Cover Girl for Health

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Yesterday I received a delightful surprise, just as I was meeting a friend for lunch. A notification popped up on my phone, as I tucked it into my purse. Lisa, my contact at the national magazine First for Women, sent me an email. It opened with these words:

“Hi Cindy, your issue comes out today and I just learned you’re on the cover!!”

And just like that, I became a cover girl, a cover girl for health!

Cover Girl for Health Title Meme

A Magazine Reaches Out

Lisa contacted me in July, shortly after my mother and I appeared in another national magazine, Woman’s World. My contact there found me through my Instagram account and asked if Mom and I could answer some health related questions for her. The July issue of Woman’s World would include a feature article about Anthony William, the Medical Medium, and the wonders of celery juice.

She read in my Instagram posts that Mom and I experienced remarkable health transformations after following Anthony’s protocols. Both of us healed from a host of ailments and health issues. As our eating habits shifted and our bodies recovered we naturally lost weight. You can read about that fun adventure, doing a photo shoot and appearing in Woman’s World Magazine HERE. When that issue hit the stands, Mom graced the front cover! What a wonderful surprise for her. She looks adorable, holding her celery juice.

Cover Girl for Health Photo Shoot
Asenath, from Dr Flys Salon, did an excellent job with our hair and makeup. Photographer Patty Jesse took the photos for Woman’s World.
Cover Girl for Health Womans World Magazine
There is my sweet mom on the cover of Womans World Magazine. She was the first Cover Girl for Health in our family!

A Second Opportunity

Mom and I enjoyed sharing that first time experience of being featured in a magazine story and having a professional photo shoot. I’m grateful for her willingness to jump into adventures with me.

When Lisa contacted me, she explained that First for Women is a sister magazine to Woman’s World. First for Women planned a feature in their October issue about celery juice and Anthony William. She wondered if she could ask me some questions.

I’m always happy to help people with health related questions. Severe chronic sciatica led me down a dark path of pain and ultimately despair. At my lowest point, faced with the prospect of needing a wheelchair, I asked for Divine help and looked for answers beyond what I’d been told by the medical community. That’s when I discovered Anthony. He truly is a Godsend and a blessing in my life. My desire is to provide an answer to someone else’s question and cry for help.

After a few email exchanges, Lisa contacted me with the announcement that her editor wanted to use my story in their October issue. Since First for Women had access to the photos from the Woman’s World shoot, I wouldn’t need to have another session. I’m sure that saved time and money for the magazine too. I agreed, happy again to help.

Cover Girl for Health Mom and Cindy
The inside story, with the text covered up, in Womans World Magazine.

Cover Girl for Health

Truthfully, I had almost forgotten about the story in First for Women. Because I didn’t have to do a photo shoot or fill out additional releases and interviews, the time passed and I became busy with a trip to Scotland and the blogs.

Funny enough, as I showered yesterday morning, the thought popped into my head “Oh…I wonder when the story comes out for First for Women?” From past experience I knew that the magazines release early. I looked forward to seeing the story and discovering which photo the magazine used, of the hundreds that Patty Jesse took. I had no inkling that I’d be on the cover. Lisa’s email arrived in my inbox a couple of hours later.

It’s been fun, being on the cover. I’ve received many messages from friends and family. It’s also a bit of a shock, in a giggly kind of way, to walk into Walmart and see my image on a magazine at the check out. And of course, the magazine leads with the weight I lost as a result of my healthier lifestyle. In the article within the magazine, they offer more benefits. Truthfully, weight loss was not my motivation for drinking celery juice and changing to a plant based lifestyle. Improving my health, easing my severe pain and walking without a cane drove me to shift my diet.

My Desire

However, weight loss articles attract readers. I totally get that. In the past I’ve bought many magazines and books with the intention of losing weight. What I discovered is that focusing on health delivered the side benefit of losing the extra weight, easily.

My sincere desire is that women pick up the magazine, curious about the weight loss aspect, and read the story. May they find answers to their questions about health issues. May they find healing. And may they find hope for a better quality of life.

For all those reasons, I’m honored to be the cover girl for health. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Cover Girl for Health On Sale Now
The October issue of First for Women, on sale now wherever magazines are sold.

Have a question?

If you’d like more info about my healing journey, please check out these posts:

Welcome to my Healing Journey Blog

Following a Plant Based Lifestyle – One Year Update

Celebrating Two Years on a Plant Based Lifestyle

Three Years Plant Based

And please ask me any questions you have, in the comments below or through the contact form.

Pick up Anthony’s books in my storefront:

Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

 

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Summer Succotash

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As summer winds down and fall approaches, gardens offer their final harvests. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the bounty with meals created with fresh produce.

I browsed through cookbooks today, looking for something new, something different to try, that incorporates end of the season vegetables. The one that appealed to me the most is a simple, wholesome recipe that is quickly prepared in the pressure cooker. This summer succotash features fresh foods such as onions, tomatoes, corn and okra.

Summer Succotash Title Meme

Creating a Summer Succotash

Succotash is an American culinary dish consisting of sweet corn and lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients include tomatoes, green bell peppers and okra. When served with a grain, such as brown rice or quinoa, succotash is high in all the essential amino acids that the body requires.

Fresh shell beans are removed from a pod and eaten. There are many varieties. The most common shell beans are lima, fava, borlotti and chickpeas. I’ve also seen what’s called purple hull beans in my area of the Midwest. However, a search at the farmer’s market and local grocery stores didn’t yield any shell beans. No worries. The original recipe didn’t include them. I scratched them off my list.

Summer Succotash Fresh Produce

Creating a Summer Succotash

At the local farmer’s market I did find plenty of tomatoes (my plants at home are just about done for the season) and containers of fresh okra. People either love okra or they don’t! I’m in the love category.

This flowering plant in the mallow family produces bright green pods that are edible. Known to many as a food to pickle or to cover in corn meal and fry, okra also does well lightly sauteed with other veggies and as an ingredient in soups and stews.

Okra is a great source of fiber. It’s also high in vitamins A, B6, C and K and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Summer Succotash Mix

Summer Succotash in the Pressure Cooker

Summer Succotash Recipe

Use fresh produce for this easy summer succotash. Because I only eat non GMO corn, I purchased a can labeled such, rather than use fresh corn on the cob. This recipe came from my Vegan Under Pressure Cookbook.

Summer Succotash

Enjoy late summer produce with this quick and easy succotash.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Succotash, Summer Succotash
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 large ear of sweet corn, kernels removed about 1 1/2 cups (may use 1 can non GMO corn)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • With the top removed, heat pressure cooker and saute onion in small amount of vegetable stock or coconut oil.
  • When onions are translucent, add okra. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add corn and vegetable broth. Stir. Lay diced tomatoes on top of other veggies. Do not stir.
  • Lock on lid of pressure cooker. Cook on steamer setting for 2 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Remove lid, stir and serve over grain such as brown rice or quinoa. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Delicious Summer Meal

Because of the pressure cooker, this recipe came together so fast, I barely had time to reheat the brown rice I’d already prepared! I love a quick and healthy homecooked meal when I come in late after a long day. This one is perfect.

And I used my vegetable broth made from scraps in this recipe as well. I’m loving the convenience of this simple and flavorful broth. You can find the recipe HERE. I made a fresh batch of vegetable broth this afternoon and used some of it for the summer succotash.

This meal is light and yet filling. The fresh flavors of late summer shine through. Add smoked paprika or a small amount of chopped pepper, to spice it up. Or garnish with favorite fresh herbs. Until the frost comes and officially ends the growing season, summer succotash goes into my meal rotation!

Summer Succotash Meal

 

Order Vegan Under Pressure by clicking link above or clicking on the photo below.

 

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7 Fun Health Tips to Try This Week

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With all the serious emphasis placed on health, mine included, it felt like time to write up a fun post. Daily I appreciate the miraculous way that the body functions. And I am deeply grateful for the role that healthy, highly nutritious foods play to support that body. I continue to learn and grow in the area of health and wellness.

For today’s post, I chose to feature a collection of tips that can boost health in minutes a day, and spark fun too.

Here are 7 fun health tips to try this week.

7 Fun Health Tips Title Meme

A Week of Health Tips to Try

An easy way to incorporate these tips, without feeling overwhelm or obligation, is to add one activity to each day of the week. None of the 7 fun health tips to try take more than a few minutes and yet the rewards are great.

And of course, feel free to change up these suggestions! Do three of the tips in one day. Stretch on Wednesday instead of Sunday. Make up your own fun list. These activities are meant to inspire and encourage and raise awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle…at any age.

7 Fun Health Tips Stretch

Sunday – Stretch

We can learn much from watching cats! When they wake up, they stretch. Gentle stretches stimulate the muscles, increasing blood flow and easing tightness. Stretches are a great way to wake up the body. And regularly stretching keeps muscles limber and reduces the risk of injury.

Before getting out of bed, spend five minutes stretching arms and legs. Stretch…hold…release the muscles. Be very gentle.

7 Fun Health Tips Try Something New

Monday – Try Something New

Learning something new, whether it’s a language or a musical instrument or a hobby, boosts the brain by creating fresh pathways. American researchers coined the phrase “neurobics” for tasks that activate the brain’s biochemical pathways and create new ones that help to strengthen or preserve existing circuits.

Spend a few minutes learning something new. Download a language app and practice for five minutes a day. Learn a new game. Paint with your non-dominant hand. Drive to work a different way. Mixing things up fires up the brain and that helps to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

7 Fun Health Tips Berries

Tuesday – Eat Berries

On this day, replace a dessert or even a meal with a big bowl of berries. Include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. These superfoods contain nutrients called anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. And blueberries are high in resveratrol, the antioxidant compound found in grapes. Resveratrol helps to protect against heart disease, cancer and the effects of aging.

Grab a bowl of berries and savor them. Resist the urge to cover them in sugar or toss them over a scoop of ice cream. Appreciate the natural flavor of the juicy berries and the role they play in keeping the body healthy.

7 Fun Health Tips Walk

Wednesday – Walk Outside

On this day, head outdoors. Walk in a park, through the woods, across a field or around the track at a school. Just get outside and walk for 15 to 30 minutes.

We know that walking tones the body, burns calories, strengthens muscles, helps to maintain a healthy weight and gets the heart pumping. In addition, walking outdoors also reduces negative thoughts, clears the mind and boosts self confidence.

7 Fun Health Tips Read

Thursday – Read

Among the 7 fun health tips to try, this one may come as a surprise. It’s a delightful one, I hope! Studies have shown that reading for just 6 to 10 minutes can reduce stress. Losing yourself in a book lowers the stress hormone cortisol by 67%.

Grab a favorite book, or one you’ve never read before, and find a place to relax for a few minutes while you read. The mental distraction frees the mind from anxiety and thoughts that keep circling around. Bonus health tip: brew a cup of herbal tea to sip on while you enjoy your book.

7 Fun Health Tips Breathe Deeply

Friday – Breathe Deeply

Pausing to take long deep breaths improves circulation, reduces stress, calms the mind and body and lowers high blood pressure.

During the day, be aware of stress or feeling overwhelmed. Pause and take three deep breaths, breathing in through the nose for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of four and slowly releasing the breath through the mouth. Deep breathing can be practiced anywhere, at anytime…while at the office, sitting in traffic or during a bathroom break.

7 Fun Health Tips Laughter

Saturday – Belly Laugh

Talk about a fun health tip! Laughter truly does the body good. It increases blood flow by 20%, relaxing and expanding the lining of blood vessels. That increase of oxygen rich blood is good for heart health. Laughter also lifts mood and boosts the immune system. Feel a cold coming on? Laugh as your first line of defense.

Spend a few minutes on this day working up to a good belly laugh. Watch YouTube funnies. Recall a favorite scene from a comedy and watch the entire movie when you can. Read jokes from a book. Watch kids or pets play. Energetically open up the chest and stomach areas (the heart and solar plexus chakras) and allow genuine laughter to flow. You’ll feel better and so will those around you. Laughter is contagious.

Use these activities as a launching pad and create more fun health tips to enjoy. I promise you, the more you look for ways to bring health and wellness into your life, the more ideas will show up.

I’d love to hear about the 7 fun health tips you come up with!

 

Check out these fun health finds:

 


 

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6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety

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Anxiety. Most of us have experienced it. For some, it is a daily occurrence that dims joy and creates a host of health problems.

Stressful events such as moving, the birth of a baby, job interviews, public speaking, relationship issues and financial strain can create a heightened sense of nervousness that we call anxiety.

Check out the symptoms below. And then read on for 6 teas that soothe anxiety, naturally.

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Title Meme

Symptoms of Anxiety

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of anxiety:

  •  restless sleep or insomnia
  •  muscle tension, especially in jaw, neck and scalp
  •  chronic indigestion and digestive disorders
  •  extreme nervousness before an event – “stage fright”
  •  worry and self-doubt
  •  self-consciousness
  •  excessive worry and fixating on a particular outcome
  •  obsessive compulsive disorder
  •  repetitive motions such as hair pulling, lip chewing, fingernail biting
  •  panic
  •  irrational fears

**for severe or chronic anxiety and accompanying depression, please see your doctor or mental health care professional.

Ways to destress and soothe minor anxiety include meditation, deep breathing, exercise, getting out into nature and drinking tea. The following teas are the best for calming the body and relieving the symptoms of anxiety.

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Chamomile
Chamomile Tea

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is well known for its soothing effects. Studies show that chamomile tea binds to GABA receptors in the brain, inducing relaxation. In fact, this herbal tea, made from the flowers of the chamomile plant, targets the nervous system receptors in the same way that medications such as Xanax do.

Brew tea by pouring boiling water into a cup containing 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile flowers. Cover and steep 15 minutes. Stain. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink before bed or when feeling anxious.

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm leaves have a lemony flavor and aroma. This powerful herb reduces stress without the side effects of medications. Researchers found that drinking lemon balm tea significantly reduces anxiety, for up to three hours after consumption.

Use 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon balm in a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Remove leaves. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink lemon balm tea throughout the day, to soothe anxiety and restlessness and calm panic.

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm Tea

Rose Tea

This mild and slightly sweet tea is made from rose petals. Rose tea has analgesic and relaxation properties. It increases deep sleep and reduces the amount of time that it takes to fall asleep. This tea affects the benzodiazepine receptors in the same way that prescription meds such as Xanax and Clonazepam do.

Flavonoids in the rose petals target the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. They also ease inflammation and relieve pain.

Add one heaping tablespoon of dried rose petals to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain. Sweeten with honey if desired.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from Camelia sinensis leaves and buds that have not undergone the oxidation process used to make oolong and black teas. It has many health benefits. It’s rich in the amino acid L-theanine and antioxidants and polyphenols that boost health and ease anxiety by calming nervousness.

L-theanine directly affects the brain by increasing alpha wave activity. It also increases relaxation without causing drowsiness.

Brew green tea by placing a tea bag in hot, but not boiling, water. Boiling water can make the tea taste bitter. Cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove tea bag. Sweeten with honey if desired.

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Lavender Tea

Lavender is famous for its calming properties and very useful for soothing anxiety and stress.

Studies show that inhaling the scent of lavender calms the body and improves deep sleep. It also elevates energy levels when awake. Lavender encourages the production of dopamine, the brain’s feel good chemical. Additionally, it lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

Add 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers to very hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink lavender tea an hour before bedtime, to improve sleep quality. Or drink this delicately flavored floral tea throughout the day to lower stress levels.

Passionflower Tea

Passionflower tea is made from flowers from the Passiflora family. This mildly flavored tea has a slightly sweet floral taste and scent.

Flavonoids in passionflower tea affect the GABA receptors in the brain. This plant also contains the flavone chrysin, which effectively reduces anxiety.

Add one teaspoon of dried passionflower petals to a cup of very hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Stain. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink before bedtime for a better night’s sleep or throughout the day to lower stress levels.

Take Time for Tea

The next time a long day creates stress or a situation threatens to overwhelm, pause and brew a cup of one of these 6 teas that soothe anxiety.

One of the best things about a cup of herbal tea, beyond the many health benefits, is that it inspires us to take a time out. That break helps us to relax and unwind and quite literally, catch our breath.

I love practicing afternoon tea time daily for that reason. For a few minutes I pause and savor a cup of hot tea. It’s a great way to bring my attention fully into the present moment and check in with my body to see how I’m doing. It is me time, delightfully so.

Do you have a favorite tea, that helps you to destress and relax?

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Passionflower
Pick up a pretty glass teapot HERE.

Purchase dried herbs for tea below:

 


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DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps

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Have you ever thought about making your own vegetable broth?

I’ve thought about it. However, I’ve never been inspired enough to do so. All that chopping of veggies deterred me. For convenience, I’ve purchased organic vegetable stock.

Last week I came across a simple and amazing recipe for DIY broth from vegetable scraps. Inspiration struck! Because I make juices and eat a plant based diet, I have lots of vegetable scraps. Those go into the trash or into a compost canister…and often then into the trash as I don’t have a dedicated compost pile.

What if I used the veggie leftovers to create broth? I can, I discovered. And the best part? Because these are the scraps, they are already in small pieces. No additional chopping required. Second best part? I used my pressure cooker to create a perfect batch of broth in 30 minutes.

DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps Title Meme

What Scraps to Use

Throughout the week, as you prep meals, place vegetable scraps in a gallon size container and store in the freezer. When the container is full, it’s time to make broth.

These vegetables are perfect for broth making:

  •  red and yellow onion pieces and skins
  •  garlic pieces and skins
  •  celery ends and tips – avoid using many leaves as they can be bitter
  •  carrot ends and tips
  •  tomatoes pieces
  •  asparagus stems
  •  bell pepper ends, stems and seeds
  •  mushroom stems and pieces
  •  spinach
  •  zucchini pieces and ends

Don’t use starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. They cloud the broth. Also avoid cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts because of bitterness.

DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps
Thawed and rinsed veggie scraps ready to cook. I added additional fresh tomatoes from my garden.

DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps

Vegetable broth may be used for soup and stew starters, to cook rice and pasta in, to saute vegetables in or to replace water for cooking vegetables.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps

Make your own delicious and nutritious broth from leftover vegetable scraps.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps
Servings: 8 cups

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon container vegetable scraps, frozen
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Instructions

  • Thaw, at least partially, gallon container of frozen vegetable scraps. Rinse veggies.
  • Place vegetable scraps in pressure cooker.
  • Add water, bay leaves, sea salt and dried herbs.
  • Cover cooker and bring to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Allow natural release.
  • Carefully remove lid. Strain broth through fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth. Store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or freeze and keep for 3 - 6 months.
DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps Ready to cook
Veggie scraps in the pressure cooker with herbs. I added two chopped carrots to the scraps.
Cooked vegetable scraps.
Cooked vegetable scraps. It isn’t beautiful, however, doesn’t it look yummy?
Draining veggie scrapsl
I used cheesecloth inside a colander to strain the broth.

The Finished DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps

The broth smelled wonderful as it cooked. Smell is an important sense for me when I’m cooking, as it is for many. When something “smells right”, that’s a good indicator. The broth smelled very right.

After allowing the pressure cooker to release steam naturally, meaning I didn’t turn the knob on top to release it manually, I lifted the lid and peeked inside.

What began as a mess of scraps transformed into a rich and savory looking broth. In the sink the cheesecloth draped colander rested over a glass bowl. I carefully poured the contents of the cooker into the colander and allowed it to drain completely.

The broth is excellent. I sampled a spoonful, to make sure the flavor is up to par. It is! In fact, it tastes much better than what I purchase.

I LOVE that I have a use for all my leftover vegetable scraps. It makes me feel so good to know I am not wasting those bits and pieces. Rather, I am turning waste into something that I can use. And, I know exactly what’s in my broth: veggies, water, herbs, sea salt. Nothing more.

Tomorrow night I’ll prepare Lentils and Brown Rice in my pressure cooker, using one of my containers of DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps. And I’m already collecting veggie scraps for my next batch of broth. I feel ridiculously excited!

DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps Finished
The recipe made three containers of broth, about 3 cups each.

 

Pick up Vegan Pressure Cooking, the book that inspired the DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps.

And grab a Pressure Cooker by clicking on the photo below:

 

 

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Horsetail Herb

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This plant with the funny name, Horsetail Herb, is new to me. However its impressive list of nutrients earns it the nickname, “the repairing plant”. Take a look at the healing benefits of this little known but health boosting herb.

Horsetail Herb Title Meme

What is Horsetail Herb?

Horsetail is a perennial herb. There are 15 different species of this plant although common horsetail is used most often medicinally.

The herb grows in rich, damp soil throughout temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, including the US, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The stems and leaves provide the health benefits. In the spring, horsetail herb puts up a brown stem that resembles asparagus. Cones filled with spores form atop the stems. As the plant dries, silica crystals form in stems and leaves, creating a feathery tail effect.

Horsetail Herb Bundles

Horsetail Herb Nutrients

Horsetail contains a long list of nutrients and beneficial compounds, including:

  •  vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E & K
  •  folate
  •  potassium
  •  sodium
  •  calcium
  •  magnesium
  •  iron
  •  zinc
  •  copper
  •  phenolic compounds
  •  silica
  •  kynurenic acid
  •  styrylpyrones
  •  chlorophyll

Pretty impressive, right? This is a plant I wanted to know more about, especially since it repairs and restores the body.

Horsetail Herb

Health Benefits of Horsetail Herb

This potent herb provides the following healing benefits:

Aids Hair Growth

Horsetail is rich in silica, an important mineral that supports hair growth. Studies suggest that hair strands with a higher silica content have a lower fall out rate and appear healthier and brighter. Horsetail is one of the best sources of silica and improves nail and skin health as well.

Improves Brittle Nails

Horsetail may be used topically or taken internally to improve brittle nails. Again, it’s the high silica content in the herb that boosts nail, hair and skin health.

Natural Diuretic

The herb is a natural diuretic that helps with edema, puffiness caused by excess water stored in the body. Horsetail improves edema without the side effects affecting liver or kidney function or causing an electrolyte imbalance.

Soothes Joint Inflammation

Horsetail is an ancient remedy for joint disease, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The powerful herb soothes and calms inflammation and eases degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The compound kynurenic acid is responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and pain relieving properties. These abilities place horsetail herb in a super group of plants including peppermint, nettle and birch leaf, all high in kynurenic acid.

Helps to Heal Wounds and Burns

The silica in horsetail is key to the formation of collagen, a key skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. Studies show that horsetail helps wounds and burns to heal while easing associated pain.

Antimicrobial Properties

Horsetail Herb stops the growth and kills microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. It is also effective against staph infections and candida.

Dried Horsetal Herb

Using Horsetail Herb

Horsetail may be purchased as a dried herb, tea, capsules or tinctures. Also available are creams and lotions that contain horsetail herb and hair and nail products for topical use.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of horsetail herb…and my favorite…is by brewing tea.

Pour one cup of boiling water over 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Use a strong horsetail herb tea as a rinse after shampooing, to strengthen hair. Tea may also be used to bathe wounds and burns.

Cautions

Be careful foraging for this plant. Although it commonly grows near water, there is a variety known as marsh horsetail that is poisonous.

Mild side effects from the herb include upset stomach, diarrhea and increased urination. Taking too much horsetail herb can cause kidney pain, low back pain, heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting so don’t take more than the recommended dosage or drink more than one cup of tea a day.

Check with your doctor about taking horsetail if you are pregnant, nursing a baby or have low potassium levels. Horsetail may lower blood sugar and potassium levels. Also check with the doctor if you are taking medications for diabetes or water retention or if you are taking lithium, as horsetail may interact with these drugs.

Horsetail Herb Teal

 

Pick up dried horsetail HERE or purchase capsules HERE.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

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When I have the itch to try a new recipe, on a hot and muggy day, I turn to my pressure pot. Not only is my meal ready in minutes, the kitchen stays cool. I thumbed through one of my vegan pressure cooker books for inspiration. The one that caught my interest, Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale, was easily adapted to meet my dietary needs. I also had most of the ingredients on hand.

Navy Beans Brown Rice & Kale Title Meme

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

I chose this recipe because I love the combination of beans and rice. Throw in some greens…kale in this case…and some onion, garlic and seasonings and it’s the perfect quick meal for me.

After an afternoon busy with real estate, it was a joy to come home and prepare a fast and nutritious meal in the pressure cooker.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

This delicious recipe comes together quickly in the pressure cooker.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Navy Beans Brown Rice Kale

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried navy beans
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chopped kale, loosely packed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain navy beans
  • In uncovered pressure cooker, heat coconut oil. I set the pressure cooker to the "fish" setting to saute. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, until onion softens. Cancel setting,
  • Add navy beans, brown rice, kale, bay leaf, thyme and vegetable broth. Stir and cover. Cook for 25. Allow for a natural release.
  • Carefully remove lid. Discard bay leaf. Add lemon juice and sea salt. Makes four servings.
  • *Collard greens or spinach may be substituted for kale, if desired. Water may be substituted for vegetable broth.
Navy Bean Brown Rice & Kale
The start of something good. Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into bite sized pieces.
Onions in Pressure Cooker
Onions and garlic in pressure cooker.

The Start of Something Good

As I tidied up the kitchen, the tantalizing aroma of dinner cooking filled the room. If the navy beans, brown rice & kale tasted as good as it smelled, I’d count this recipe a success.

I didn’t have to wait long to find out! Twenty five minutes later, the timer went off. I allowed the steam to release naturally, which means I didn’t turn the knob on top of the pressure cooker to manually release the steam. Instead, I let it seep out, which took another 10 minutes or so.

At last I carefully lifted the lid. After removing the bay leaf, I added freshly squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of sea salt.

Into the pressure cooker
Into the pressure pot.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale Taste Test

After ladling up a bowl of this quick and hearty meal, and taking a photo of course, I sampled a spoonful.

This easy to prepare meal was SO GOOD! The flavors of the beans, rice and kale blended perfectly. And the thyme and bay leaf added just the right amount of seasoning.

I carried my steaming bowl into the living room and savored my meal, sitting in my favorite chair. I’ll definitely be making this recipe often. As summer gives way to the cooler temps of fall, navy beans, brown rice & kale will go into my meal rotation, to be enjoyed often.

Navy Beans Brown Rice & Kale

Check out this pressure cooker recipe as well:

Lentils & Brown Rice

Order one of these plant based pressure pot cookbooks!

 

Health Benefits of Fennel

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In past years, I’ve enjoyed creating tea blends using dried fennel seeds. This year, for the first time, I’m growing fennel in my garden. The bulbs and seeds are far from harvest ready. However, the frilly green fronds, reminiscent of dill, inspired me to create another first this evening…fennel leaf tea.

Like most herbs, the health benefits of fennel are many and the plant has been used since ancient times.

Health Benefits of Fennel

What is Fennel?

Fennel, a member of the carrot and celery family, originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s now grown around the world. This ancient herb produces a white bulb. From the bulb long green stalks appear. And on those stalks grow feathery green leaves that resemble dill.

The entire plant is edible…bulb, stalks, leaves and even the seeds that appear after flowering. Fennel is aromatic, smelling a bit like anise, while the flavor is distinctly licorice-like.

The herb is rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants and high in fiber. Other nutrients include vitamins A, C and K, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin and copper.

While it’s a popular vegetable for culinary purposes, fennel is valuable for its healing properties as well.

Health Benefits of Fennel Plant

Health Benefits of Fennel

The health benefits of fennel include:

Aids Digestion

Fennel supports a healthy digestive system. The fiber prevents constipation and cleanses toxins and debris from the large intestine. Chewing the seeds after a meal eliminates bad breath and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. Fennel relieves acid reflux, gas, cramping and bloating and balances pH levels within the stomach.

Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease

High fiber foods such as fennel reduce cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The herb’s vitamin C protects the cardio system as well.

Eases Menopausal Symptoms

Early trials, giving post menopausal women fennel, found that symptoms such as sleeping issues, night sweats, flushing and hot flashes were relieved.

Improves Eye Health

Fennel’s antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, leading to improved vision. Fennel also appears to slow the progression of macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in the elderly.

Fresh Fennel Leaves
Fresh fennel leaves from my garden.

Helps to Prevent Cancer

The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Fennel contains an oil called anethole which acts as a natural remedy against breast cancer cells.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Another one of the health benefits of fennel is the ability to lower blood pressure. The herb’s high potassium levels and low sodium combine to lower systolic blood pressure, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Maintains Healthy Bones

Because of its high calcium content, fennel strengthens and maintains healthy bones. The plant’s magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K all contribute toward bone health as well.

Improves Skin

Fennel’s vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It works to reduce free radicals that can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging. Vitamin C is necessary in the formation of collagen, another vital component for youthful skin.

Fennel Leaf Tea

Enjoying Fennel

Fennel can be enjoyed many ways. Sliced, the bulb adds crunch and sweetness to salads. Or the slices add flavor to stir fries and sautéed vegetables.

The stalks can replace celery in recipes while the tender fennel leaves are great added to salads or steamed with other veggies. Use the leaves to create pesto or to top baked potatoes. Steep the seeds or leaves in hot water for 15 minutes, to create a soothing and healing tea.

Using herbs for tea is one of my favorite health practices. I often enjoy a delicious blend of lemon balm, fennel seeds and thyme tea. This evening I decided to try something different.

I snipped several fennel fronds from my plants in the garden and prepared a fresh fennel tea. After adding hot water to a cup containing the leaves, I covered it and let the tea steep for 15 minutes.

The resulting tea had a delicate, subtle licorice flavor combined with the earthiness of a green tea. I enjoyed it very much.

Herbs contain such amazing properties. I’m grateful for the health benefits of fennel…and the other medicinal plants in my garden.

Freshly Brewed Fennel Tea

Order dried fennel seeds by clicking photo below.

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National Wellness Month

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August is National Wellness Month. Founded last year, its purpose is to foster community, connection and commerce in the wellness industry. All during August, National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines that become healthy lifestyles.

Whether challenging ourselves to try a new yoga pose or making small daily changes, we can positively impact our health in lasting ways.

National Wellness Month Title Meme

The Definition of Wellness

Curious, I looked up wellness, even though I use the word frequently in connection with my health.

“Wellness: the state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.”

I really like that definition. Wellness doesn’t just happen. It is created, intentionally, with awareness and actions that lead to a goal.

In honor of National Wellness Month I considered what health related goals to pursue during August. I’ve adopted a plant based lifestyle and I’ve made many changes in my health and wellbeing as a result of daily choices. However, there is always room for improvement.

Following are my actively sought health goals for National Wellness Month.

National Wellness Month Walk

Walk More

This challenge comes at a good time. I just returned from a trip to Scotland and while in Edinburgh and the Borders, I walked daily. The best way to explore a city or a village is to walk the charming streets. I love the way my body responds when I walk more. The muscles in my legs may protest at first, however the increased activity eventually loosens tight muscles and strengthens my legs and back.

While I hold good intentions of continuing the daily walks when I return home from trips, I’ve yet to continue the practice for long. Goal number one for August….walk more. I may not get in 10,000 steps a day, which roughly equals five miles. However, I can focus on walking more.

National Wellness Month Water

Drink 64 Ounces of Water

Another practice I want to continue is drinking an adequate amount of water. Since replacing plastic one-use bottles with a metal water bottle, I’ve discovered that I naturally drink more water.

Goal number two for National Wellness Month is to track my water intake better, making sure I’m getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. My metal water bottle holds 20 ounces and my large mason jar, in which I create herb, veggie and fruit infused water, holds 32 ounces. I can easily keep track of how much water I’m drinking with a slight increase in awareness.

National Wellness Month Yoga

Practice Yoga/Meditation/Stretching Daily

Before my international trip, I was doing well with this daily practice. Each morning I engaged in a short yoga routine, stretches and meditation. Each evening, before bed, I did the yoga and stretches again. I experienced increased flexibility in my legs and back.

I ran through the stretches and yoga poses a couple of times, while in Edinburgh. Even though I hoped to stretch and do yoga daily while on my trip, it just didn’t happen, due to eagerness to get out and explore.

Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back into a daily routine. Goal number three is to develop this important habit again.

National Wellness Month Sleep
My cat Shy Boy can give me some tips about sleeping well!

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep at Night

I’ve never been great at sleeping at night. I’m a night owl, since babyhood. In the past months I’ve fallen into the very unhealthy habit of working on blogs and writing and social media until the wee hours of the morning. I often crawl into bed about 3:00 am or even later. And yet I’m up a few hours later, to begin another day.

Recovering from my travels, after my return home, I’ve retired for the night by midnight most nights and a few evenings, I clicked out the light and sank into my bed while it was still light outside. Going to bed early those nights, I appreciated the health benefits of getting a good long sleep.

I want more nights like those.

Goal number four, for National Wellness Month, is to get to bed by midnight or earlier, every night. Chronic sleep deprivation can seriously undermine health. I don’t need to sabotage mine by cheating myself on sleep.

National Wellness Month Outdoors

Get Outdoors at Least 30 Minutes a Day

I wanted a fun wellness goal for this month. As I considered possibilities, I recalled that each day as I walk out to my car, I longingly eye the Red Bud Tree in the front yard. This year the brave little tree produced a gorgeous full canopy, for the first time since the 2011 tornado damaged it. I see those limbs, heavy with heart-shaped leaves, trailing down to the soft green grass….and I yearn to sit on a quilt there beneath the tree.

Goal number five for August is to give in to that desire and get outside every day for at least 30 minutes. I know. August can be very warm and humid in Missouri. However, it’s cool there in the shade of the Red Bud Tree. I can carry out a book or my laptop or a journal. Or I can simply enjoy sitting there on a quilt under the fluttering leaves and daydream for thirty minutes. There are other outdoor spaces that I can enjoy but the tree is my primary destination.

National Wellness Month Challenge

Those are my wellness challenge goals for August. By my actions, I am proclaiming “I choose wellness”.

What actively pursued goals will you set, for National Wellness Month? Join me in being intentional in creating wellness in all aspects of our lives. Join me in saying, “I choose wellness” and share your goals with me. Post photos on social media that show you taking those action steps. Include the hashtags #wellfie and #wellnessmonth.

Let’s be healthy, and embody wellness, at every age.

National Wellness Month Cindy

Check out these wellness products!


 

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Plant Based in Edinburgh

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As one who eats a plant based diet, it is crucial for me to adhere to that lifestyle when I travel. For me there’s no eating whatever I want while on vacation or exploring another country. The consequences are almost immediate and dire, if I stray.

I’m okay with following healthy practices away from home. I know my body thanks me for not throwing it off balance and I thrive, no matter where I am. Therefore, I am fine being plant based in Edinburgh…or any other city in the world.

Perhaps you have not adopted a plant based lifestyle…yet…however there are simple health practices that can help you feel your very best while you travel.

Plant Based in Edinburgh Title Meme

Health Tips for Traveling

These are health practices that my sister Debbie and I observed, during our 11 day stay in Edinburgh, to ensure the greatest level of health. Why is that important? To enjoy ourselves the most, it’s important to feel our best. We walked…a lot. We stayed busy throughout the day with explorations, tours and family gatherings. Energy and stamina were crucial.

It was our great joy to be in Scotland. The last thing I wanted was the distraction of not feeling well.

Request Special-Diet Meals

I discovered on my last international trip that vegan and gluten free meals can be requested on flights, as long as they are made prior to the travel dates. My travel agent Ken, with GalaxSea Cruises & Tours, listed our meal preferences when he booked our flights. On our long travel days, going to Scotland and returning home, our primary meals were in airports and on board airplanes. We ate simple vegan snacks like fruit or veggie sushi in the airports and enjoyed plant based meals on the plane.

For six days, Debbie and I explored Edinburgh on our own. The remaining five we joined family members from around the world for the Clan Maitland Gathering. Carolyn, our North American clan officer, arranged all of the meals that we shared as a family. She contacted the restaurants and made sure they prepared vegan meals for us. My food was gluten free as well. From tea houses to cafés to formal restaurants to lunch at Thirlestane Castle, I enjoyed wonderfully prepared meals that supported my health, rather than weakened my body.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to make your dietary needs known. My experience is that the cooks and chefs go above and beyond to prepare healthy and delicious meals that meet those needs. They seem to take great pride in presenting those carefully prepared dishes and appreciate hearing that they are wonderful.

Plant Based Meal at New ClubBeautifully prepared plant based meal at New Club in Edinburgh, with gluten free bread.

Stay Hydrated

Traveling makes one thirsty, especially when flying for an extended time. I discovered that it is permissible to carry an empty metal water bottle through airport security. Once through security we filled our bottles and carried them onto the plane.

In Edinburgh, we took those water bottles everywhere. It saved us money, since we didn’t have to purchase bottled water, and it cut our plastic use to virtually zero. And we could easily refill the bottles throughout the day, to help us stay hydrated. Choose foods that help to hydrate the body too.

Tip: Consider carrying a metal or glass water bottle and refilling as needed, to stay hydrated.


Click on photo to order a metal water bottle.

Prepare and Cook Your Own Food

Being plant based in Edinburgh, for us, meant purchasing, preparing and cooking many of our own meals. We chose to stay in an apartment in the New Town part of Edinburgh so that we could have a full kitchen. It was very easy to shop for fresh fruit and veggies, hummus, gluten free pasta and no sugar pasta sauce and prepare our own simple meals, when not dining with family. I cooked and my sister cleaned up!

Tip: Consider staying in an apartment or a room with a mini kitchen, and prepare many of your own meals. You’ll know what you are eating.

Plant Based in Edinburgh CookingPreparing a simple meal of boiled new potatoes and stir fried veggies.

Make Healthy Choices

The few times that we ate in a restaurant, on our own, we made healthy choices. I love how easy it is to be plant based in Edinburgh. They have many vegan cafés to choose from and regular restaurants offer plant based options. We found a vegan and gluten free bakery just down the street and a vegan café across from the apartment we stayed in.

I researched vegan restaurants in Edinburgh before the trip. As a blogger, I offered several a blog post and social media shares, in exchange for a healthy meal or afternoon tea. I’m grateful to these restaurants:

Beetroot Sauvage Café – Vegan Afternoon Tea

Seeds for the Soul Café – Plant Based Lunch

Naked Bakery – Vegan and Gluten Free Goodies to take back to the apartment

We also enjoyed plant based meals at The Elephant House and Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant.

Tip: Before a trip, Google restaurants and cafés that meet your dietary needs. If you happen upon a delightful eatery, while wandering around, make wise choices that support your health.

Seeds for the Soul Cafe An amazing lunch from Seeds for the Soul.

Pack Supplements and Meds

If you take supplements and prescription meds at home, by all means pack those for the trip. Prescriptions needs to be in bottles with your name and your doctor’s name on them. I carry vitamin B12, Cat’s Claw and MSM with me when I travel, in their original bottles. Most of the time you can carry supplements through security in the plastic daily pill sorters as well.

For this trip, Voke Superfood Supplements sent two boxes of tablets with us to try. These all natural supplements overcome jet lag quickly, support the body and boost energy. We started them as soon as we arrived in Edinburgh and found them to be very helpful.

Tip: Travel with any necessary prescription meds and include supplements that are most crucial to your well being.

Voke Superfood Supplements

Listen to Your Body

I’ve learned to pay close attention to my body’s needs. When traveling, with changed schedules, more activities and different time zones, this becomes very important.

Stretch legs and walk back to the rest room frequently, on the airplane. (If you are staying hydrated, this will be a necessity!) Do yoga poses in the hotel room or apartment. Rest when you are tired. Get enough sleep. We retired earlier than we normally do at home, most evenings, to ensure we were well rested each morning. And we gladly observed the practice of afternoon tea, which provided a welcome break in our busy days.

We walked all over Edinburgh. Proper fitting shoes prevent blisters and sore feet. Pay attention to weather through online apps and pack accordingly to stay cool enough or warm enough. Don’t go too long without a healthy snack or a light meal. The body needs the fuel to keep energy levels up all day. My sister brought along packets of nuts and seeds, which were great for toting.

Tip: Listen to what your body tells you. Stretch. Rest. Eat. Pause. Take a break. Wear comfortable supportive shoes if you are walking or hiking. Begin checking a weather app a couple of weeks before the trip, to get an idea of temperatures and weather conditions, and pack accordingly.

Walking in EdinburghWe climbed to the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, twice!

Enjoy Your Travels

The whole point of following health practices while away from home is so that I can focus on enjoying myself, rather than battling an upset stomach or a flare up of inflammation due to eating foods I shouldn’t. I know what my body needs, to operate at a high level of health and wellness, and I’m happy to support it.

It’s not worth it to me, to abandon a plant based diet and suffer the consequences while I’m traveling. Rather, I’ve found that I do so much better if I eat in a healthy way and listen, really listen, to the feedback I’m continually receiving from my body.

I know I can drink a Thistly Cross hard cider in Scotland, and be okay. And I enjoyed one. I also know that if I indulge in gluten laden foods or allow dairy or meat products into my diet that I will pay a price for that, one I’m not willing to pay.

Tip: Learn what foods best support your body and adhere to that lifestyle, even when traveling. As I often say, NOTHING tastes as good as healthy feels. And when I’m traveling, that is especially so. Nothing taste as good as exploring a country or a city feels to me.

Plant based in Edinburgh? Oh yes, gladly so. And I’ll be plant based anywhere else that I go.

Plant Based in EdinburghPlant based in Edinburgh.

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