fact for years. And yet, I’ve dealt with sugar addiction. Sugar gave me horrible indigestion. I kept antacids on hand, rather than change my eating habits. Sugar made my joints hurt and created inflammation in my body. I accepted those ailments as part of life.

Only when I experienced radically improved health, after a 28 day cleanse, did I realize how addicted to sugar I once was. Eating fruits and veggies reset my body and cleared up so many ailments…including the indigestion. I no longer crave sugar, at all. And if I do ingest a small amount, I don’t like the way it makes me feel. That’s enough for me to leave it alone. The saying is true for me. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

It takes time and it doesn’t feel easy, however you can take back control of your health and well being. You can live with vitality. Take the healing journey one step, once day, once choice at a time. If you want change strongly enough, you can create it.

I’m cheering for you.

8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the Body

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The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Until recently, I’ve only know paprika as a topping sprinkled on deviled eggs and potato salad. Honestly, I didn’t think it added anything more than decoration.

After becoming plant based, I noted that several of my favorite recipes include paprika, not as a garnish but as a crucial ingredient. I’ve come to respect and appreciate this spice and use it almost every day.

But what is paprika exactly? And are there any health benefits associated with it?

My curious mind wanted to know.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

What is Paprika?

Paprika is a reddish orange ground spice made from dried peppers. Although it can be made from any variety of peppers, red bell peppers, chili peppers and cayenne peppers are most commonly used.

The spice originated in Mexico. Explorers transported it to Europe, Africa and Asia in the 1400s. Currently, Hungary produces the highest quality paprika and chefs there are well known for their Hungarian goulash prepared with the spice.

Paprika is extremely high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamins B6, C, E and K, iron, niacin and potassium. The spicier versions contain capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin is an important component in the prevention of diseases.
The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Health Benefits of Paprika

Paprika fights inflammation and disease in the body, offering the following health benefits.

Powerful Antioxidants

Paprika is rich in carotenoids, a pigment found in the peppers. This compound prevents oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body and helps to fight disease. Antioxidants protect the skin from aging, improve respiratory health and lower inflammation throughout the body. The high levels of vitamin A decreases inflammation as well, lowering the risk of disease since inflammation is often a root cause.

Hair and Scalp Health

Paprika’s rich source of vitamin B6 helps to prevent hair loss. It’s also involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to hair. And the iron in paprika stimulates hair growth by improving the transfer of oxygen to hair follicles.

May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer

The capsaicin in spicy paprika possesses the potential to prevent and/or treat gastric cancers. Capsaicin appears to limit and suppress cancerous tumor growth. This is good news, as gastric cancers are the second most common cancer, world wide, and the second most common cause of cancer related deaths.

Supports the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin B6 in paprika lowers high blood pressure and heals damaged blood vessels. The carotenoid capsanthin can increase good cholesterol. These benefits keep the heart strong and working well.

Improves Eye Health

Paprika’s antioxidants and vitamin B6 keep eyes healthy and slows the onset of eye related diseases such as macular degeneration.

Treats Diabetes

Paprika helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in treating diabetes. Spicy paprika benefits the whole digestive process.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Uses for Paprika

Beyond sprinkling paprika on foods as a garnish, try adding the spice to vegetables, sauces, soups, salad dressings, chilies, salsa, rice dishes, beans, goulash and any tomato based recipe.

I add a heaping spoonful of paprika to the blend of spices coating Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes. My Meatless Dirty Rice recipe includes paprika as well. I’ve played around with a vegan goulash recipe too, featuring green peppers, brown rice macaroni, tomatoes and…paprika. Recipe coming soon.

I’m grateful for curiosity today. Paprika is good for me, contributing to my overall health and wellbeing. As I empty the current spice jar of paprika, I’ll purchase a spicier version, after discovering that capsaicin ups the health benefits considerably. I found this two pack  of Hungarian Paprika, containing a sweet version and a spicy one. How perfect!

How will you get your paprika today? Do you have a favorite recipe that contains this important spice? I’d love to know about it!

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

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I just completed a nine day liver detox, following the guidelines in the Liver Rescue book by Anthony William. For the last six months, my mother and sister and I met once a week to discuss the book and share a plant based meal together.

The book club and the cleanse have been amazing and healing experiences. I appreciate the insights and wisdom that Anthony shares and the compassion he offers to those who are chronically ill or in pain.

Today I share a brief review of Liver Rescue and a general overview of the liver rescue cleanse, known as the 3:6:9. For information about the cleanse and the importance of caring for the liver, please visit the Medical Medium website. His book Liver Rescue is available HERE or pick up a copy from your local library.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Review

This in-depth book focuses on one organ in the body…the liver. We can feel other organs and systems in the body working. The heart pumps, the lungs draw in air and expel it, the stomach rumbles when it’s hungry. We are aware of our brains, our bones and our skin, and we use our senses to perceive the world around us.

What we are very unaware of is how hard the liver works to keep the body healthy and functioning as it should.

This hefty book astounded me. The liver processes fats, stores glucose, glycogen, vitamins and minerals, disarms and detains harmful substances and filters and screens the blood. All of these functions, and more, are designed to protect the body from toxic matter and protect the pancreas from excess fat.

If we all consumed wholesome foods the liver and its functions would never enter our thoughts. We’d enjoy health and vitality, as we are meant to do. However, we don’t eat wholesome foods. The typical American diet is high in fats, sugar and additives. The liver stores those excesses, to protect the body from the negative effects of a poor diet.

Additionally, the liver harbors residue from years of pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, plastics, gasoline, DDT, smoke, fumes, heavy metals…the list goes on and on. Viruses like to take up residence there too, to feed on all the toxins.

The liver stores all those substances for as long as it can. Like any storage container, eventually it runs out of space. As the liver struggles, it gets sluggish or fatty. And then we begin to get sick.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

My Thoughts on the Liver Rescue Book

By the time I reached the end of the book, where the cleanse is detailed, I felt wonder and appreciation for my hard working liver. I used to think that cirrhosis or a fatty liver or liver cancer signified an unhealthy liver. However so many of the ailments and symptoms we commonly have today are connected to the health of the liver.

Improving liver health is the key to healing many disorders including:

  • skin conditions, rashes, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
  • adrenal problems, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, gout and heart palpitations
  • hormonal problems, mood struggles, rapid aging, brain fog and weight gain
  • high blood pressure, dirty blood and high cholesterol
  • bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gut problems, food sensitivities and gallbladder infections

I’ve experienced some of these problems…and never connected them to my liver. And the liver/pancreas relationship interests me especially, as my father died of pancreatic cancer.

As I read the book, I not only developed respect for my liver and all that it does to keep me healthy, I felt compelled to ease its work load. I’ve been eating plant based for almost three years now. I’ve received much healing. It was time for me to focus on this little understood and under appreciated organ next.

The 3:6:9 liver rescue cleanse is purposefully placed at the end of the book. I felt ready to do the gentle cleanse, and give my liver a much needed healing break.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Mornings begin with hydration and easily assimilated nutrients.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

The Liver Rescue 3:6:9 Cleanse

Rather than giving a detailed description of the cleanse, I’ll share my experience of it. It’s important for everyone to read through the information in the rest of the book first, instead of jumping right into the cleanse.

The cleanse is divided into three sections.

Days 1 – 3

The first phase is gentle, prepping the liver to release the toxins it has stored. The focus is on hydration and fruits and vegetables. Fat intake is lowered and certain foods such as dairy and gluten avoided.

I found this phase to be very easy to comply with, as this is the way I eat anyway. Reducing fat intake meant I cut out avocadoes and my spoonful of organic peanut butter on gluten free crackers with afternoon tea. The only fat I consumed, during this phase, was a small amount of coconut oil on oven roasted potatoes.

I included two or three apples a day, for snacks. Apples are not my favorite fruit. However, I came to enjoy them very much during the cleanse.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Afternoon tea during the liver rescue cleanse. And a typical meal during phase one: oven roasted potatoes, sautéed veggies and spinach.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Days 4 – 6

The second phase is designed to allow the liver to begin cleansing itself. All fats are eliminated, giving the liver a break from processing and storing it. Raw and steamed vegetables are included that contain powerful liver purging compounds.

These three days revolve around very specific eating plans, designed to provide optimal nutrients that the body needs during a cleanse.

I did not experience any problems during this phase. The foods are wholesome and nutritious and I could eat as much of the specified foods as I desired. I confess I missed my potatoes a wee bit, however I could feel positive differences in my body already. Committed, I continued on.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue CleanseA meal during phase two: steamed Brussels sprouts and asparagus with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. A big liver rescue salad accompanied each lunch and dinner.

Days 7 – 9

The final phase enables the liver to purge itself of stored toxins. Days 7 and 8 are similar to the previous three, although potatoes make a welcome comeback on day 7 only. Day 9 is liquids in the form of juices and blended fruits.

I experienced low energy and a sense of unsettledness on day 7. As my liver purged, it seemed I could feel toxins being sent out for elimination. Suddenly all the liquids drank during the cleanse made sense!

By the next day I felt fine. My appetite steadily decreased throughout the cleanse and the specified foods during this final phase satisfied me completely. I didn’t mind the day of liquids at all. Fruit smoothies became my meals and between them I sipped on juice blends.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

After the Liver Rescue Cleanse

Today I did a mental and visual scan of my body. I felt cleaner and leaner and centered. I didn’t weigh before starting the cleanse. However I can tell I dropped weight, perhaps five or six pounds. I noted feelings of lightness and wholeness and wellbeing. My mind is clear and my energy level back up.

I continued the Liver Rescue Morning, with my lemon/lime water, celery juice and breakfast smoothie. That will always be a regular part of my day. I intend to continue other aspects of the cleanse as well, such as a second glass of lemon/lime water in the early evenings, and more apples for snacks.

I’d like to repeat days 4 – 9 once a month for several more months, to give my liver a chance to fully purge and heal. I’m in the process of eliminating chemicals and toxins from my life by switching to plant based cleaning products and toiletries. I can’t avoid every harmful substance out there, however I can be mindful and support my liver so that it can more easily do the many functions that it performs.

With my appetite low, I focused today on simple meals and plenty of fluids. And I prepared oven roasted potatoes, with a very small amount of coconut oil. They tasted marvelous.

My liver feels healthier and happier. And that makes me happy too.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

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Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

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In my former life, before adopting a plant based lifestyle, I often enjoyed California rolls dipped in soy sauce. Now, mindful of what I eat, it’s not difficult to create or find simple, nori wrapped veggie rolls. What about the soy sauce though?

Typical soy sauce is made from soybeans. And that can pose a health problem, since most soybeans today are genetically modified. GMO products may increase inflammation in the body and present other health risks. There are debates about the effects of GMOs on health and opinions on both sides. For optimal health, I tossed my bottle of soy sauce.

However, I’m grateful for Bragg Liquid Aminos, a delicious product made from verified non GMO soybeans. Curious about the company and the origins of the sauce, I  hit Google. And by the way, this isn’t a sponsored post. I really appreciate this healthy alternative to soy sauce and want to share it.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

What is Bragg Liquid Aminos?

This liquid protein concentrate is derived from non GMO soybeans. It really does contain naturally-occurring essential and non essential amino acids, 16 of them to be exact.

Bragg does NOT contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial coloring, gluten or alcohol. It is not fermented. Simply made, Bragg Liquid Aminos’ ingredients are non GMO soybeans and distilled water. Like traditional soy sauce, liquid aminos taste salty, with the flavor derived from naturally occurring sodium in the beans. No salt is added.

For those wishing to eliminate soybeans entirely from their diets, Bragg also produces an Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Who are the Braggs?

When I took the photo above, of my bottle of liquid aminos, I noticed for the first time the picture at the top and the names. Obviously, these are the Braggs who created this wonderful product. But who are Patricia and Paul C. Bragg? My curiosity led me to discover more about them.

Paul

Paul C. Bragg founded the company in 1912. As a teen, he suffered from tuberculosis. As a result, he developed his own eating, breathing and exercise programs, rebuilding his body and reclaiming his health and life.

Reading that, I felt impressed already.

Paul originated and opened the first health food store in the US and pioneered health programs on radio in the 1920s. He established the first health restaurants and spas and created many health related products including herbal teas, supplements, vitamin drinks and seven grain cereals and crackers. And…he created a healthier soy sauce. Throughout his long and healthy life he worked with celebrities, athletes and leaders, teaching others how to live in optimal health.

Patricia

Patricia, Paul’s daughter, took the company over from her father. And like her father, she is a health crusader and advocate.

Patricia conducts health and fitness seminars world wide. She’s authored 10 self health books and continues to teach and promote the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Uses for Bragg Liquid Aminos

Use liquid aminos in place of regular soy sauce.

  • Sprinkle over salads
  • Add a punch of flavor to potatoes, beans or rice
  • Season stir fries
  • Use as an accompaniment for veggie rolls
  • Combine with other ingredients to make a flavorful sauce or marinade

My favorite ways to use Bragg Liquid Aminos include stir fries and as a sauce to dip veggie rolls in.

Try this easy to make sauce to add to a vegetable stir fry:

Combine 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, 1 teaspoon raw organic honey and 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger in a small bowl. Drizzle over stir fry just before serving. Mmmm…perfection.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Order Bragg Liquid Aminos or Bragg Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos below or look for both in your local grocery store.

 

 

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8 Pain Relieving Techniques

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Last week, I shared a post offering healthy alternatives for pain relief, rather than reaching for over the counter meds. Read 7 Natural Pain Remedies.

This week I offer, as promised, techniques for calming inflammation and soothing discomfort, with these 8 Pain Relieving Techniques. The remedies rely on alternative health practices that not only reduce pain, but boost general health as well.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine, used for centuries for health benefits. Long thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points balance the life force, or Qi, that flows through the body.

Acupuncture reduces back pain, relieves neck tension and headaches, and soothes joint pain.

I’ve not experienced acupuncture personally, however I know many who have. They shared positive benefits, after their treatments, including pain relief.

In the Joplin area, check out Aiming’s Acupuncture & Herbs.

Massage

At one time considered a luxury experience, massage is now recognized as beneficial for a variety of health reasons. Pain and muscle tension bring many people to a qualified massage therapist, seeking relief.

Massage eases the pain of headaches, fibromyalgia, myofascial discomfort and muscle tension. It is also effective for soft tissue strains and injuries, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint pain and nerve pain. Massage lowers anxiety and stress as well.

Typically a massage lasts for 30 – 90 minutes.

In the Joplin area, check out my amazing friends Margit at Massage Therapy in Motion and Cindy at Therapeutic Massage.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Reflexology

This ancient healing practice is based on the principle that the feet contain reflex points that correspond to the body’s systems, organs and glands. When pressure is applied to the reflexes in the feet it relieves pain and other disorders in the affected area in the body.

Reflexology relieves pain throughout the body, and is especially beneficial for migraines, headaches, neck pain and back pain.

In the Joplin area, try out JJ Relax Station, Chinese Foot Reflexology & Table Acupressure. Or check out this Reflexology Chart and find a partner to exchange foot rubs with!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are gaining popularity for improving health and wellbeing, and for good reason. There’s an oil for everything!

Try these essential oils for pain relief of these disorders:

  • Lavender – headaches, muscle tension, inflammation
  • Marjoram – muscle spasms, headaches, toothache
  • Peppermint – muscle spasms, headaches, muscle tension
  • Rosemary – joint pain, headaches, muscle soreness, rheumatism
  • Arnica – inflammation, swelling

As a general rule, dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or argon oils. Add 15 drops of essential oil to 6 tablespoons of the carrier oil. Massage onto temples for a headache or the affected area for pain relief.

Connect with my friend Marijo for pure, high quality Young Living Essential Oils.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Ice/Heat

This is an old technique, however it is an effective one. I felt it must be included in the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques as I use it any time my darling left knee gets a twinge.

Icing and applying heat soothes stiff joints, relaxes muscles, eases pain and reduces inflammation and swelling.

Specifically, ice calms injuries and relieves pain, inflammation and swelling. Heat relaxes muscles, increases blood flow, and soothes pain and stiffness.

Use an ice pack or simply a bag of frozen veggies for icing. For heat use a heating pad or a damp towel heated in the microwave or oven. Wrap a dry towel around the ice source and the heating pad or damp towel, to protect skin.

Follow this routine:

  • Ice joint or affected area for 10 minutes
  • Apply heat for 15 – 30 minutes
  • 30 minute break with no ice or heat
  • Repeat process 3 times
  • Take a 2 hour break

Meditation

This mind and the body quieting technique eases stress and relaxes muscles, reducing pain caused by tension. Meditation is especially helpful for easing tense muscles in the back, neck, shoulders, scalp and face.

Reducing the inflammation response in the body is another benefit of meditation, which improves pain and calms swelling as well.

Check out my simple meditation to ease pain, relax muscles and improve overall health and wellbeing.

8 Pain Relieveing Techniques

Reiki

This healing technique taps into the body’s energy field, working at a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Reiki practitioners typically place their hands on or above the affected areas of the body that need a boost or relief from pain, offering energy to the body as needed.

Reiki encourages the body to heal itself, with practitioners serving as vessels through which the energy flows.

 Change in Diet

It is essential that I include this last suggestion. I suffered with chronic pain for more than 20 years, after a car accident. During those two decades I saw doctors, specialists, neurologists, chiropractors and pain management doctors, and I spent five years in physical therapy. I tried meds, injections and exercises, and I wore a TENS unit for a year. My condition continued to deteriorate, making walking nearly impossible. Not once did anyone suggest that I change my diet.

Margit helped, with massage and energy work on my left leg. I ultimately discovered, through Anthony William, that my sciatic nerves were severely inflamed due to the shingles virus. A virus can’t be eliminated with antibiotics, steroid injections or pain meds.

It can be starved by eliminating the foods that it feeds on and by supporting the body’s healing abilities with nutrient rich, plant based foods.

To heal chronic pain (and disorders) caused by shingles or Epstein Barr eliminate gluten, dairy products, eggs and sugar, as these foods feed inflammation and viruses.

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat, processed foods, canola oil and GMO foods such as corn and soy.

This blog, Journey With Healthy Me, was born from my desire to help people live healthier, more vibrant lives, free from pain and disorders. Read about the beginning of this Journey here.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Healing Journey

It’s amazing what that change of diet, which quickly became a lifestyle, did for my health. My chronic pain disappeared. So many other disorders cleared up. It’s an ongoing journey.

When I occasionally experience pain, from a twisted knee or tight muscles or a headache from long hours on the computer, I brew a cup of herbal tea…and try one of the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques.

Do you have natural pain relieving techniques that you use, in place of over the counter meds, pain pills or injections? I’d love to hear about them, in the comments below.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Check out my Amazon Storefront for healing herbal teas and Anthony William’s books.

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

 

 

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

One of the things I’m enjoying, on this plant based journey, is adapting recipes. Stuffed peppers popped into my mind this week. A quick check of my fridge and cupboards revealed I had all the necessary ingredients on hand to create a new healthier version of this old favorite.

My old recipe contained ground beef. My desire to create a veggies and brown rice version seemed doable.

I’ve played around enough with cooking the past couple of years, to gain confidence in pulling together an impromptu recipe.

Here is the result, Vegan Stuffed Peppers.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Vegan Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Vegan Stuffed Peppers
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

This easy to prepare stuffed pepper recipe has all the flavor and it's full of healthy ingredients. Meat, dairy, egg and sugar free.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: journeywithhealthyme

Ingredients

  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 2 cups brown rice cooked
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 1 can corn non GMO, drained
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Wash green peppers, cut in half and remove seeds. Place in baking pan, cut side up.
    Vegan Stuffed Peppers
  • Saute onion and garlic in 1 tbsp coconut oil, until veggies are translucent.
  • Add diced tomatoes and cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and sea salt, stirring to combine. Add black beans and corn, combining well and heating through.
    Vegan Stuffed Peppers
  • Add brown rice and combine well. Pour mixture over green bell pepper halves, filling peppers. Mound remaining mixture around peppers. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove covering and bake another 5 minutes. 6 servings.
    Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Recipe Variations

This is one of those simple recipes that can be adapted according to tastes and ingredients on hand. Any color of pepper is suitable. I happened to have green bell peppers in the fridge.

Swap out the black beans for kidney beans or another vegetable. The same with the corn. I only use non GMO corn. Del Monte carries this product. Check the label to make sure it says “non GMO”. Quinoa can replace the brown rice. During the summer, when the garden is producing, fresh tomatoes would taste great, instead of canned. And fresh peppers from the garden….amazing!

Sampling my vegan stuffed peppers, I declared them excellent! I didn’t miss the ground beef at all. These were tasty and filling and something I will prepare again!

Looking for more meatless meal ideas? Check out these:

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Meatless Dirty Rice

 

Visit my Amazon Storefront for herbal teas, kitchen appliances and gadgets, and books to help your healing journey.

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

7 Natural Pain Remedies

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

Pain drives more people to the doctor, or to the internet, than any other medical symptom. Specifically, seeking relief from pain, whether it be headaches, joint pain or chronic suffering, sends people searching for answers.

I understand. I’ve been the seeker. Chronic pain dogged me for more than 20 years, causing me to decide to just “live with it”…until my condition worsened.

At one time I took as many as eight ibuprofen a day. Sadly, I’ve taken that many at ONE TIME. Ibuprofen and other over the counter pain relievers may dull the pain, however they wreak havoc on the body. Pain relievers can damage the digestive system, create negative changes in gut bacteria and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

From experience, I know that taking too much ibuprofen makes me jittery and causes me to break out in a rash. In fact, I have a sensitivity to ibuprofen now, due to overuse.

7 Natural Pain Remedies

7 Natural Pain Remedies

Gratefully, changing my diet eliminated my chronic pain, by dealing with the root cause of it. For those occasional times when I get a headache or have tight muscles or a flare up of inflammation, the following natural remedies help relieve pain.

Cat’s Claw

This extraordinary herb fights pain throughout the body. And, it truly is a powerful herb for calming inflammation, which is the primary cause for pain. Cat’s Claw contains bioactive pharma-compounds that rival synthetic drugs for healing a host of disorders, killing viruses, easing tight muscles and soothing pain.

Take Cat’s Claw in capsule or alcohol free tincture form, or use dried leaves to brew tea.

Try this: Add one teaspoon dried Cat’s Claw to one cup boiling water. Let steep for five minutes. Add lemon and honey, if desired.

Ginger

Ginger powerfully blocks the formation of inflammatory compounds. It breaks down inflammation and acidity in joint fluid. And ginger is antispasmodic, calming tense muscles after an overly busy day and flushing excess lactic acid from muscle tissue. One cup of ginger tea settles an upset stomach and relaxes tight muscles for up to 12 hours.

Use fresh ginger in juices and recipes. Consume as a tea or take in capsule form.

Try this: Apple Celery Ginger Juice

7 Natural Pain Remedies

Magnesium

Many people are magnesium deficient. As a result they can suffer from a multitude of disorders, including migraines, nerve pain and muscle spasms. Magnesium reduces tension in and around the trigeminal nerves, relieving migraines and relaxes spasming muscles. It also eases the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Take this important supplement in capsule form.

Try this: Magnesium Capsules

Turmeric

This powerful herb, used as a spice in curry, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The pain relieving ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It improves circulation, lowers the enzymes that cause inflammation and eases the pain associated with tendonitis and autoimmune disorders.

Use fresh or ground turmeric in cooking or take in capsule form.

Try this: Dairy Free Turmeric Milk

Chamomile

This mild herb relaxes muscles, eases tension and helps insomnia. Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that aid the digestive system along with easing migraines and reducing the pain and swelling associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders.

Take Chamomile in capsule or alcohol free tincture form, or brew the dried flowers and create tea.

Try this: Add one teaspoons of dried Chamomile to one cup of boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

7 Natural Pain Remedies

Feverfew

This daisy-like plant possesses powerful pain relieving properties. Taking feverfew daily lessens the pain of migraines and helps to prevent the reoccurrence of these debilitating headaches by preventing the widening of blood vessels that precipitates an attack. Feverfew also relieves the symptoms that accompany migraines, including light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting.

Feverfew reduces inflammation in the nervous system as well as in the joints, making it beneficial to those suffering from arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Take feverfew in capsule form, in an alcohol free tincture or use the dried flowers to brew tea.

Try this: Dried Feverfew

Valerian Root

This herb relieves insomnia and reduces tension in tired muscles. Valerian root calms stress and soothes anxiety and irritability. It eases pain by reducing nerve sensitivity.

Take valerian root in capsule or alcohol free tincture form or used the dried root to brew tea.

Try this: Combine one teaspoon dried valerian root with one teaspoon dried chamomile flowers. Add boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with honey, if desired. Drink before bedtime, for a great night’s sleep.

Bonus Natural Pain Remedies

My recent experience with CBD infused water allows me to highly recommend CBD products for pain relief as well. Check out my post HERE. And watch next week for Part 2 in this series: Natural Pain Relief Techniques

7 Natural Pain Remedies

Choosing Natural Pain Remedies

I hope these natural pain remedies provide options, the next time a sore knee or a nagging headache troubles you. It seems easier to reach for the ibuprofen bottle. However, not only do these pain remedies provide relief, over time they benefit the body in myriad ways.

My desire to have my own little apothecary birthed the herb garden in my backyard. Each year, I add more herbs, and discover more ways to use them, to my great benefit. I’m so excited to welcome spring…and the planting season.

7 Natrual Pain Remedies

Check out my Amazon Storefront, for more dried herbs and herbal teas.

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